Seville & Madrid Spain
Ashley and I awake early and head to the hotel restaurant for a quick breakfast. It is amazing how much more food there is at 7:30 as opposed to 10:30. We check out of our hotel and take the bus to the Seville train station. We get on the bullet train about 9:30 and start off for Madrid. Ashley needs to take some time to work on her speech for the conference she will attend and hunches over her computer to finish it. I get up and head for the diner car to get a cup of coffee. There are several people in the car eating various pastries and having drinks or coffee. I order a cafe con leche. As I sip my cup I reflect on how good the coffee has been in Spain. Their standard cup of coffee is an espresso. The con leche is espresso with milk. If you want a cafe American, it seems to be a double shot of espresso to fill a larger cup. After I have a couple of those, I am ready to GO!
We arrive in Madrid, stow our bags, and head for the Museo Reina Sofía, one of the museums close to the Atocha train station. This has a large collection of modern Spanish artists and is one of the two museums we want to see in Madrid. We are hungry and I am thinking, "Anything but tapas." Rick Steves mentions in his guide book how good the food is at the museums, so we decide to eat at the Sofía. The dining area is clean, modern and stylish. We sit at the bar and order from the menu. The obvious choice is the special with a small salad, entree and drink for about 9 euros. The bartender recommends the steak, which I have, while Ashley gets the salmon. Both are delicious and I think that maybe I have just had my best meal in Spain.
After lunch and a couple of hours in the museum, we walk the streets for a while and then walk back to the train station. We take a short local train ride to our hotel in Leganés, about 30 minutes outside of Madrid. After checking in, we decide to go look for something to eat. Most of the bars don't look very inviting-too much smoke and too crowded. We settle on one close to the hotel but they don't have tapas. Instead they have raciones, which is basically a double or triple order of tapas. We get two orders-one of which was mini red peppers stuffed with a white fish. The other was cheese croquetas. Both were OK, but the sauce seemed like a tomato sauce out of a can. On my way home I think that I may never find the perfect tapas in Spain.