Impromptu Trip to Madrid (September 29, 2023)

Ryan and I planned an international trip without kids only 3-4 weeks in advance.  Unbelievable, right?  I was asked to go to Madrid for two weeks for work.  We daydreamed, hoping by some chance either my parents or his parents would be able to come watch the kids so Ryan could join me for some traveling after the work.  My parents were unavailable, but Ryan’s parents said they could do it!  So we quickly booked Ryan’s flights through American Airlines, my flights through work, coordinating so we were on the same flight home, and reserved an AirBnb.

Fast forward two weeks and the work part got cancelled.  But we already had grandparents lined up, one set of flights booked, and lodging.  No way we would pass up this vacation!

Kris and Dal arrived two days early to get settled in with the kids, and we were off!  Flights to Madrid through Dallas were very easy, no delays, all on-time.  We arrived around 9am in Madrid.  The train ride into the center of Madrid should have been easy, and would have been easy had my Spanish been better.  Unfortunately, the ‘English’ button on the ticket vending machines only translated some things to English.  After a few trials, we figured out how to buy tickets and were on our way.


Emerging from the train station into the center of Madrid

Around 11:30am, we dropped our bags in the AirBnb and asked our host for a morning snack recommendation.  She walks us out onto the balcony and points a little ways down the street to San Gines, a well known Chocolateria.  Score!  Can’t go wrong when a trip to Madrid starts with café con leche and churros con chocolate.  Not surprisingly, that was only the first time for churros and chocolate on the trip.

Picture from our balcony.  The green awnings are San Gines

View from our balcony. The green awnings are San Gines.

First churros and chocolate

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After filling our bellies with delicious snacks, we made the long, strenuous walk of about 50m back to the AirBnb for a short nap before our evening plans.  I had originally scheduled a cooking class for our second day in Madrid, but the cooking school reached out to ask if we could attend a day earlier.  Slightly tired and jet lagged, we walked to the A Punto Cooking School.

Along with students from Toronto, Zurich, Korea, and the US, we made a delicious array of tapas, including salmorejo (a cold tomato soup that is definitely not gazpacho), cod fish, lamb, calamari, focaccia, cheese crisps, and a delicious bread pudding-like dessert with horchata.  The food was all tasty, but nothing particularly knocked our socks off.  Overall, though, it was a fun experience cooking and chatting with the chef and other students.  The chef was originally from Buenos Aires, had travelled around a bit, and settled in Madrid about 4 years ago.  He loves the city and had some great recommendations for restaurants and sites.

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Post cooking/eating, we took a leisurely walk back to our AirBnb through Puerta del Sol, looking at all the statues, and through Plaza Mayor where everything was bustling.

Bear and Strawberry Tree, representing coat of arms of Madrid

Bear and Strawberry Tree, representing coat of arms of Madrid

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor