It’s our last full day in Madrid today 😭So sad to leave, we have absolutely loved it here. Dan has been googling flat prices which tells you all you need to know.
We started our day with a walk around Principe Rio, near the royal palace. We passed Puerta de San Vincente, an arch on a roundabout built between 1770 and 1775.
Then we walked down through a royal park called Campo del Moro.
I assume the name is a reference to the Moors. There are indications of the Moors’ influence all over this part of Europe, unsurprisingly given they occupied vast swathes of it for centuries. We also walked past the Virgen del Puerto Hermitage.
Given it is our final day here we thought we’d treat ourselves to a proper slap-up lunch in a restaurant we’ve had recommend to us by several friends: Casa Lucio.
As you enter you notice smartly dressed waiters dashing around everywhere. It seems in Madrid you know you’re in good hands when you see middle aged men in white coats 😂
We had gazpacho, padron peppers and garlic chicken. Delicious.
We somehow managed to save a little bit of space for our last indulgence here: churros and chocolate in San Ginés.
It’s a legendary cafe here, serving sweet treats 24 hours a day. We are still full and may never need to eat again. We went for another walk, this time to see some historical artefacts from Spain’s more recent past, again thanks to a tip off from Angela (who has been wonderfully helpful and given us a ton of advice for our trip❤️). I felt a better understanding of Spain’s history after exploring these.
The first monument is in an area named Lavapies. It is called Fuente de Cabestreros (unsure of the meaning) and is the only monument in Madrid to the second Spanish republic from 1931 to 1939 that was not removed by Franco.
The second monument is now a library called Escuelas Pias, however it used to be a church.
I will quote Angela here as she can explain better, with a little editing on my part:
“You will never find this in a tourist guide. When the second Spanish republic was proclaimed, many churches were burnt as response to years of abuse and lies to the general public and the first one to be set on fire in the country was here. The day the republic was proclaimed fascists locked themselves into the church armed with guns. People set the church on fire to get them out. This became a trend along the country and is now used by the fascists as an excuse for their awful actions after the war. Now it is reconverted into a beautiful library and is called Escuelas Pias.”
After looking around these monuments we had a general trek around the Lavapies barrio. We came across a poster for the March we witnessed in Saturday, which appears from my basic Spanish to have been a demonstration against government privatisation.
We found a co-working space called utopic_US and stopped there for an air conditioning/water break (it’s 45 degrees here in the sun today apparently).
We also saw this bit of graffiti, although we have no idea what it means. Answers on a postcard please.
Then we made our way back to our hotel, stopping off on the way to have a quick tinto de verano in a rooftop bar at the top of El Corte Ingles. I am in LOVE with this drink: red wine, diet lemonade, perhaps a dash of rum, over ice and a slice of lemon.
It is perfect for Madrid as it is refreshing and not outrageously boozy. I am going to be taking the idea back with me to make in London.
We are back at our hotel now and preparing for an early night. We have to be up at 4am to fly to Dubrovnik. Expect absolutely zero sympathy from anyone though!
One final thought on Madrid, and I’d like help on this: there is often a separate member of staff in cafes and restaurants dedicated solely to handling money. No idea what that’s all about. I’d like to know if anyone can tell me.