So, as promised we are back. The traveling astro-mum and her tribe ( i.e. astro-baby and astro-sweetheart) will be criss-crossing Spain for both business and leisure and, as promised, we will keep you up to date with what is happening.
I was telling you in our previous article ( The traveling astro-mum lands in Madrid) that we would come back to you with a full article on Madrid. Or at least, on how we experienced it.
I wish to start by a disclaimer:
DIWINATURA is not the regular travel blog where you get tips on how to find the best hotel, how to book your plane tickets and with what company, which restaurants to go to and which not. DIWINATURA is a different kind of blog: it focuses a lot on what makes us human, i.e the subjective experience of anything and everything.
So, we will tell you how we experienced Madrid and what we think you might like too.
First of all, we did not come here as tourists, we came to Madrid and Spain for business and business is the name of the game. Hence, we did not check into a hotel, but rather we booked an apartment and rented a car and decided to do like the locals do in most respects.
Having experienced so many times the frustration of going to different places as tourists and having thereby followed all the tips and instructions that travel guides tell you about, we decided that we want to try and make the most of being in the Spanish capital so that, at the end of the day we can say whether we like one place or not based on genuine experience.
So, no. We did not wake up early in the morning to queue for entry tickets to the PRADO MUSEUM, nor did we visit the Royal Palace or the Almudena Cathedral. And we didn’t walk around the PLAZA MAYOR taking snapshots of us on the background of the spectacular buildings and majestic colonnade.
I am not saying that those who do so are wrong, nor am I saying that we wouldn’t one day like to do that. It’s just that when you are a breastfeeding ( too much information, I know) (astro)mummy who also has to work and take care of the baby while managing the details of our Spanish journey and feeding articles to the family blog, your timetable is nothing like what the one travel guides ( and blogs) are made for.
CASA DE PAPEL
Do you want to know what the coolest thing we did in Madrid was? Here it is: We spent a whole morning driving and parking and walking around our fancy neighborhood and Madrid looking for what Netlix fans know as CASA DE PAPEL. Or the LA CASA REAL DE MONEDA Y TIMBRE. When astro-sweetheart and yours truly were watching the aforesaid Netlflix series, we pinky promised we would come and visit the place when we are in Madrid. And look for it we did. You can say that, alright.
First we did what everybody does: we asked our friend Google and what we got was the address of the ROYAL SPANISH MINT SHOP (CASA REAL DE MONEDA Y TIMBRE). We drove our car to the said address, found a parking spot and reluctantly walked up the stairs leading to the building. Why reluctantly? Cause it looked nothing like what the series had featured. We walked into the building which also hosts some kind of Museum and tried to figure out if that is the place we came to visit. And as we were scrutinizing the entrance hall with nobody to ask, in walks a sturdy security agent, looks at us and in a very friendly voice asks us if he can be of help. This was the cue for astro-mum to ask in some kind of Spanish if this is the place where the shooting took place. Well, his face spoke volumes, he did not look baffled at all, he gave me the « I knew you guys had come here cause you watched the series » kind of look and then said « It is not here » And gave us the right address. And we can now give it to you: if you (like us) binge watched the Spanish series MONEY HEIST (CASA DE PAPEL) and unless you are probably from Madrid yourself and know the city quite well, you clearly imagined that the whole plot was unfolding inside the very ROYAL MINT SHOP. Except the CASA REAL (Spanish for Royal House) you saw in the move is not the….REAL ( read English) building, which if you want to visit you can find at the following dress: Calle Jorge Juan 106.Now if you want to go and see where the whole drama happened, you will want to drive or walk to Calle Serrano 117, in the very posh area of Madrid where many of the important embassies are located. Just don’t expect to walk up the majestic stairs leading to the main entrance taking selfies of yourself and the building so you can later boast about it to your friends.
When you get to Calle Serrano 117 you will come up against a regular institutional building hosting some kind of Investigation and Research Centre and in this building’s courtyard you will see in the distance and through the bars of the security fence the impressive edifice that was featured in every single episode of the breathtaking series.
HALA MADRID Y MUCHO MAS
As I have already told you ( and if I haven’t I am telling you) I am a massive sports fan. And who says sports fan, says football fan. Now everyone knows Madrid. Real Madrid. Well, speaking of Real Madrid, can you imagine football fanatic Astro-mum living in Guindalera, directly neighboring on Chamartin (the neighborhood that is host to legendary Real Madrid ) and not going to see any of the games? It was probably not a good time anyway, considering that they had just lost 0-3 to Seville and the atmosphere was not the best. Though I would imagine that their Hala Madrid sounds just as fabulous no matter their team’s ranking. However, this time around, Astro-mum’s schedule was so busy that she made the executive decision not to hit the stands of the magnificent Santiago Bernabeu arena, located a couple of blocks away from where we rented our apartment. What did Astro-mum decide to do instead? Well… take care of astro-baby to begin with. And also go and attend classes and conferences at the Complutense University in Madrid. And what an amazing and gratifying experience did that prove to be! I would start with the very flattering fact that when you are in your late thirties and show up for classes with people who are barely in their late teens to early twenties and when the professors address you as « señorita » as they imagine you are one of the students, your ego is bound to go through the roof. Mine, did. But joking aside, I basked in the privilege of practicing and thereby improving my Spanish by listening to classes and debates on a variety of topics, all of which are of interest to me. And even had the opportunity to interact with and get an autograph from one of Spain’s most prominent figures of public life, i.e Balthazar Garzon.
As I am typing these lines, astro-sweetheart is driving astro-mum, astro-baby and astro-granny from Madrid to Alicante, where our next stop will be. Alicante heralds a busy schedule for the Astro-tribe, with lots of surprises in stock for you. Sit back, read and enjoy our articles. And download your VLC and start following us on video as well. And in French. Coming soon. New project.
Wink 😉 .