We were both a bit apprehensive as our taxi dropped us off at the bus stop in Granada. Planes, trains, automobiles… and now busses. But Lonely Planet did say bus travel in Spain was more economical and often faster than travel by train. But as we boarded our Alsa Supra express connection from Granada to Madrid, our apprehension quickly faded. The bus had an attendant! She greeted us warmly, passed out candies, newspapers, coffees, teas, sandwiches… And we had wifi on the bus, too, slow as it was. Most would even argue that our treatment on Alsa Supra was better than our treatment on our United flight in Economy Plus. JCB and I might be even be two of those people
The trip was a little over four hours, during which JCB played games on his iPhone and I imported pictures from the past few days of our trip. We passed through some beautiful scenery in South Central Spain, but for the most part our trip was uneventful. We arrived in Madrid ready to explore. And of course, to also eat and drink.
My how different Madrid is to me now that I’m here with someone. I gave JCB a brief tour of some places I remembered near our hotel (we stayed in Sol / Cuenca) and we even found a few things I hadn’t before seen. We dined on patatas fritas (French frieds – in vinegar and garlic) as well as pimientos de pardon (fried green peppers) in Plaza Mayor, wandered to Palacio Royal, onto Templo de Judo, then back to Plaza de Espana, where we took in a large statue of Cervantes, Don Quixote, and Sancho. By now it was after 5PM, and Madrid was bustling.
We headed back to our hotel via “Gran Via” but first stopped at Cerveceria de 100 Montaditos for Round 2 of lunch. What a great stop! This bar/sandwich stop features 1 EURO BOCADILLOS EN MIERCOLES. That’s $1.25 Tiny Sandwiches on Wednesdays. Madness! We ordered a round of jars of beer and 4 tiny sandwiches and our bill was only 6 Euros. SIX! And since tiny sandwiches didn’t really fill us up, we had another round of two more bocadillos, this time with jars of sangria. Sangria from a tap. Amazing. Only 10 Euros for one of our favorite meals in all of Spain. No joke. Que bueno!
We unsuccessfully siesta-ed that evening. Not sure why, but neither one of us could sleep. Not sleeping was not boding well for the plans we constructed over Lunch Round 2 to stay out all night in Madrid. If only Spain liked to get the party started around 9PM instead of 1AM! I’m just not a night owl these days.
But at around 10:30 PM, we sat down to dinner at another great Lonely Planet find: La Gloria de Madera. “…oh-so-stylish, oh-so-good, and oh-so-cheap.” Lonely Planet can be pretty annoying some times, and they’re not always spot on with recommendations, but this time was a direct hit. To start, we had tomato soup with fresh mozzarella. JCB had a huge lamb shank with potatoes, while I had salmon with asparagus. For dessert, we basically had ice cream, but it had amazing biscuit-spinkles and syrups and a really long name on the menu that took up two lines. Needless to say, I don’t remember what it was called. Throughout the meal we sipped a crisp Ribera del Duero (red wine). And our entire excellent meal (in Madrid!) cost only 40 Euros. Can I get another, que bueno!?!
Sleepy and satisfied, we strolled back to our hotel, past drunk Spanish college kids and other crazy Madrillenos. I wondered to myself, “When did I get so old?” But before I let it bother me, I also wondered, “When have I ever been so happy?”
And I couldn’t come up with an answer…