One last tapas and gone – Madrid #9.

Hello there and welcome to what should be the final post in the series about my short trip to Madrid in November 2013 but the way I rattle on it will probably go to three different posts! Only joking.

Usual advice here if you have landed on this page other than by reading the previous posts, it will make more sense if you read from the start of the trip which you can do here.

After the slightly lunatic antics of the previous evening (see the post before this for full details) I could really have done with a bit of a lie-in but that was not an option as I had to check out that morning. Ah well, self-inflicted injury I suppose so I have no sympathy for myself. Siobhan was long gone to work by the time I rose and was going straight to the airport after although by the time she was taking off I should already have been in London. No need for long goodbyes, which I don’t do well anyway, as we were meeting up a week later in my home city.

After checking out I took myself to a rather well-stocked local supermarket and loaded up with goodies. I had debated a full Iberian ham but it would have been silly with just me at home, it would have taken me a year to finish and would have required a second mortgage to purchase.

I did get some beautiful cheese, including a good amount of the beautiful Manchega I had enjoyed so much in Toledo a couple of days before and, indeed, in several tapas bars round Madrid. I bought the absolute centre of Spanish cooking – pimenton, which is basically paprika. I bought some infusions in flavours I cannot get at home like a passionfruit, lavender and honey concoction which was gorgeous and I also bought something else which I shall tell you about later in the post.

With my retail therapy completed it was time for a glass of breakfast and so I adjourned to the lovely little Aolmar café / bar Aolmar which I have already told you about. I was in no rush as my flight was not until late afternoon and I knew how long it would take me to get there for the two hour check-in and security routine.

I decided to make a move sooner rather than later and jumped onto the metro which is only round the corner from the bar. My kitbag was certainly heavier than when I had come with all my shopping but it was certainly not unmanageable. On the way I took the image above to show you the kind of area the hotel was in, tidy, a bit upmarket but definitely suburban.

From where I was, I had to change Metro lines at Mar de Cristal and the journey had been so hassle free I was still well ahead of time so why not. As I mentioned on the outward journey I object to being ripped off in airport bars, especially as they are so soulless. I would much rather sit in a locals bar somewhere. OK, it is a policy that has led to some near disasters but that is just the way I travel.

Don’t ask me what bar this was as I have no idea. If you are really interested check on a map and whatever the nearest bar to the exit from the Metro is, that was the one I was in. As well as the obligatory beer I had one last (complimentary) tapas of fried potatoes and chorizo, lovely. I was being sensible and so I didn’t stay too long, jumped back on the Metro and arrived at the airport in good time.

The formalities were quickly dealt with and I was on my Iberian code-share flight back to Heathrow. Heathrow? Yes, I know I had flown out of London City and rightly praised it highly but for reasons of scheduling I had to return through LHR. That is no problem although it is a lot less convenient for me as it is on the far side of London from where I live but so be it.

Even back in 2013 Iberian, a so-called “proper” national carrier i.e. not a cheapo like Wizzair, Ryanair, Easyjet et al had adopted the no frills business model which is the reason for the image above. €6 for a ham roll, you must be joking. I’d just spent a few days with barmen forcing free food on me. I thought that was why you paid the extra for airlines like this even if it is only a bag of peanuts and a drink on a short flight like this.

One good thing about flying into Heathrow was that it was a lovely clear night and our approach took us right round London in a holding pattern which gave a superb view of the city below. I was so taken with it I even had a go at a bit of videoing out the window and you can see it here if you like.

We arrived on time and everything was going swimmingly but I knew it was too good to last and the image above tells you exactly why. I don’t know what the problem with Border Force (our immigration lot) was this time but there seems to be one more often than not. If memory serves it took me about 90 minutes with a British passport to clear it. I have no idea what non-EU passport holders were going through. Still, annoying as it was, it was not going to dampen my spirits after what had been a brilliant few days.

I eventually got home and unpacked my foodstuffs. I rarely fully unpack my kiybag and still have one half-packed from a trip a couple of years ago. It makes it easier to pack next time! I get the laundry out and leave the rest. Thankfully I have enough T-shirts to be able to do this.

I have been teasing you about the strange thing I brought home and the left hand image above will tell you. The right hand one is just the herbal infusions I mentioned. Before you ask, don’t because I have no idea.

If you tried to pick a geographic location in Spain furthest from the sea you could do a lot worse than Madrid, so it was not like I had been by the sea and taken a mad notion for some fresh seafood to bring home. I had never cooked a lobster before and had only the most rudimentary idea of how to do it. I wasn’t inebriated when I bought it so I cannot blame the demon drink. I really am at a complete loss to understand this but these are the kind of crazy things I do.

So here ends my little outing to Madrid and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Normally I would add another post with technical information like useful websites etc. but it was so long ago that it is pretty pointless really and I have been linking websites as I go. So many of the places I visited are under new management there is not much point really.

I had come home with some simply wonderful produce (including the lobster) and I had become so enamoured of tapas and that whole style of eating that I even invited a friend round one evening for a bit of a tapas wine party (and some good Spanish wine obviously). As well as that I lived off tapas myself for quite a while after that and I realise that my presentation is pretty rubbish I have included a small selection of my efforts, more to give you a laugh than anything else.

I have not decided what trip I am going to write up next but whenever I do decide, you will all be the first to know so stay tuned and spread the word.

Author: Fergy.

Hello there. I am a child of the 50's, now retired and had been enjoying travelling pre-virus. Now I am effectively under house arrest. Apart from travelling, I love playing music (guitar, vocals and a bit of percussion) as the profile pic suggests and watching sport, my playing days are long over. I read voraciously, both fiction and nonfiction I'll read just about anything although I do have a particular interest in military history of all periods. I live alone in fairly central London where I have been for over 30 years since leaving Northern Ireland which was the place of my birth. I adore cooking and I can and do read recipe books and watch food programmes on TV / online all day given half a chance.

11 thoughts on “One last tapas and gone – Madrid #9.”

  1. See the thing with that lobster story (yes, we’re still not over it 😉) … here in South Africa you need a fishing permit to catch lobsters (or crayfish) and only 4 per person (with a permit).
    And you are only allowed to catch crayfish in season … that is something like 12 days a year (beginning in December until January and then over Easter Weekend again) … really crazy and make no sense at all!
    And … yes it’s not yet the end of the crayfish saga … when you do travel with a crayfish (in your car, mind you … I don’t even want to think what will happen with you should you take one on a domestic flight 😳), you need to have THAT permit. That’s why your lobster-post was such an amazing (and hard to believe) story 😅.
    Yeah … about the virus variant … I was under the impression the UK banned all flights from RSA … probably someone that “slipped” in by the backdoor … sorry about that …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can perhaps understand the lobster quota to preserve stocks but why is the crayfish season so short, that seems ridiculous.

      I don’t know about stopping RSA flights as I try to avoid the news as much as possible these days, it just depresses me. There are a thousand ways the RSA variant could have got here so there is probably little point in me even speculating on it.

      Being an island, the UK was in an ideal position to protect itself. When the virus was first detected we should have just shut the country off, close airports, ports and secure the border with the Irish Republic and we would have been fine. By all means allow British citizens to return and quarantine them in secure units, none of this self-isolation business.

      Of course, no British Government was going to do that and I bet they are regretting it now. Our NHS is at breaking point, our economy, which was just getting over the recession a bit, is now shot and we are printing money for the sake of it which is going to lead to inflation, it is a nightmare situation all round and the figures just keep going up.

      Do you think this is the pale horse?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, we also try and avoid reading newspapers … it’s not doing us any good. Our economy is anyway in tatters and it’s not going well with our people … sad, sad story 😔.
        About the pale horse … who knows, hey? It might be (or not) … but we are aware this “thing” is much bigger than what we thought a year ago …

        Back to the lobster (yes again) … we also understand the lobster quota, but it is the amount of days per year that we are allowed to catch them which is ridiculous (as you’ve mentioned).
        Since I can remember, Berto and my dad used to dive for crayfish (well, more Berto than my dad – he was sitting on the rocks and “instruct” Berto where to go 😄) … we will soon put a post up about diving for crayfish close to where we live .
        Ok, enough of the lobster … for now anyway!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your lobster story reminds me of a trip to Barcelona many years ago, the watch Newcastle play (back in the days when we used to do that sort f thing 😦 ) We were drinking in a bar with a load of very drunk Geordies, and there was a display of all the lovely foodstuffs served there, including a couple of live lobsters with their claws held together with elastic bands. One small group of fans nears us named one of the lobsters Larry. One of their number, clearly under the influence, decided it was his mission to ‘liberate Larry the lobster’ so he reached into the display, picked up the lobster and took it out to the street where he placed it on the pavement and told it that it was free and should get moving. Needless to say it did not, and equally needless to say, the bar owner was furious. She went dashing outside to grab the lobster and then threw all the fans (us included, although we’d been innocent bystanders) out of her bar!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely boisterous rather than violent. I’ve never seen a Toon fan instigate violence apart from two lads who had a bust-up on the terraces in Palermo because one of them had been carrying on with the other one’s girlfriend! On the Barcelona trip, if I remember rightly, the only arrests were for stealing (they would no doubt say ‘borrowing’) a shopping trolley and racing along the Ramblas in it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What??? You really bought a lobster in Madrid … and got through customs in London without an incident … my word! That’s a story to tell 😁.
    We’ve bought nothing so serious … but a few cans of pimentos were in our bags with which Berto made delicious Spanish paella!
    Thank you so much … I’ve enjoyed your Madrid stories tremendously!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You bought home a lobster!! I’m in tears 🤣🤣🤣 Reminds me of the time my grandfather came back from Croatia to Australia with a bunch of frozen squid in his case. 🤣🤣🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m afraid so and I still don’t know why, bloody stupid thing to do but it must have seemed like a good idea at the time.. If you think logically though (which I didn’t obviously) flying with fresh produce isn’t such a bad idea as the cargo hold of a ‘plane is far colder than your freezer. What really baffles me to this day is why I bought a lobster so far from the sea. I am all into minimal food miles etc. and this just makes no sense at all.

      Thanks so much for continuing to read my nonsense, I really do appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

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