The perfect day exploring Madrid on foot

This past year, I was fortunate to travel to Madrid several times for work.  At first, I was bummed, I am a beach person, so the coast of Barcelona is always something I enjoy.  Yet, after discovering Madrid by foot during some of the most beautiful months of the year, Madrid is a must visit on my list of places to visit in Europe.

Staying in Madrid, in June and October means that the temperatures are perfect for being out all day walking around.  And, that is exactly what I did – I walked everywhere!  I find it the best way to learn how to navigate a city and explore the unknown.  It is also great exercise and fun people watching.

Getting lost, on my own, is one of my favorite ways to uncover independently owned cafes, restaurants and shops.  Taking unplanned left and right turns only to end up at some of the most interesting places is all part of the fun.

As we are being asked to stay home and hold off from travel, many of us are living out our travel dreams via Pinterest or Instagram.  I wanted to share my top “stumbled upon” locales that should be included in your trip to Madrid.

Best Coffee Shop

Feliz Coffee is in the Barrio de Las Letras district of Madrid.  An eclectic area of the city made up of narrow streets that are paved with recognizable quotes from well-known Spanish writers.  The vibe of the area is a great mix of art, literature and bohemian flare while preserving Spanish history.  This specialty coffee shop became my go to cafe with both my trips.  The first visit, I discovered the shop by accident, my second visit, I was fortunate to have stayed only a few blocks from the coffee shop, so I made it a routine morning stop.  Come to find out, the shop is a husband and wife team – they took the love of coffee and passion of home décor and design and Feliz Coffee was born. 

Photo courtesy of Maggie/MAYTA Collection

My favorite drink order was the dirty chai.  The owner, Zeis, is there each day with a smile and let me that he only learned of drink order dirty chai because of American girls!  I thought that was kind of funny.  The café is small and quaint with a delicious Prana Chai Tea Blend from Australia.  Feliz Coffee also sells a small selection of handcrafted goods and Feliz branded merchandise.  I went home with some beautiful beeswax taper candles and this leather fly swatter, which I refuse to swat flies with but have it as a momento.

Photo courtesy of the Feliz Coffee Website

You can browse Feliz Coffee here and be sure to stop by in your next visit, you will feel welcome and at home in a short time.

A Must Visit Flower Shop

Here’s the thing about discovering unique places in different neighborhoods in cities across the world, you turn the corner and with any luck you find another beautiful shop.  The first time I walked past the Ad Hoc Flores, the quaint shop was closed.  Peering through the shop window, I knew I would have to come back.  Ad Hoc is a blend of young fashion designers, jewelry and fresh floral blooms. 

Photo courtesy of Maggie/MAYTA Collection

As I walked through the door, to my right was a large over-sized rustic wooden table that displayed vintage scissors, fresh peonies, orchids, greenery and other lush florals arranged artistically in vases of all shapes and sizes.   

Photo courtesy of the Ad Hoc Flores Website

The shop has such a whimsical feeling, l would gladly buy everything and put it in my luggage, but flowers are delicate, so instead I walked around this magical shop and admired the creativity of the florist and fashion seamlessly blended to perfection. 

El Menu del dia

I know what you might be thinking, why would I eat Italian food in Madrid.  But……it was lunch time; I was walking the streets solo and didn’t have a lot of time on my hands.  I stumbled upon Come Prima, in the Chueca neighborhood and saw they offered “el menu del dia”, which is something I always take advantage of when in Europe.  When I walked in, there was an instant sense of authentic Italian, green checkered tablecloths and an intimate and cozy dining space.  The restaurant is small enough that when you walk through the doors, alone, everyone stops what they are doing and looks at you.  But, as a solo traveler, you soon get used to that and quickly get over the slight awkwardness.

One of my top travel tips is to take advantage of any restaurant offering the menu of the day, usually because it is simple, easy to order in a second language and the price vs proportion is typically generous.  I had the most delicious Burrata I have ever tasted in my entire life along with a risotto cooked to perfection.  The menu also included a glass of red wine, which I gladly accepted and enjoyed. 

The charming restaurant does not have a website, but the address is Calle Echegaray, 27.  There is an awning on the outside of the restaurant that says Come Prima and the menu of the day is on display outside.

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