On my way to New York I had a 21 hour long layover in Madrid and this visit could be summed up as “walk, drink, eat, repeat”.
After checking into my hostal on Calle Fuencarral I walked over to the Mercado de San Anton in Chueca. This market sells fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and cheese as well as prepared food. Downstairs is a grocery store and upstairs a restaurant with a beautiful and large terrace. I picked up a fresh juice and started to wander through the Chueca and Malansana neighborhoods. There are so many cute cafés, shops, restaurants and bars! I could have stopped at every corner for a drink or food but I had set my mind on eating at Federal Café on Calle Amarilo.
Federal Café is an Australian-style café chain with locations in Barcelona and Madrid (and soon Valencia & Girona) which I had discovered on Instagram while planning this trip.
I tried their iced coffee which was absolutely delicious and the halloumi bites were equally good. If there’s one thing I love in a café while I’m travelling its having a seat at the window to people watch, outlets so I can charge my devices and of course wi-fi. Federal Café has all of it, so I was in heaven.
Afterwards I visited the nearby and newly opened ABC museum and their “Alice in Wonderland” exhibit. Unfortunately the exhibit is only in Spanish, but the museum is free of admission, so that’s a plus.
I had made plans to visit the Templo de Debod and watch the sunset but it started to rain and I decided to walk up Gran Via – my favorite street ever! – and head to the Gourmet Experience at El Corte Ingles that opened a year ago.
The Gourmet Experience ist half delicatessen store, half food market and is located in the 9th floor of El Corte Ingles at Callao. The view from up there is breathtaking, especially the view along the busy Gran Via with its theaters and large advertisements.
I had coffee and a cheesecake at the bakery located next to the escalators, butd the cake was unfortunately nothing to write home about. The coffee was fine though and the view definitely made up for the cake disappointment.
My last stop for the day was Mercado de San Miguel, near to Plaza Mayor. This old market hall got a long extensive renovation and reopened in 2009, but somehow I never made it there during my last visits to Madrid. The market hall is absolutely beautiful and there many food stalls to choose from: from pizza to paella or pinchos. Still full from the cake I just had I only tried the white sangria from one of the stalls which was delicious and got me tipsy quickly.
Now that I’m hungry again I wish I could go back and have some of the meat paella, a horchata and one of the desserts.