Madrid

Why come don’t we have ham bars? For real…why come! And I know I know, there are tapa bars everywhere in Spain (I’ll tell you what, if I order a drink and you give me some food for free because of that…I may just heart you forever), BUT, BUUUTTTT, not like this. I am talking a meat shop. Ham mostly but meat overall to be fair. Hocks hanging from the rafters. Hocks dripping into cups. Hocks as far as the eye can see…and then the bar. Standing room only. Maybe a few cocktail tables but standing room mostly, and the bar is giant, usually horseshoe shaped but whatever right? So anyway, you saddle up, people are loud, shits exciting and a little anxiety inducing because words are being shouted back and forth so quickly. Cerveza! senor! Por favor! I hand him some money and he hands me a beer…yup…it’s real beer, for 90 cents…and in Madrid. So I’m chillin’, then he starts handing out tapa in my area, what will I get I think to myself. He seems to be handing them out based on looks or impressions. What kind of tapa person am I, I ask? And he hands me the croquettes. NOOOOOO. Not the croquettes. Everyone at the bar has publicly lamented those damn croquettes! So what am I to do. I must take one for the American team. I stoically shove them in my mouth. I smile to the crowd in my area. That’s right bitches. I’m a croquette man, and proud of it. The bartender notices and commends my resolve with sausages and chips…the crowd favorite…thus, winning off the field. Point is, where are these places everywhere else. You can find one or two in other cities in Spain, none elsewhere, and on every single street corner in Madrid! Not kidding, under 1 dollar beers, 1 to 2 dollar sandwiches, everyone is standing, everyone is having a good time. The meal I order was 6 bucks, and I ended up feeding about 10 people. Very happy people indeed, but I had no idea it was going to be so big.

Which brings me to another point. When did Spain get so cheap?! I know the dollar is strong, but that shouldn’t affect Euro pricing. It’s like the recession hit and stayed over here. I can’t even imagine how many times I consciously and deliberately chose a reasonably priced glass of wine only to be delivered the entire bottle instead. 10 bucks for a good wine IN A RESTAURANT…no joke. What the fuck.

In any case, I love Madrid, but the shit is just toooooooo big. I stayed on the Gran Via which has easy access to anything cool. The Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol were right up the street, and those places are fantastic, but man, sooo many people, sooo much “stuff”. It’s just too big. When I want old world Europe I want quaint. And Madrid ain’t quaint. I did get the hop on hop off action, but it wasn’t that interesting honestly.
That brings me to another point, what the fuck happened to “squares” in this world?!?! The Europeans already had it figured out, what the hell did we do to it? A “square” in the biblical sense, has patios everywhere, it has performers, it has hawkers, it has demonstrations, and for gods sakes, it has patios everywhere. The only use we get out of our squares is fucking marches, and even then they only either begin or end in a square. We suck. A true European square, is heavenly. Our most famous “square” in the US isn’t even a square! And until recently it wasn’t pedestrian friendly, and it never even remotely resembled a patio friendly, community friendly, world friendly “square”. WTF!

Sidebar…saw a movie, in English (The Avengers 2), but the “theater/screen” was like something that should’ve been playing porn, and not like main stream expensive porn, like porn they found in their dad’s basement or some shit. I literally felt bad for Spain…ouch.

Notes to self:

-Jamon Iberico de Bellota or Montanera is the real shit. Gotta be careful with that fake stuff, especially in the US.
-Torta de Casar cheese was the jam. Can be slightly firm or completely soft for dipping. Stinky and great and very very regional (availability wise).
-Calle Montera was hilarous! I was literally just trying to get from the main plazas back to the Gran Via and I inadvertently took this road (for it’s perfect accessibility to be sure). This road, full of families and normal shops, that suddenly and without notice begins to fill with some of the more obvious prostitutes you will ever see around dusk. It was wacky…but they were also kind of smokin 🙂


Hotels

Hotel Indigo Madrid (May 2015)

Hotel Europa Madrid (Apr. 2006)