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Madrid – Welcome to Europe

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We arrived in Madrid, a bit jet lagged, with just two nights before rendezvousing with Rhea (Samantha’s mom) and Mark (her partner). So, we adjusted our sleep schedules, planned, and ate meals at our Airbnb while getting excited.

Best Grocery Shopping Experience

Going to the grocery store in Spain was simply amazing. Nick was like a kid with a $10 bill at a 5-cent candy store.

There is a vast amount of high quality foods at cheap prices. Various meats, cheeses, vegetables, fruits, and bakery items for a fraction of US prices. Honestly, it’s a shame to consider how expensive groceries are back home.

We have video evidence!

Chocolate and Churros

San Ginés is a famous chocolatería known for delicious churros, thick and creamy hot chocolate, and an attached bookstore. It has been serving customers since 1894. The hot chocolate is more like melted-dark-chocolate-in-a-cup, and the churro is not like the Mexican-style churros Americans are used to; rather, they are fluffy, fried, and drenched in oil, and oh so tasty.

A Walking Tour: Historical, Informative, Hot, and Long

Our group dove into Madrid with a walking tour. It was very hot but supposed to be only 2.5-3 hours – we could make it we thought. 4.5 hours later, half the tour group was sitting and not listening to the guide anymore. We were barely hanging on. It makes it hard to focus when it goes that long in such heat! 

We saw many architectural highlights, learned some history, and saw the oldest running restaurant in the world (just the one with oldest accurate records). We also learned about some of the foods cherished by the locals – including the fried calamari sandwich, pictured below.

One stop was at a convent where the nuns there made and sold cookies, and they are some of the most popular in Madrid. The nuns in this convent are not permitted to be seen, so you order through a dark window, and after, a turnstile moves and your order is there. Pretty neat huh? We made sure to go back later.

Welcome to the World of Tapas

Tapas are increasingly popular all over the world, and now we were immersed in their motherland. We basically ate and drank our way through Spain, which is the proper way to do it.

Tapas are increasingly popular all over the world, and now we were immersed in their motherland. We basically ate and drank our way through Spain, which is the proper way to do it.

The picture to the left shows some of our DIY tapas breakfast. That cheese was hands down some of the tastiest we have ever had.

In Madrid, there are rare establishments that offer free tapas when you order drinks. How could we not try it out at least once?

We ventured to El Tigre, a place popular with locals, university students, and tourists. Not all places are the same, but this place gave us a ton of food for each round of drinks! So much so, the four of us could not finish everything. We guess some things really are free – especially when the drinks were not overpriced!

Madrid: Neighborhood by Neighborhood

There are many neighborhoods in Madrid, each with its own flare, so we planned a DIY walking tour.

We went to the following…


A neighborhood with one large food market but so much graffiti it was off-putting. It was full of vintage and antique shops (and probably hipsters too).


This was filled with beautiful buildings and architecture. Also, it’s home to majority of Madrid’s gay population along with a lot of nightlife options.

Barrio de las Letras

The most unique and beautiful neighborhood we visited. It was an area where famous writers used to live and frequent, so much of the neighborhood still strives to capture an old-school feel. There is a fun street where quotes from writers are on the sidewalks as you walk, along with taverns where the authors used to hang out at.


It loosely translates to the ‘feet washers’ from its origin as a working-class minority neighborhood (a bit inappropriate we know), and it still has a blue collar feel to it. It is also the most diverse neighborhood, being home to the majority of non-Spaniards in the city. We had one of the best tapas of the trip here at one of the local markets.

One of the best hams covered in lemon and salt, served with special pretzel twists
La Latina

We visited here at night since the area is famous for its tapas, restaurants, and food markets. It’s extremely lively past dark, and feels deserted by day. Funnily enough, we attempted to leave for a late-night dinner to feel like Spaniards, yet by the time we went, the kitchens were all closed or out of the majority of the menu. It made for a funny night where we ended up having to eat Five Guys.

Enjoy this slideshow of pictures from Madrid!

Botanical Garden Fun

We went to the city’s botanical garden and enjoyed some lushness and quiet space.  Enjoy our video since sometimes photos do more justice than our writing can!

Bye-Bye Madrid!

Madrid was a beautiful capital city with tons of energy. After a 3+ hour long delay at the train station, we were more than ready for Barcelona.

Here is a picture from the train station. It took our breath away!

Stay tuned for our next post about bold Barcelona! If you want to follow along and get email updates about future posts, enter your email below.

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2 thoughts on “Madrid – Welcome to Europe

  1. Wow, so amazing! I think I enjoyed Spain more than any other locale, so far. Loved the architecture, hike video and lush hillsides, mountains and valleys. And Nick was priceless in the grocery store. I can totally relate and would be right there with you geeking out on food! Be well XXOO


  2. Thank you! Spain is a beautiful country. Nick had so much fun shopping, and we both were constantly impressed with the quality of food. More of Spain to come!


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