In case we didn’t mention it before, Madrid is a party city, and our hostel does a very good job at reflecting that attitude in it’s various events that it offers. Although we tend to stay away from the crazy ‘wee hours of the night’ party sphere, we did decide to take advantage of the walking tour graciously offered by our hostel.
The walking tour was a great way to get to know the city a bit and learn some of Madrid’s history, including it’s not so exciting city symbol of a bear eating some fermented fruit from a tree. I, (Ivana), thought it was a cute bear actually, but our tour guide didn’t seem too enthused.
When the tour was over, our guide gave a couple of suggestions of where to get some good Spanish lunch. She mentioned a place that she was heading to and a big part of the group actually ended up going there. It was a little pricey and we already had picked out a place the night before (which we had diligently found on trip advisor), but seeing that we had a personal recommendation from a local right before us and she would lead us there, we decided to join them. Much to our surprise and immense pleasure, when we arrived at the restaurant, we realized it was the same one we had picked the night before! The restaurant was called Rosi La Loca. The menu del dia was 11.50 euros and consisted of a smaller appetizer sort of dish, a main dish, a small glass of sangria, a drink of your choice, and coffee or dessert. The Spanish enjoy lunch as their bigger meal, followed by a siesta in the afternoon. We both ordered Paella as our smaller portion of the meal and chicken with lemon sauce and French fries. For dessert, Ivana had arroz con leche and Kathleen had some flan. It was a very good meal!!
We sat with three people from our walking tour group. We met Blaine and Caitlyn from Utah and Kathy from Vancouver, who is currently a teacher for primary school in London. We all hit it off almost immediately! It was so great to talk to fellow Americans and a Canadian. 🙂 We all shared our travel stories and experiences with each other. We hit it off so well with them that we ended up spending the rest of the day exploring the streets of Madrid with our newly found friends!
As for the restaurant, it was a very nice atmosphere and the service was great, not to mention the delicious food we enjoyed! Our waiter was a very sweet young man from Peru who made a very notable effort to communicate in English with us all and Ivana tried her best to translate here and there. Being our second day in Madrid, we really appreciated his welcoming kindness!
After lunch, as mentioned earlier, we walked around with Blaine, Caitlyn, and Kathy. We first went to visit the Palacio Real because we had been told they had free visiting hours between 4 & 6 p.m. However, because of some event or something, it was not open for visitors after all.
Next, we walked for a good while until we reached El Parque del Retiro, a beautiful park with a glass building called Chrystal Palace. After our lengthy walk, we decided to head back to our hostel to get some dinner and then some rest. We stopped off at the grocery store and bought a tortilla de patata con cebolla, which was like a potato patty the size of a plate, with onions in it. We then put a whole avocado on it, enjoyed with some cheese, and of course, a pear. 🙂 When we got back to our hostel to eat our dinner, we were happily surprised to find Kathy, Blaine, and Caitlyn there and so we enjoyed our dinner with them.