We were thrilled to have found a well-reviewed AirBnB apartment in Madrid’s central Malasana district. It’s the neighbourhood our son Aidan lived in during his BComm “ term abroad”, which added to its appeal. That Aidan lived there should have tipped us off; it’s party central for students and other young adults. Noise simply bounces around the stone walls and roads (echoing) so it is an extremely loud part of town, especially between 11pm and 4am. Still, the apartment itself was not to blame for our sleepless nights. We had selected it because ot had a patio, and I cannot imagine enjoying Madrid as much wothout one. Each evening after sight-seeing we’d put our weary feet up while enjoying the warm evening over our own tapas style snacks as dusk turned to night. Each morning began with tea/coffe on the bright patio. Now that’s how to do Madrid!
A stroll along the Gran Via provideds lots of eye candy in the form of exquisite architecture.
When I visited Madrid with Vicki and Anil in Sept 2009 most facades were covered in hoarding for cleaning. I imagine before then they had been as grimy and tired looking as the buildings we saw in Buenos Aires last Spring.
Also covered up in 2009 was the magnificent Palacio de Cibeles, currently home to the Madrid mayor’s office. Informally known by the name “The Communications Cathedrall” (or palace) it was built 1907-1919 as a “modernization” to house the government’s telecommunications and postal services. As a retired government communications staffer, I think the turn-of-the-century Spaniards showed PR folks the proper respect.
It was still a post office when I was visited in 2009, but now permits people to go up to an observation deck for a good look over some of the other lovely parts of the Mardrid. The cost of access is 3€, or $4.50CDN.
There is also no-fee public access to every second floor, with couches and worktables lending a library feel to the space. A bit of artwork is displayed too.- I liked the children’s school projects best.
One of the upper floors is taken up by a Michelin-starred restaurant, which certainly offers dinners a premium view. We balked at the 38€ cost of their “menu del dia”. The menu del dias in our neighbourhood, Malasana, run about 10€.
Just around the corner from the Comms Palace, we each enjoyed a 11.5€ menu del dia instead - gazpacho soup, a griled fish steak & fries, beer/wine, water & desert. We paid an additional 1€ each to dine on the patio rather than inside, which is very common.
From a tourism website; Traditionally, the menu del dia was for workers who couldn’t make it back home in time for lunch. Curiously, Franco is credited with its creation. He had designed a set-price tourist menu back in 1964 and replaced it with the ‘menu del dia’ in 1970 to showcase Spanish regional cuisine. Today, it still fits that original purpose – a nourishing and complete three-course meal that offers good value for money.