My Winter Escape to Spain 2011 part One

January 4th, 2011–Newark NJ

The adventure begins anew.  Its been 18 months since my last visit and I am excited, I admit.  Even after 30 years of almost yearly trips to Spain, particularly Madrid,  the thrill is NOT gone.  Rachel is with me.  It is her first time to Spain, her first time out of the US.  I’m sitting, awaiting boarding, having a coffee and thinking of the menu del dia.  I know where I want to go….

Day One Wednesday 5th

We arrive, jet-lagged, and check in to the Tirso Plaza Hotel.  It is warm and comfortable.  A few tapas, wine, hour-and-a-half nap and we’re ready for the big event:  the parade (la Cabalgata) that takes place the eve of Reyes.  It is silly but really fun.  Must be a million people in the street near Cibeles.  It is chilly (maybe 46 degrees) but we are warm and dry in our winter coats, hats, gloves, scarves (its a Minnesota thing…).  Afterward, we go to ArteBar and catch a flamenco show—young folks with great aficion’, good crowd lovin’ it, but, overall—really green.  Great way to re-enter Spain and to introduce Rachel.

Day Two Thursday 6th

Slept late—day of fiestas with lots of shops closed but we found nice food.  We walked a lot:  to Malasanya and Sol, Gran Via, Tribunal (and Cafe Comercial, of course).  Again, ArteBar with Fernando de la Rua playing a mix of Brazilian and Flamenco, a decent singer and OK bassist.  Nice chat with him and another late night.

Day Three Friday January 7th

More walking, walking, to Chueca and beyond.  Madrid is a great city for walking.  Tapas and wine in many places then we finally hooked up with David Serva at ArteBar, where he did his cuadro show with his wife Clara and Anya and Keiooko.  We went out after that to a late night penya (sic) and yet another place until 6 AM.  Really fun.