Monday, 17 December 2012

A pre-Christmas weekend in Madrid

There's nothing like visiting a different city ahead of Christmas. Last year I went to Leon and experienced the Fete des Lumieres. This time I headed to the Capital of Spain to enjoy the markets, tapas, festive spirit in a country whose fortunes are not what they were.

Yet the city shopping streets were packed; stores busy with shoppers hunting for Christmas gifts, and families filling the streets with children in awe at the Christmas decorations. The city lit up at this time of year really made a difference to the dark, drab, quiet streets when I visited earlier in the year during January.

Saturday I visit Chueca Market, newly renovated in the past few years, this market was falling a part and losing it's appeal. However with a complete refurbishment it is now a popular meeting place to enjoy tapas from the varied international cuisine food outlets and that of the best of Spanish; fish counters are certainly not worth missing. Stop and enjoy a lunch and some wine.

Later in the evening stopping by Mercado de San Miguel. Another renovated market busy with people early on a Saturday evening, tasting sherry, tucking into tapas and enjoying small entries of the Spanish taste.

Sunday, other than shopping, it was time to explore the history of Madrid in shape of the ancient Egyptian temple of Debod, given to the Spanish in 1968. Set on top of the hill in the city in direct line of the long summer sunsets. This is worth a visit as it's fascinating to learn how they transport and rebuild a 2,200 year old temple - and it's position has been well designed.

The locals of Madrid were in full spirits, showing the city at its best.