We finished our time in El Escorial, just on the outskirts of Madrid in a hail of rain. The day before we had managed to squeeze in one last boulder session at La Silla De Felipe II, in between rain showers. We climbed for a maximum of an hour before rain stopped play and we returned to our van to hear the tapping of rain on the roof of the van for the rest of the evening. We did a few really cool warm up routes and eventually I had a go on a few harder routes, one of which at 6b+ I onsighted, only the second time I have done that at that grade, so not a bad way to leave the place!
The next day we were again plagued by rain, and eventually decided to move location and drive to a camperstop closer to the city. Over the weekend we planned to meet up with friends, who just happened to be around the city at the same time as us. This was all quite a coincidence, and it worked out really well.
First off we got the metro into town and met our friend Alberto who was visiting his family and friends. We met at a super busy tapas bar, and was surprised that they had found a place to sit! We enjoyed some tapas, such as oily fish, olives, tomatoes and Cured ham. It was all very nice and a beer to chase it down wasn’t to bad either. At their suggestion we moved to a new location, and in doing so took in a few sights of the town. I have done this previously with locals, moving from one bar to the next, a little amount in each, moving around the town until it becomes less of a walk and more of a waddle with an ever expanding waist band!
The next place was very plush, called lateral, we sat down stairs in the sofas and ordered more drink and foot, this time a couple of platters, with salmon, cheese, peppers, omelette, patatas bravas and a few others bits and pieces. It’s fair to say that after this I was feeling pretty full! We welcomed the opportunity to walk off this feast, and Alberto and his family gave us a guided tour of he city, which was fantastic as we got to see everything without struggling to find it all! I was relatively surprised to find that there was more to Madrid than I thought. I always imagined that it was a drab city, with little to draw someone in, however the palace and the parks, as well as some amazing architecture dotted around the city, made this tour worthwhile! The only thing that blighted it was the rain, that was ever persistent.
We ended our day back where we started and although we could have stated in the city for longer and explored a little more, I was feeling tired. It was fantastic to see Alberto and meet his family, it was also lovely of them to speak in English all day for our benefit and treat us to such a nice day!
The next day we had planned to meet one of Jess’s college friends, again we made our way into town, and again this was to be a food a drink day! We started on the plaza just outside of the Market of San Miguel, where we had a wierd fish thing, another Spanish omelette and some chips, all of which were no where near as good as the stuff we had the day before. It was nice to be sat outside, however just as we finished the heavens opened. The up side of this was when we entered the market for shelter and food, and immediately set our eyes upon overpriced deliciousness! This iron and glass walled building hosted an array of different foods, we could spend every penny we had and still be left fancying something else. We started with some churros, as me and jess had still not had this in our whole time in Spain, this was followed with a cinnamon black tea, and we topped it all off with some fancy olives…I don’t like olives, but I do like the sun dried tomatoes and cheeses that were sandwiched in between!
Similar to the day before, we had peaked in the eating and drinking department and decided on a walk to the large park that was in the city, although it was initially nice, the weather soon turned and the idea of a stroll through the park was turned on its head, and so again, we seeked sanctuary in a cafe. A really nice chocolate coffee and crepe later and I was more than done for the day! At bursting point we made our way to the metro said our goodbyes and see you soons.
That night we left Madrid, as much as I was surprised to enjoy our visit, I am still not a city slicker and heading out of the city I was glad to be leaving. Heading towards the Spanish countryside I was hoping that there will be some nicer weather in the coming weeks, if not we might have to head to England for some better weather!