I write this at 1:30am (although posted today, i.e., "the next day" as Leo made me go to bed... to much late night cafe!), still with paella y sangria con cava (a white sangria with lemons, oranges, and cava... right?!?!) food baby. For the most part (with the exception of this late night as I had a 9pm Siesta), we are on the Spanish time schedule- got up early, were quite touristy all day, but included a couple of brief siestas and a late night meal.
After breakfast, a morning stroll, and an hour-long wait at the train station (buying tickets for tomorrow's trip to Segovia and Friday's trip to Sevilla) we headed through Parque del Buen Retiro, passing by an annual outdoor book fair, on our way to lunch at Taberna del Dolores (recommended by Sr. Ricardo el Steveso). Seriously, the food is so amazing and we started with almendras y aceitunas (salted madrona almonds and green olives). I wanted something as close to a sandwich and was pleased to see about ten different canapes (as close as one can get) for about 2.50 euros and ordered (yes, ordered MYSELF in Spanish :) the salmon y queso y jamon bellota. Leo ordered torta casar... thinking he'd ordered either a spanish omelet or a sandwhich... turns out "torta casar" is Spanish for "$13 euros worth of stinky cheese" that we felt would require a minimum of 8 people to finish but the four top next to us proved us wrong!! Not able to even polish off a quarter of this, we shared it with the table of 6-8 Spanish cougars (i.e., pumas) who Leo had been charming... boy didn't get awarded his high school's Biggest Flirt for no good reason!
Following lunch we then headed to Museo Nacional del Prado, one of Europe's most famous art museums. Clouds had been flirting with us yesterday and today (very Northwesty of them) so we had no ill feelings about spending time indoors. Taking advice from Sr. Ricardo del Steveso, we picked the time following the lunch hour (siesta-ish) but before the over crowded 'free' time. Thanks to Samantha Brown's Passport to Europe: Madrid episode, I at least knew of two paintings that I wanted to see (so what that one of them was a nekked lady... don't judge). If you've seen that episode, you may also remember her tapas tour guide, Federico- CELEBRITY SPOTTING as I also saw Federico guiding tourists at the Prado! Anyhoo... we were able to see some of the most amazing (words can not even describe how small they make you feel) masterpieces of Goya, Velazquez, El Greco, and Tiepolo (may or may not have missed the Rembrandts... one of the hardest thing about museums is seeing it all, even in four long hours!!).
The clouds knew we needed some sol so they let it shine through as we strolled back through the Parque to siesta lakeside. The sun glittered off the water as numerous people paddled around in rented rowboats. We spread out a blanket (thanks BA!) and lay like broccoli, soaking up the sun and ambiance.
When the clouds came back, it was time to head back to the hotel (that AND it was 7pm- time flies when you have no place to be!), first grabbing some sweet treats (and maybe another jamon canape) at El Museo del Jamon. Another siesta in the room and then we were off with the intention of having paella y sangria at El Caldero, a restaurant right around the corner from our Hotel Miau... mission accomplished! Another amazing day on vacation! Tomorrow we will tour Real Madrid's futbol stadium and watch the Spain match in Madrid (guess who will be posting about tomorrow's adventures??) before catching the train to Segovia.