May 13 - Sevilla to Madrid
After breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and rolled our bags along our pedestrian street to the nearest taxi stand. The taxi took us to the train station and the train took us to Madrid. It was much more comfortable on the train than it was on the bus although it was more difficult getting our luggage on board. Another taxi took us to Hotel Moderno at the edge of Puerta del Sol. Our room on the third floor has a large window that overlooks the plaza.
Our first challenge was to find lunch at Casa Labra. I got us going the wrong direction and we had to get better directions from our front desk. The restaurant/tapas bar is famous for its cod. When we finally found the restaurant (it was on the opposite side of our building), the tapas area was overcrowded. We decided to eat in the very small restaurant. We did not have a reservation and I was afraid we would not get a table. Apparently we were early enough and we were seated. We had two different baked cod entrees. They were perfectly cooked and their sauces were very tasty.
We went back to the hotel after lunch for some downtime. The temperatures were in the high 90s and we wanted to stay inside until it cooled off.
Ann got me going late in the afternoon. We noticed that from our guide book that the Prado Museum had free entry from 6:00 to 8:00. Instead of walking there in the heat, we bought Metro tickets and rode the underground. After all, the station near our hotel was only a couple of hundred feet away. When we surfaced, it took us a while to find the museum. We lined up with a few hundred bargain hunters and entered the museum about 6:15. We soon were bored with Northern European paintings, so we focused on Harry Bosch, el Greco and Pablo Picasso. This was enough for us as we were herded out of the museum at exactly 8:00.
Rick Steves steered us to Calle de Jesus, a street near the museum, for tapas. We went into one of his recommendations, Taberna Maceira, and had some good white bean soup. As we were served Ann's salad and my octopus, the place started to fill up. Everyone was tuned to the TV where Real Madrid was playing Juventas in a football match. It had the same atmosphere as watching the Niners at home. We left with RM leading by 1-0. (It ended in a 1-1 tie).
We walked for a while before we found a Metro station. Along the way, all of the bars, cafes and restaurants were showing the game on their TVs. We returned to the hotel and got a good night's sleep waking up near 8:00.