Madrid/Lisbon Easter mini-tour, mini-review
We flew to Madrid stayed a night and then got the train to Lisbon
Cuevas Sesamo – awesome bar with a live pianist, a lanced bull's head and proverbs adorning all the walls / ceilings
Amargo Place To Be bar – interesting fusion food in basement with live music. Very intimate vibe. Superb.
Botanical Gardens / Retiro park at Cibeles – amazing amount of green space in Madrid (something criminally missing in BCN) + the astonishing indoor jungle at Atocha station – nice to remember it for something other than bombs/destruction
Charmatin railway station – an actual indoor water cascade down the walls
The neighbourhood between Atocha and Anton Martin – endless fun (the idea that BCN is inherently more surrealist is increasingly I think a myth)
Top views from the top of the Centro Centro building at Cibeles – even if Madrid doesn’t quite have the BCN skyline
Caixa Forum – top design, especially the part building/part-shrub (see Instagram feed)
People on the rob – we’d been in town 5 minutes. my gf luckily managed to grab her bag back and get a punch in
Buskers playing deafening half-arsed renditions of the LAMBADA on accordions. On Repeat. PLEASE f*** OFF!
English football hoolies in town for the Atletico game, letting the side down (as ever) jeering about Spain/Gibraltar and keeping us awake at The Palacios Fuencarral. PLEASE f*** OFF!
The Palacios Fuencarral not providing towels
Prado queues/gormless tourists – don’t even go there
Congreso de Diputados - wanted to get a picture of the coup d'etat bullet holes in the ceiling but they wouldn't let us in
The 10 hour night train from Madrid to Lisbon – my lifelong love affair with sleeper trains continues
Bairro Alto – a dense warren of narrow cobbled streets where all the fun is. Cheesy fado and bars with crooners trying to be Chris Isaak or Astrud Gilberto.
Our AirBNB – the owner Anasus (a slightly eccentric actress from Porto) was so lovely and welcoming. Details on request.
The Time Out Food Market – special mention to the Henrique Sa Pessoa stall. Suckling pork from heaven.
You can smoke cigs in bars. And weed is more or less legal. [Yet oddly we didn’t notice much of either being smoked. Not clear what lessons to be extrapolated there…]
The Tuk-tuks and trams. Tourist cheese but tat quotient refreshingly low compared to BCN.
People are so relaxed and nice.
The smell of piss everywhere + steepness of hills (although the multi-escalator route up from Chiado station is a work of art in itself).
Missing LX club – wanted to check out Tiago et al – but chose the wrong weekend
You obviously see next to nothing on a whistlestop 5 day tour but really enjoyed both cities. I hadn’t been to Madrid in 20 years and I can’t quite believe it was a first trip to Portugal at the age of 42…!