Finishing Our Trip With Art And Churros In Madrid
On this trip to Spain, we enjoyed four day stops in Seville and then in Cordoba. We finished up the Spain portion of our amazing adventure in Portugal and Spain with a quick stop for art and churros in Madrid.
This was our second stay in Madrid. On our first visit, we saw a lot of Madrid. On this visit we enjoyed the luxury of the Intercontinental Madrid and chose just a few spots to explore. We were away from home for almost 10 weeks and we needed to relax before a very long travel day back through Lisbon to Toronto.
A Luxury Stop In Madrid To Finish Our Trip
We enjoyed several luxury stays at the Intercontinental in Lisbon on the earlier part of this trip as we explored Portugal. When we headed to Seville and then Cordoba, we chose a European brand as we explored new options for points and loyalty. But when we headed to Madrid as our last stop, we splurged on a pampering stay at the Intercontinental Madrid.
Our Intercontinental loyalty status ensured we got a nice upgraded room. It was a relaxing refuge when we returned back from a busy day exploring.
The hotel was elegant and had a large lobby when we wanted to spend time out of our room. The breakfast included a massive buffet. And of course there was cava sparking wine for breakfast!
The Intercontinental Madrid was a great base when we explored for art and churros in Madrid!
Exploring The Local Area
As we found when we visited Seville and then stayed in Cordoba, it was very hot during the day. When we wandered we looked for tree-lined streets for shade. And took one of the collection of fans we accumulated. The sounds of water in a fountain drew us in. We sure wished we could take a dip!
Madrid was a pretty flat area so renting bikes was an option. We were delighted when we found a place that even rented electric bikes. On Sunday some of the roads in downtown Madrid were closed and we saw large groups rollerblading on the roads.
On our last visit to Madrid, we bought a multi-day hop-on-hop-off ticket and used that bus as we explored. This time, when we wandered further afield, the Metro was a good choice. The Madrid Metro was massive with over 300 stations. There was a station close to the hotel. And a stop close to everywhere we wanted to visit.
When we visited Madrid, we planned our transportation taking the heat into consideration.
The Beautiful Palacio de Gaviria
The Palacio de Gaviria construction started in 1846. In 1851 it was inaugurated at a ball attended by Queen Isabella II of Spain. When it was opened, the local newspaper La Nación wrote “no other equals its opulence and grandeur, its sumptuousness and refinement in Madrid”. While it was primarily used as a residence, over the years it served as a multi-purpose space. In 2017 it was launched as a major art exhibition centre.
While we visited the Palacio de Gaviria for the temporary Escher exhibit, we enjoyed the chance to see this beautiful building. In some places the ravage of time showed. But other places looked restored. We moved from exhibition room to room and never failed to look up! The ceiling paintings were done by a known painter of the time Joaquín Espalter y Rull.
When we visited Madrid, we were glad there was a temporary exhibition that also showed us the magnificence of the Palacio de Gaviria.
Interacting With The Art of Escher
David was a fan of Escher art, so we had fun when we checked out the temporary Escher exhibit in Madrid.
If you did now know the type of art created by Escher, it was immediately obvious when you saw the designs on the floor. The designs constantly shifted as we watched. The maze on the wall almost looked like we were drawn inside.
We moved through a series of interactive displays. Many of the pieces were mirrored so that we felt like we had entered the art pieces. The big room of mirrors was fun to pose in.
In another area of the exhibit, we saw examples of Escher’s work that was a bit more traditional. Scenes from about Italy showed the Villa Borghese and San Gimignano
On our first visit to Madrid, we explored several of the big art museums. But we always loved when we found temporary art exhibitions on our travels. The Escher Exhibit was a fun find when we looked for art and churros on Madrid.
Chocolate With Churros at Chocolateria San Gines
In Portugal we had Portuguese tarts every opportunity we had. In Spain, we found chocolate and churros was a staple and easily available. But on our quest for art and chocolate in Madrid, we had a specific destination in mind.
Chocolateria San Gines was established in 1894 to produce churros. It was the iconic spot in Madrid for chocolate and churros. The shop was open 24 hours a day every day of the year. Even with two floors of tables, it was often lined up out the door. We got lucky the day we visited.
Churros were simply fried dough made of flour, water, and salt. But the exact recipe was a well-guarded secret kept over the years. At Chocolateria San Gines, the churros were made in one big spiral and then cut into smaller pieces.
Traditionalists ate churros with nothing added. But there was powdered white icing sugar at each table for an extra treat. This reminded us a little of the beignets we loved when we visited New Orleans. As good chocoholics, we did not pass on the rich and thick dark drinking chocolate with our churros. And it worked for dipping too!
On our search for art and churros in Madrid, we were glad we visited Chocolateria San Gines.
We Finished Our Visit To Spain With Art And Churros in Madrid
We planned a relaxing and pampering final stay in Madrid on our visit to Spain. But when we wandered around, we looked for art and churros. And we found both!
Our visit to Portugal and Spain started with a stay in Lisbon. We then travelled through Portugal for 4 weeks. From there we visited Seville and then enjoyed our time in Cordoba. Madrid was the perfect final stop.
Have you found art and churros in Madrid? Did you have another choice for the perfect chocolate churros?
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