Many Meals of Madrid: Part 3

After spending three days there, we were really starting to get into the swing of Madrid. We began our final full day feeling like we’d covered a lot of the city, having travelled everywhere (except from the airport) on foot and clocking up nearly 20km of walking each day. This meant that we could spend our final day ticking off a few last things off our list, without rushing around trying to achieve too much, which is the way all holidays should be!

There was a huge food market a few minutes’ walk from where we’d been staying, but we kept missing its opening hours, so decided to return on our final morning when we knew it would be open. Mercado de la Cebada has been around since 1875 and is filled with two enormous floors of stalls selling every kind of fresh produce you could hope to find.

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We wandered around marvelling at its vastness (and wondering how you would choose between so many seemingly identical wares), but – with few meals in Madrid still to cook – we left empty-handed to peruse a nearby antiques street.

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Ross had his eye on an antique enamel teapot, which we’d seen in the window of A Trozos on Calle Lόpez Silva several times, but we had again never managed to time our arrival with the store’s opening hours (there were no opening hours on the door and we couldn’t seem to predict when it would be open). At last, after calling and pre-arranging our arrival with the owner, we picked up the teapot (it now sits pride of place on a shelf at home and gets used every weekend) and a cute mint green enamel mug.

Feeling chuffed, we walked over to the museum district, to the east of the city near the park we walked through on New Year’s Day, to visit the Bruce Davidson photography exhibition at the Fundaciόn MAPFRE. It only cost a couple of euros to go inside and look at the eclectic mix of black and white photography on display, taken by Davidson across the US, UK and Europe from the 1950s until a few years ago.

Lunchtime came around and we’d decided to spend it at the rather aesthetically-pleasing el imparcial. We’d walked into its ground-level store the day before, and when we wandered up the spiral staircase to see what was upstairs, I fell completely in love with the restaurant and – noticing that it served a menú del día – knew we had to return for our final lunch. I mean, just look:

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It was busy in the restaurant but we were offered a seat at a communal (marble) table in the bar area. The food was great; I had a creamy and warming mushroom soup to start, followed by pan-friend Galician fish (I can’t remember what kind) served with potatoes, and tiramisu for dessert. Of course, this included wine and coffee and came to 14 euros each.

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After a very filling and really rather tasty lunch, we returned to the apartment for a siesta and to pack up most of our things ahead of an early start the next morning.

A friend had recommended we stop by Mercado de Anton Martin, and having not ventured that way, we thought it would be a good place to visit for a few drinks and an early (light) dinner.

We walked to the market via Calle del Olmo and Calle Juanelo de la Cabeza – two awesome streets with loads of great looking bars and a super cool store which restored antique furniture, El Afilador (I would highly recommend visiting).

After a short walk, we arrived at the market, which stood next to a gorgeous art nouveau cinema, Cine Doré.

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We entered the market and had a bit of a judgemental chuckle at the people tucking into cereal at the “Cereal Lovers Bar” (I wonder where they got that idea from…) at 8pm.

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After a turn around the market, we pulled up a stool at a cool little Mexican bar, where it was happy hour! We ordered a couple of passionfruit margaritas and guacamole and tucked in. The margaritas were delicious, seriously creamy and so yummy, and the guacamole gave my own (pretty excellent) recipe a serious run for its money.

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After a few margaritas, we decided it was probably wise to head home for our 5am start the next morning, before we got too carried away with happy hour.

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It was the perfect final day to end our excellent time in Madrid, and we returned to London with a suitcase crammed with Spanish olive oil, vermouth, wine and the antiques we’d fallen in love with.

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