Posted Friday, September 20th in Barcelona, but written Thursday on the train:
Our trip is well underway as lance and I sit on the train from Valencia to Barcelona. A one year old boy every few minutes directs me to sit on the floor to play with him. I think I actually know more Spanish than he does. In between our play, I’ll tell you of our honeymoon thus far.
We landed in Madrid and trekked to our hotel, the five star Hotel Hesperia (which I highly recommend), ditched our backpacks and headed out to see the city.
We started by walking through some cute, small streets. Finding a little sandwhich and salad shop, we bagged lunch and headed for the parque del buen retiro to find a picnic spot. A grassy patch by a small lake, our neighbor- the monumento a Alfonso XII reminding us of the history beneath the soil we sat, proved the perfect spot to enjoy lunch and a nap in the shade of the large trees along to lake’s edge. We watched as couples and families rented row boats and enjoyed the lake, women and men laid both in sun and shade as music played from some unseen corner of the park… And after a time, we left our perch to explore a little more.
Walking the streets, we could not help but notice that the people here for the most part took great pride in their appearance. The women we beautiful dresses, the men all wore designer suits and people were running, jogging, skating, biking, and working out left and right throughout the park and city. I’d like to think that if I enjoyed their wonderful parks and temperate weather that I also would exercise as greatly. I know I wouldn’t have a problem shopping in their boutiques.
After random exploration, we wandered into El Museo de Prado – Madrid’s great classical museum featuring greats like Goya, Velasquez and Rembrandt. The museum itself was a maze of daunting vastness. The statues and faces that stares back through gold adorned frames were beautifully resolute in the grandeur museum and although we can appreciate such art, it is not exactly our favorite and so after hours of meandering, we found our way out of the Prado’s halls and back to the lively streets of Madrid.
Back in our hotel, we discovered a bottle of champaigne left by the hotel to congratulate our new marriage! We toasted and readied ourselves for a night of tapas and set out by metro to la Plaza del Sol. The first restaurant we came to, La Soberbia, served chorizo and pan as a tapas with our order of wine. We also ordered the queso as tapas, but I have to say the Chorizo was better. The atmosphere in the little restaurant was incredible.
Next we headed to El Museo de Jamón. For a tapas of ham and a beer. The restaurant is an interesting place with a butchers shop built in and a bar around the counter to stand – no tables. Trash littered the floor, but via travel guides we learned this was quite normal.
Next along our tapas stop was a little place of which I can not recall the name, but is of little note. It was a bit more of a tourist place and all patrons were speaking English. Lance enjoyed the potatoes in spicy sauce, but really they were reminiscent of French fries or fried potato squares and a slightly spiced ketchup. The sangria was sub par.
From there, we wandered the streets a little longer, took in the sights of the plaza and eventually caught the metro home. The pillows at the hotel Hesperia were of the finest quality I have encountered (if they do not appeal to you – simply select another from their pillow bar!) and we both had a night of excellent sleep.
The next morning we taxied to the train station and off we were to Valencia!