MADRID—Some things not to miss
1. The Prado Museum. Two of my favorite paintings in the world are here--Rogier Van der Weyden's 'Descent from the Cross', which I have used in my art workshops as an example of a perfectly composed painting, and Zurburan's 'Cordero de Dios', a little painting of a lamb that is the perfect blend of abstraction and realism. The latter is not always on display, but the other paintings by Zurburan are also great. Don't miss them! If you go to the Prado late in the day it's usually less crowded.
2. The Botanical Garden--right next to the Prado.
3. Casa Labra. Tetuan, 12, just off the Puerta del Sol, this old-time place is famous for its fino (sherry) and tajadas (fried chunks of bacalao). The perfect snack. Opens late afternoon--eat standing up in the street. Line up to pay first, then get food and drink at counter.
4. Casa Patas. This is one of the best places in Madrid to see performance in flamenco dance/music. Reservations a must.
5. Tapas Bars. There are hundreds, many along Calle Huertas, now a pedestrian street. Two of our favorites in the area are the old-fashioned La Venecia (Echegaray 7, get sherry--fino--and order the mojama, sort of like beef jerkey, but made from tuna). The other is La Fabrica, which has smoked fish that will erase Zabar's from your mind--esp. the bacalao ahumado (Calle Jesus #2).
6. Sorolla Museum. Impressionist style painter--beautiful work shown in his house, which is fabulous.
7. Corte Inglés, just off Puerta del Sol. The food court in the basement is a great place to pick up gifts.
8. Dama de Elche This is the most famous piece in the Archeology Museum. It is part of the early Iberian art collection, which is truly fascinating. You'll see things here that look like nothing else in art history.
9. Casa Mingo – (Paseo de la Florida 34) homey old place for Asturian roast chicken and cider, near Iglesia de San Antonio de la Florida, famous for its murals by Goya
10. Torrijas, sort of a Spanish version of French toast, but sweeter. It's a seasonal thing around Easter. You'll find it on menus or in pastry shops.
11. Ritz Hotel. Poke around, use the bathrooms--grand, old world elegance.MADRID—Some things not to miss
Where to stay:
Hostal in Chueca, http://hostalbenamar.es/index.html
Near metro Anton Martin:
Hostal Castillo, St. Teresa 9, (looked closed)
NH Hotel, St. Engracia
Ibis Hotel, Malasaña
Hotel near airport: Best Western Hotel Villa de Barajas,
Culinary bookstore: www.apuntolibreria.com
c/Pelayo 60, Chueca
More food recommendations:La Giralda (Hartzenbusch, 15, near metro Bilbao) – for fried fish & seafood, sherry
Our favorite: La Castela
Our favorite: La Castela
Casa Manolo (Jovellanos 7, near Teatro de la Zarzuela) for the best croquetas
Casa Begnigna (calle Benigna Soto, 9, Metro Concha Espina) tel. 91 413 3356 – Amazing rice dishes, in an out of the way area but worth it – make reservstion
El Ventorillo Murciana – c/ Tres peces, 20, metro Anton Martin (Lavapies) tel. 91 528 8309– great rice dishes, make a reservation.