Our second day in Madrid ended up being gloomy so that kind of put a damper on things – literally. We dragged ass getting up and out of the hotel room (as usual), but finally headed out towards Gran Via. We walked down Gran Via and window-shopped a little, then cut a left to check out the Chueca neighborhood.
Chueca sure is full of characters! First, a bum asked me for a cigarette while Daniela left me alone at the table during lunch. Then I got front-row seats to see another bum puke next to a tree in the plaza (also during lunch). I’ve come to the conclusion that Chueca is over-rated as a tourist destination. I guess there are some cool boutique shops around, but don’t expect much charm from the main plaza, unless you find puking bums charming.
After Chueca, we started heading towards Parque del Retiro. Our plan was to relax in the park and go on a romantic rowboat ride. But by the time got near to the park (after a couple detours to Starbucks and gift shops), it started to rain. Our original plan was to visit the Prado that night and take advantage of its free evening hours, but since we couldn’t kill time in the park until 6 p.m. due to inclement weather, we tried just hanging outside the Prado until then, taking cover under some columns. But it was barely 4:30 p.m.
After dicking around some more, we finally decided to save the Prado visit for the next day and see a flamenco performance of Carmen that night instead.
The Carmen show was at a theater at the plaza near the Tirso Molina metro stop – the scene of last fall’s infamous Rafa debacle. The show was good, not great. A little slow at times, but not bad. It makes me really want to see the opera. Perhaps I’ll see it when Carmen comes to Chicago.
After the show, we headed to Cava Alta/Cava Baja streets for dinner and drinks. Unfortunately, it was another failed night out! We ended up sitting in a literally-hot-as-hell restaurant for dinner. The food was actually really good and the spot itself was charming, just unbearably hot. So we just ate our hot food as fast as possible and walked to the hotel.