Category Archives: Spain

Stories Faces Places in Spain

Madrid: What area should we stay? Listener Question and Answer

"Live Statue" in Sol
“Live Statue” in Sol

 A couple from California is visiting Madrid in June, to explore the city, see museums, eat good food, and relax.

Q: We’re thinking of renting an apartment for a week in Madrid.  We have seen some units that we like around the Prado, and others around the Puerta del Sol. We like walking to restaurants and enjoying the city ambiance, but also appreciate a bit of quiet now and then.  Any recommendations are appreciated?

A:   Out of the 2 areas you mentioned, choose the Prado area for a more quiet apartment along with easy proximity to the museums, Retiro Park, restaurants, and shops. The area surrounding Puerta del Sol is a bustling, busy area; however there are plenty of side streets that are very quiet at night.  We like staying in the Sol area because it is right in the heart of it all.  All streets radiate from Puerta del Sol like the spokes of a bicycle.  It is an easy walk in one direction to Plaza Mayor, Mercado San Miguel, the Palace, Opera House, and the El Rastro area with the Sunday Market.

In the opposite direction you can walk to the Prado and museum campus along with Retiro Park.

In another direction you find Gran Via and many other shopping streets.

In a forth direction from Sol, you quickly find an endless supply of great Tapas places and restaurants.

Located one block off  Puerta del Sol is the huge department store and grocery, El Cortes Inglese, which makes it very convenient for picking up any items you may need, such as water and snacks, food and any household goods for living in Madrid.

We also enjoy being able to drop into our hotel or apartment throughout the day for a quick rest, and staying in the center of it all provides that with ease. There are so many great neighborhoods in Madrid to explore and stay in, each with it’s own personality.

Enjoy the planning and fall in love with Madrid, as we have! Please contact  us for any other information you may require.


Palermo, Sicily and Madrid, Spain, Fun Re-told

Ferry Boat Disembarkation
Ferry Boat Disembarkation

Well, here we go again. We both love these two stories of experiences we enjoyed while traveling. One is our completely unexpected inspiration from people while aboard an overnight ferry from Palermo, Sicily.  An experience we will never forget.

Next in this episode we re-live our impromptu tapas crawl in Madrid, Spain. This comes the day after we witnessed thousands of people in Puerta Del Sol celebrating the abdication of the King of Spain.

New Friend
New Friend

For more information on Madrid, listen to our

Madrid Tapas
Madrid Tapas

podcast solely on Madrid here: Madrid, Spain, Tapas and an Abdication Party

Listen to the Palermo Podcast here

Podcast: Spain: The Perfect Trip in Retrospect

Flamenco Photo Shoot

SStories Faces Places Logoito there we were, circling the Madrid airport for the fourth time, as we followed the instructions of our GPS leader, Juan. We’re in Spain, Juan fits.  If circling the airport four times is the worst thing that happens, well then, we are in great shape.

Ah Madrid, the starting point of our journey through Spain.   We structured this as a simple fourteen day trip with a rental car.  A plan so simple a monkey could do it. Enough debating, yes, I’m the monkey.  Laura obviously did the planning.

Join us in this podcast as we fumble our way through near disasters, almost getting the car stuck between two buildings, eerily resembling the movie European Vacation.  We are not the Griswalds, it just happened, one event after the next without avoidance.  We reeked of Griswald.  Embarrassing, yes, but we refused to let it deter us.

Troubadours Having Fun

This podcast is a story of a string of miss-queues told in reverse, changing possible disaster into the perfect trip.

Podcast: Madrid, Spain: An Abdication Party and an Under $20 Tapas Crawl

Stories Faces Places LogoJoin us for a fun tapas crawl, not literally, but a figurative crawl. We actually walked all the way.  The people meeting, eating (none were harmed), and drinking all amounted to under $20 per person, full belly included.  We’ve all heard the cliché, “You can’t screw up a free lunch.”  Listen in and you’ll see just how gracefully Al accomplished it. That’s right, the free ham slider turned into potato chips, nice job. How’s your Spanish?

In addition, we share our experience with the abdication mob.  In clarification, we did not share our tapas crawl experience with the abdication mob. We unexpectedly found ourselves, not figuratively, but literally found ourselves in the middle of the abdication crowd. A mob it was not.

We finish off  this edition of Stories Faces Places with a few interesting places and things to do and see on a visit to Madrid.

The following Links and Pictures add to your enjoyment of our podcast.

 Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor


Three Eat and Drink Places when visiting Madrid

Three Leisure Time to-do’s in Madrid

Hats on Gran Via

Local Hangout




The podcast explains what we mean by hats on Gran Via.





Segovia Castle
Segovia Castle



Ice Cream Strolling and a Revolution

What’s Your Schtick

Three Eat and Drink Places When Visiting Madrid

One of the biggest problems to have when traveling abroad is where to eat. Well, we attempt to give you three options here in Madrid, Spain. We looked for simplicity, quality, casual atmosphere, and casual pricing.  Here are three choices in random order:

Canas Y Tapas

Tucked away on a small street just a block or two from Puerta del Sol, and just behind El Cortez Inglese, the large Target type store with a grocery component, is the quaint little place called Canas Y Tapas. Sitting in the bar area provides a more local atmosphere and an experience for a beer or wine and a small plate. They run specials daily. Scrambled eggs and chorizo with potatoes  mixed and served in a small skillet, much more elegant sounding in Spanish, will cost about 5,50 euros. Mix it with a beer and you’ve got a great lunch. They’ll offer a complimentary tapa with your drink order. It’s usually Brava, potatoes in brava sauce, a slight spice to it and very good.

 Their english is a bit rusty, well very rusty. But remember, your Spanish is probably non-existent to poor. If you take it slow and be patient, you’ll manage. They are nice people and very willing to help you understand. Courtesy goes a long way and remembering that other patrons are there too, helps.

Their specials run all the time. It’s worth a look for the price.


Head on over to the corner of Barcelona and Cadiz, a great place for alfresco dinning choices. For lunch, you will find the area more low-key. At night the two streets become another center for gathering, socializing and eating. Numerous restaurants frame the two streets.

Majaderitos is positioned at the top of the “T”  at the intersection of the two streets, giving one a great view up the hill of Barcelona street, also know as Calle Barcelona. The people watching is superb.

While there why not try a half order of Gambon, grilled shrimp, at seven euros? A copa de Penamonte will run about 2,50 euro, and the aqua will cost about two euros. They’ll also offer a complimentary bowl of brava with your drink order.

As an alternate to Majaderitos, walk across the corner to Cuevas El Secreto. With a slightly different menu its a nice choice too. They speak some english, but again, patience goes a long way.

Casa De Granada

An interesting place where  no english spoken, but  miming is acceptable in Casa de Granada. A sense of adventure is required when visiting this secretive roof top lounge perched on top of an old apartment building. That’s right,  you read it right, an old apartment building with a view where one sees for miles  the plains of Espana.

Enter the building through a small older doorway in need of some maintenance. Make your way to the elevator shaft, you might be thinking you’re in the wrong place. Push the top floor button and you are on slow haul to the terrace.

Prior to venturing out, plug the address, Calle Doctor Cortez0 17 into your GPS. Upon arrival, you’ll be able to see the terrace, white decor with clear glass railings, from street level. Once you confirm your location, put your fears aside and go for it.  It should prove a memorable experience.

A glass of red will run about 3,50 euros, but keep in mind they send great nibblies with each order, smoked tuna with tomato on a toasted bagette to almonds, chips, olives,  and whatever else they feel like surprising you with.

Spanish is a big help here, but if you are patient and play a great game of mime, then  chances are you will have a unique experience.

We would love to hear from you regarding your experiences and even some photos.