MADRID: IT”S NOT A GAME I PLAY IT"S IN MY DNA IT”S WHAT I DO
So, after Munich, I arrived back home late last night, spent a very few hours in my own bed and then was up at the crack o dawn to head to the office before another schlep to Heathrow and to Madrid.
Ah, Madrid. MI Corazon. It is and remains the city of my dreams. Officially the best city on the face of God’s earth and a place in which I feel immediately at home the moment I plant my feet on its blessed surface.
The flight was a nightmare. Not because of the security at Heathrow this time but more because of the fact that about 50 Spanish school children were on the same plane as us returning from a school exchange and seemed intent in spending the 2 ½ hour flight in singing “ we are the champions” in broken English.
Still, by the time we arrived at Madrid they had run out of energy a bit and I was able to barge past them and race through the stunning and I mean STUNNING new Madrid airport, collect my bag and head for our entirely inoffensive hotel just off the Gran Via.
A slightly different experience from my normal visits to Madrid. Whereas normally, I am with HP who will fight me for the last scrap of fat on a plate of jamon and more than carry his weight when it comes to cana and copa and Gran Duque, this time my companion was a person who barely drinks, does not eat red meat and likes an early night.
Despite that, I have to say we made quite a good showing.
First of all, shame on me, a beer at an entirely horrid bar at Plaza Mejor. I know, I know. It is a tourist trap and EU18 for a couple of drinks and some olives and almonds was iniquitous, but, the Sun was out and it was not unpleasant, so, who cares? A first and a last.
Then, back on to much more familiar territory as we headed up Calle Baja the home of some of my favourite bars in Madrid. It was still early and many of the bars were closed. On top of which many of the restaurants were also shut for their annual holiday. However, we did find the latest branch of Toma Jamon open and ready to serve a large plate of Iberico along with some Pan Y Tomate and a decent cana served from a pump shaped like a ham leg ( can ANYONE think of a better thing in the whole world that beer served through a ham leg? – answers on a postcard ) I, of course had to eat all of the Iberico, poor, poor me.
Then to Casa Luca the home of the Nuevo tapa. Usually, Me and HP just sit at the bar and drink and nibble. This time my me and my companion decided to sit and try a few larger courses. Some croquettes were suitably creamy and, being stuffed with more Iberico, I had to eat them all again. We split a perfunctory salad before two other slightly ordinary courses of ink pasta stuffed with mariscos and a chicken dish which totally escapes me. I suspect it escapes me because I washed it down with the best part of a bottle of Ribera Del Duero.
I was delighted to spot that, at the top of Baja, a new Artisnal Helado store had opened called Gianrossi. It would have been a very poor showing not to give it a try, so we did with a cone of exemplary Chocolate ice cream topped with an even more splendid Dulce De Lece.
Normally, when accompanied by HP, the night would continue in a blur of cana and fried food ending with an unfeasibly large night cap. This time, as work looms large first thing in the morning, I headed back to the hotel for an early night just as the city of my soul was coming to life. I feel like a child having to watch their own birthday party through the upstairs banister while suffering from Chicken pox.
Still, not a bad evening and wheting my appetite for a proper visit later in the year.
Madrid, to quote the masterful D Fagen
It's not a game I play
It's in my DNA
It's what I do