Our final day in Madrid and we have to kill a lot of time. There is time between checking out of the hotel at 12 and getting the overnight train at 1030, and it has to be killed.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. I had stuff planned. Mister Social, right?
First I had a booking at two-starred Sergi Arola, which looked totally awesome. But then that fell through. No worries, I made a booking at Zaranda. But then that fell through too, so I had a lot of time to kill in Madrid.
The day started with sandwiches. We'd found a store near the Puerta del Sol which had heaps of jamon, cheese and, for today's purposes, sandwiches. They were thin and sold by the half sandwich for 80 cents. They were good. The simplicity of bread and topping is forgotten sometimes in favour of as many toppings as possible, in some sort of bizarre, twisted concept of getting more value. But these were just right.
A few more hours were spent wondering how to kill the time. First we went to a park, and that killed some time. Then I looked at the map and saw something that looked like a market, so we headed there. It turned out to be nothing more than a small shopping centre.
Then I did something bad.
I don't like Starbucks. I don't like the way they're everywhere, and I generally don't like the people that go there.
I went to Starbucks. It was mostly motivated by a desire for both coffee of any guise and bathrooms, but none the less I went there. And I ordered one of their abortions of a coffee. And I liked it. Good lord, where has the Starbucks frappucino been my life? So much sugar, it's fantastic, in a sort of “did I really just spend $5 on this just to get a caffeine hit/I definitely have diabetes” sort of way. I quickly planned when my next one would be.
We then went to the museum of contemporary art, which appeared to be demolished, so that was another waste of time. So we went to see the palace (or maybe one of the palaces; every European city seems to have multiple). Then we went to Starbucks again. A different one.
Then we killed more time and it was looking like dinner time. So we stopped killing time and went in search of food.
The other day we'd noticed a bar sort of thing that had a lot of excellent beers in the window. We went in search of that because, even if they didn't have food, they'd have beer.
But they had food. Oh my how they had food.
They had a tapas on toast section in the menu where there were 7 choices of things on toast. Things like jamon, anchovies, smoked salmon and cod. We got one of each. And they were sensational. Coupled with sensational beers, this was a very good time indeed, friends.
But we were still hungry (and thirsty) so I noticed they had another tapas section in the menu. Six of those, please. And more outstanding beers.
And those tapas were just as good as the first ones. More outstanding things on toast. This time there was cheese too, atop those noble loaves.
We contemplated why Sydney doesn't have a place like this—a place that serves outstanding beers and has simple, cheap, but more-ish snacks.
And with enough time killed, we asked for the bill. How much were we going to have to pay for the privilege of have 13 different tapas, olives, nuts, a handful of beers that retail for around $10 each in Sydney? Sixty euros. Combined. We were stuffed, satisfied, well fed, well watered, for only $30 each. Dare I say a MERE $30 euros?
Things that need to happen in Sydney #82: This.