Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Madrid 08

The inside of the bull-ring
The botanical gardens

A long overdue post about our trip to Madrid in...sometime near Easter!

Ai Lee (also a doctor now) joined us from Msia, together with Jack and HP, the 4 of us set out to see the sights of Madrid with Lonely Planet as our guide. Besides Madrid, we explored the towns of Segovia (known for its castle, upon which the iconic Disneyland Sleepy Beauty castle was modeled) and Toledo (a old walled city apparently home to previous kings of Spain).

Above one of the castles in Segovia.
Countryside view from the castleAqueduct in Segovia built without cement

Madrid itself was ok. Like any other large city, it had a certain fammiliar feel. Its divided into various districts, and has many squares dotted around the city. If you've watched the film Vantage Point, you;d have seen one such square.
Plaza Mayor

The food was interesting in that we had tapas for nearly every meal (when we weren't having paella). They are small-ish dishes that accompany drinks, and range from baby eels to ham to blue cheese to roast pork. It didn't help that many of the places we went to seemed to have inhabitants that spoke mainly spanish, leaving us to guess at which dishes to order. Having sangria constantly kept us in a good mood however.

Museo de Jamon - Museum of Ham
Baby eels
Sangria with lots of fruits in
Bits of ham - they keep these for years at a time before serving
Cocido - a peasant sort of stew

The flamenco dancing and the bull-ring were interesting, but what kept us going back for a few nights was the churros con chocolate. Looking and tasting a lot like yau char kueh, you dipped it in chocolate that came piping hot in bowls and ate it before the crispyness disappeared. Nice stuff. Together with coffee ice -cream (thats ice cream with hot coffee poured over) which is served in every establishment including McD's, that kept us going throughout the day.

Where we had...
These bad boys ! Churros
Flamenco at Cardamomo
Las Ventas - the largest bull-ring in Spain

The rest of the time was spent wandering around gardens and parks, and avoiding unsavoury characters by pretending to be couples out on a holiday.

Our trip ended with us getting detained at Liverpool airport for fear we were terrorists, but other than that, the journey was uneventful. Barcelona seems to be a must-visit still.

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