The Retirees go Abroad – the Iberian Peninsula – Madrid, and Flamenco

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Tuesday has fulfilled it’s promise of rain. Clearly we are moving through autumn as it is scarves and coats for everyone. We have decided to do the hop on hop off bus today and tomorrow. It comes as no surprise that we are the only ones on the bus but that has not stopped the traffic. There are two routes the green line and the blue line. The green line predominantly follows Paseo de la Castellana north to Real Madrid stadium – Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and south to the Museo Nacional de Arte and the rail station, whilst the blue line is more east west following the Gran Via and visiting the Palace the Cathedral Plaza Mayor and Puerto Sol (the old town). The rain lasted about an hour – about the same time to go to the Stadium and change lines to go to Sol. During the journey we passed the Botanic Gardens where we started our walk on Sunday ending up at Jardins del Buena Retiro and got a picture of the grand entrance which we missed by walking through the centre of the gardens. By the time we reached Sol the sun was shining but the cold was there to stay. At least we got to see the bear and the Arbut tree symbol of the city (the Arbut tree is the tree that provides the cherries for the wine Modrono). We went back to the apartment to rest as tonight is a night of Flamenco.

After resting for the afternoon we left the apartment about quarter to six to take the Metro to the old town. Although our reservation is for 7.30pm, we arrive at Calloa metro station at 6.00pm to ensure we find the place. I was confident that I knew where it was but we had to take no risk about this. In Plaza Calloa we saw the buildings of Madrid displaying their magic by night. Our route took us past Plaza SanMiguel and the Mercador San Miguel, down an alley to Plaza el Conde de Mirande and the entrance for Las Carbonaras – we were 1 hour early. So we went back to San Miguel and had a glass of wine and marvelled at the tempting treats in the food cabinets.

We tried to get in a bit ahead of our 7.30 slot but no we could only arrive at 7.30. So on the stroke of the half hour we were there anxious to get out of the cold. Inside was warm and inviting and some patrons had already arrived (bastards) but even so we got the best table at the front of the stage beside the entrance for the musicians. Dinner was delightful. We had ordered the special menu which was a taste of a number of dishes as a sharing plate – everything from Spanish omelette, paella, ham, chorizo, breads, a beef stew and desserts. Just as I was scooping the last mouthful of dessert into my mouth, out came the performers – two guitarists (12 string guitars), two singers and 4 dancers. The performances were electric and passionate. However our excellent seats meant we were in danger of losing our wine glasses as one of the dancers twirled her shawl breezing just past us and the male dancer working up enough sweat to spray it everywhere with each flashing turn of his head. We thoroughly enjoyed this evening and if you get to Madrid you must see a flamenco performance.

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