May 16 - Madrid
I was still dozing this morning when I noticed that Ann was sitting up in bed reading her emails on her iPhone. When she told me that it was almost 9:00, I couldn't believe it. But believe it I did and we hustled down to the breakfast buffet and squeezed in with all of the other tourists. We had booked a "free" walking tour with OGO Tours and were under pressure to meet it on time.
The tour started in the Plaza Puerto del Sol which is just outside our hotel. The photo on the sidebar is of Ann waiting for the tour to start. Notice that she has on a long sleeve shirt. It was a little cool.
Our tour guide was very good. She spoke excellent English and relayed a lot of information to us. She pointed out all of the historical sites that we passed and gave us good background about them. She also pointed out the popular restaurants and snack places. I wish we could have taken this tour when we arrived, but it would have been too hot. Free tours like this one usually have entertaining and informative guides because they love their city and they are working for tips so they try harder. I recommend this one.
When the tour was done, it was lunchtime. Ann and I went back to one of the spots the guide recommended. Museo del Jamon has 0,90€ cervesas and 1,00€ ham sandwiches called bocadillos. That's what we had while standing up in a very crowded bar. This is a place that locals frequent because of the prices and the ambiance. Two friendly matrons were looking out for us and made sure that our camera and purse were protected. It's not a museum. It's a bar.
Ann went back to the room while I walked to Calle Cadiz to get a haircut from Luis, an immigrant from Taiwan. After he moved to Spain he renamed himself because he didn't think that anyone could pronounce his family name. This was a real contrast from haircuts that I get at home. He first washed my hair. Then he used scissors and several types of clippers to cut my hair. When he was finished with cutting, he washed my hair again and then touched up several spots with scissors and clippers. All of this for 10,00€. Super Cuts can't compete. Ann says that I look younger which is a real compliment to him.
At snack time, we went down the street to Chocolateria San Gines for churros con chocolate. Churros are long thin tubes of deep fried dough. They are served with cups of very thick hot chocolate in which you dip them. They were very yummy. It's a good sugar high that you don't want to take your kids to have.
We had another tapas dinner tonight at Rosi La Loca . We shared a big salad, eggs Florentine with chorizo and pimentos with anchovies. From our guide this morning we learned that if there are lots of servettes (napkins) on the floor of a tapas bar, it is popular. They get swept up periodically. That means that the first tapas bar that we went to last night with its dirty floor was pretty good. You could have fooled me. Tonight's bar was fairly clean.
After dinner, we strolled with the locals.