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Urban Rangering in Madrid?

 
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reinhard
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Joined: 12 Apr 2005
Posts: 5756
Location: Cambridge, MA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:38 am    Post subject: Urban Rangering in Madrid? Reply with quote

I'm in Madrid for the week for a conference. I don't have a whole lot of leisure time, but anyone have any good urban rangering suggestions? I'm near Puerto del Sol the and I've hit the super obvious places like the Prado. Anyone have any restaurants they recommend? (assuming I survive the world cup game tonight, "Reinhard" is not the best name to have in Spain right now!)

Reinhard
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kccc



Joined: 27 Oct 2006
Posts: 3933

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No advice - I've not been to Spain - but I do hope you found something and had a WONDERFUL time! Smile
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reinhard
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I did!

Madrid is a pretty awesome city and I picked a pretty awesome time to be there -- I just wish I could have stayed through Sunday.

I was impressed at how BIG it seems. I know it's not as big as Paris or London or New York in terms of area or population, but it has a very imposing feeling. The buildings are very grand -- one can't help but remember that this used to be the capital city of half the world.

I was staying near the Gran Via, which reminded me a bit of Broadway. At times it seemed so much like New York City, except with a slightly higher percentage of Spanish speakers and prettier (and more seriously pre-war) big buildings, that I forgot where I was. I'm a native New Yorker, so this is a great compliment -- but still, when one travels, one wants to see something different. But then I walked two blocks in another direction and I was clearly in a another world -- narrow winding streets, charming little squares, cobblestones.

It was hard to keep up with my systems the four days I was there -- except for urban ranger, which I practiced double or triple time at least. Though the Spanish do tend to stick with meals, "no seconds" is tough with those many courses of tapas. The Spanish version of no-s may need some mods for localization. I figured that since I was only there for four days and don't get to travel internationally more than once every few years, I might as well take some S-days and enjoy to the hilt.

Glass ceiling was also tough. We were served wine at lunch as well as dinner. One American colleague, who was not much of a drinker, found herself, after many refusals, confronted with a complementary after dinner aperitif which she didn't have the heart to let go to waste.

Another striking thing about Spanish cuisine is how different it is from all the "mediterranean diet" stuff we hear about it the states. More than one of my American colleagues asked, (with only slight exaggeration) "have you had a vegetable since you've been here?" The four basic food groups seemed to be (utterly delicious) ham, vino, cerveza, and cigarettes. I'm not complaining -- I just found the juxtaposition between our idealized conception of the mediterranean diet back home and the reality here amusing. There was also a lot of very fresh and tastefully presented fruit. Oh, and a lot of shellfish, which I love also.

And the history... to eat tapas and drink cerveza in the square where the inquisition used to burn heretics. Can't get that back home.

They have a fantastic metro system -- the best I've ever seen anywhere. It's very recent, and my understanding is that this is what they blew their bubble money on -- not a bad choice. They made every decision right. It's cheap, it's clean, it's frequent, it's well labeled. You can see how many minutes till the next train comes (I never had to wait more than four minutes). It's ubiquitous and actually goes places you want to go in a reasonably direct manner (if only we had that in Boston). The pricing is easy to understand and you aren't trapped like a rat underground if you misplace your ticket like you are in Paris and London (except going to the airport), and you can see how much you have left on your ticket each time you swipe (why can't Boston and New York do this???). Finally, the cars were aesthetically pleasing -- better than much of what I saw at the Reina Sofia.

As a happily married man, I cannot comment on the renowned beauty of Spanish women, but my single male colleagues insist that it was much in evidence. I think I may be permitted to observe, at least, that they have very nice shoes. Smile

Gracias por su hospitalidad, y felicitaciones por ganar la copa del mundo, mis amigos espaƱoles.

(and sorry if I butchered that -- blame google translate!)

Reinhard
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Spudd



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 85
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't been to Madrid, but I definitely noticed the same thing about the missing vegetables when we vacationed in the south of Spain a few years ago. I was dying for anything green! There were oranges readily available, but meals seemed to be entirely meat and starch.

We grew very tired of ham sandwiches by the end of the trip.
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mattman



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
Posts: 44
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that this is a pretty old thread but what the heck. First, I am jealous that you got to go to Spain, that would be awesome. I would say to heck with the glass ceiling and NoS for that week.

When my wife an I go to Toronto every year we walk, an walk, and walk..... Which works out great. That way we dont feel bad about great food and extra beers throughout the day, or wine with dinner. I know this sounds corny, but I cant wait to take my pedometer to toronto to see just how many miles we log each day. I know its a bunch.
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mattman



Joined: 03 Sep 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang, I forgot to mention a couple of points.............

When you walk in a new or different city, you get to see sooooo much more than you otherwise would have. The smells, the food, all the different types of people. you save a ton of cash when walking instead of paying for transportation. And, its nice to walk off big meals, that way you feel better in the eveining. Its also really nice to come home from a trip the same weight or even a bit less instead of coming home heavier. just my two cents.
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Hoeka



Joined: 28 Nov 2010
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Location: Botswana

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mattman wrote:


When you walk in a new or different city, you get to see sooooo much more than you otherwise would have.


...especially when you get lost. You get to see places that may not have been on the must-see list, but the experience of being lost adds a whole new dimension to how I (in any event) see and remember a place.

(Not that I ever am lost - I just do some random and spontaneous sightseeing on route to my destination Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy )
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Who Me?



Joined: 04 Apr 2011
Posts: 969

PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure that restaurant food represents "local diet" very accurately.

Did you find the timing of meals very different? My (mainly vegetarian, some vegan) friends who traveled in Spain said it was hard to wait so long for dinner.
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gomez000123



Joined: 28 Nov 2012
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Location: new york

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wish you best of luck hope u have great time



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Yacskkol



Joined: 07 Oct 2017
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good and informative exchange .. Thank you!
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