How to spend a perfect day on the Gran Vía? (I)

By | 2 September, 2014 | 0 comments

Chicote Gran ViaOften criticised for its progressive homogenization with other large European avenues, the Gran Vía still has its own personality that makes it different to the rest. Also, its offer, which combines restaurants, hotels, the latest in fashion, cinema, theatres, musicals and comedy shows, among others, transforms its 0.818 miles of length into a stage filled with attractions.

Starting at the lower part, where Calle Alcalá splits from it, we have the more luxurious area, previously dedicated to jewellery stores, of which there are still a few good ones like Grassy, in the building that carries its name inaugurated in 1952. Slowly, many hospitality services have appeared in this stretch, perhaps the quietest of them all and where until recently the only pause worth making here was in the Chicote Museum, where cocktails are considered a work of art

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Categories: tourism

A taste of Argentina in Madrid

By | 4 August, 2014 | 0 comments

carne argentina madridWhether they win or not in the World Cup, Argentina always has an important presence in Madrid, where its restaurants are some sort of embassy for meat that are much beloved in the city Most of the Argentine restaurants in Madrid specialise in the star product of their gastronomy: meat.

One of the most popular ones among the Argentine community in Madrid (on some nights you might even see Jorge Valdano, Andrés Calamaro or Ricardo Darín at the same time) is DeMaría, especially its restaurant on Calle Félix Boix, 5, close to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. Recently it has opened restaurants on the Gran Vía and Calle Hortaleza, where they offer affordable lunchtime menus (12.50€), although the chain has 9 restaurants all over the city.

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Categories: tourism

Leisure and adventure in Madrid

By | 30 July, 2014 | 0 comments

Madrid XanaduSummer is a time to enjoy, something that is not that complicated in a big city despite that its rhythm is somewhat slower than in the rest of the year. Let’s see some proposals so that the heat does not stop us from enjoying a nice and big adrenalin rush.

In winter, Xanadú is famous for its artificial ski slopes. A snow fest in the middle of the summer in Madrid? It is definitely possible thanks to proposals like Tobogganing, which is what they call the ski slope set in the Xanadú shopping centre. In summer, they offer a pass (Bono Diversión) that includes karting, bowling, cinema and the aforementioned Tobogganing. Since it is inside the shopping centre, you can visit the many stores that sell clothes, beauty products, home items, jewellery and I.T. products among others. A perfect way to finish a day filled with activities.

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Categories: blog, tourism

Japanese restaurants in Madrid

By | 21 July, 2014 | 0 comments

Sushi MadridIn the last ten years, the great capitals of the world have seen a large amount of Japanese restaurants appear on their streets. It is a phenomenon that is still growing and in this article we will narrow it down to six of them, of different styles, prices, atmospheres and location.

In the heart of the Malasaña district, on the lively Espíritu Santo street -just a few hundred yards from our hotel- we come across Banzai, a narrow restaurant with a simple and modern decoration that offers some of the tastiest salmon nigiris in the area. Less formal is the other Japanese restaurant located just a few years away, on the neighbouring San Ildefonso square: Maki, an ideal restaurant to buy food to take away and eat it outside. There are trays that are varied and complete that only cost 10 euros. You can also eat them with an Asahi beer or buy one in the many Chinese supermarkets in the area.

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Categories: blog, tourism

Taverns with character

By | 15 July, 2014 | 0 comments

cerveza-madridIn Madrid there is life, and life with history, beyond the mainstream bars that sell beer by the bucket for a handful of euros. These are the traditional taverns that survive the passing of decades, fashions and preserve the flavour and spirit of past times intact. You can find them in the city centre but also in other less busy districts, which may be worth a visit.

On Calle Mesón de Paredes, close to Plaza Tirso de Molina, we come across the Antonio Sánchez tavern, which used to be a regular spot for bullfighters, writers and painters such as Ignacio Zuloaga, a regular in the social gatherings of the time (late 19th century). You can also enjoy some homemade cooking with traditional dishes such as escargots and minced meat, which go fantastically after a nice vermouth.

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Categories: blog, tourism

Las Ventas bullring in Madrid

By | 19 May, 2014 | 0 comments

Plaza Toros VentasCan you visit a bullring without a bullfight taking place there? In Madrid, the answer is yes, thanks to the re-opening and remodelling of the Taurine Museum, that opened in 1951. Located on Patio de Caballos, it offers its visitors a large exhibition that documents the history of the bullring, such as prints by Goya or costumes of the most important bullfighters who performed here in the 20th century.

The bullring, in neo-mudéjar style, is the biggest in Spain and it can hold up to 24,000 spectators, although the bullring in Ronda has a bigger diameter. Its construction ended in 1929 although it was not inaugurated until two years later, the same year as the Empire State Building, for example.

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Categories: tourism

Visit to El Rastro

By | 28 April, 2014 | 0 comments

Rastro MadridIts name, rastro, means trail in Spanish and it comes from the trail of cattle that were taken to the different tanneries, like the many on the Ribera de Curtidores, and today El Rastro is one of the most popular street markets in the World.

Tales from the 18th century already tell of its existence, as do monographic books like El Rastro por la mañana (El Rastro in the morning) by Spanish playwright don Ramón de la Cruz (1731-1794). Modern writers like Andrés Trapiello are weekly visitors to this traditional flea market and the wisest visitors do so in the early morning to avoid the huge crowds that appear afterwards. read full article

Categories: tourism

Other parks in Madrid

By | 22 April, 2014 | 0 comments

Templo DebodThe Spanish capital has a wide range of green spaces aside from the famous Retiro. One of the most beautiful and well taken care of is Parque del Oeste, close to Calle Ferraz and Plaza de España, ideal to enjoy the last rays of sun in the afternoon and the peculiar Temple of Debod, a piece of ancient Egypt in the heart of Madrid.

During the Spanish Civil War, it witnessed the bloody fighting between the Republicans, who defended the city from General Franco’s attacks, and you can still see the remains of this part of history in the bunkers that are preserved next to Avenida de Séneca. read full article

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The Gran Vía: A stone’s throw from Hotel Sterling

By | 9 April, 2014 | 0 comments

Edificio Telefónica Gran Vía“The Gran Vía is New York” wrote Raúl Guerra Garrido, in a book whose front cover included a dead and bloody bull. The poor animal escaped on the way to the slaughterhouse and walked around the central avenue offering an improvised and dangerous show. Fortunately, no pun intended, the bullfighter who managed to bring him down was called Fortuna and there were only a few people injured. A very Spanish anecdote.

It is just one of the stories that this important urban avenue has, an artery which was designed in the early 20th century -King Alfonso XIII laid the first stone in 1910- with the intention of imitating the great American boulevards like Broadway and being a stage for glamour and shows. More than a century after its opening, which meant an important decongestion of traffic in this busy area of Madrid, the Gran Vía shows its splendour with a varied offer of musicals, theatre plays and different kinds of shows comparable to other American and European capitals. read full article

Categories: tourism

The statue of Don Quijote in the Plaza de España

By | 28 March, 2014 | 0 comments

Estatua Don Quijote MadridThe author of Spanish literature’s most famous book has a statue in a privileged location: right in front of the Spanish Parliament, with a plaque that labels him the ‘Prince of Wit’. It is important to know that the house he died in is not far from there, on number 2 of Calle Cervantes, of course.

However, if Cervantes is a relevant figure perhaps his characters are even more so: Don Quijote and his loyal squire Sancho Panza have their statue in quite the prominent spot: Plaza de España in Madrid. Except for the small detail that it is one of the windiest spots in the city, it is a pleasant place to enjoy the sun, read on a bench or enjoy the different food or crafts fairs that take place there. read full article

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