Thursday, November 11, 2010

TIME OUT: Madrid, Spain Part 1 : Mercado De San Miguel

HT couple hopped on a plane last weekend to trace HT wife's roots.  (for those who are not aware, Philippines was a Spanish colony and its name is taken after King Philip II of Spain.  Though, with the invasion of the Americans much later, some of the influences that the Spaniards instilled to Filipinos had been altered or had been slowly diminishing).  This was what I thought before stepping into this wonderful city.

As soon as we stepped out of the airport, we're ready to know the city to its fullest.  Madrid's metro is quite extensive and lots of interchanges.  I can somehow compare it to Singapore's MRT ease of use and accessibility (cleanliness is another topic).  And for just 1 euro for every single trip (regardless of the distance), we, coming from the Netherlands can't complain more about that.  (ok there is a 1 euro surcharge going to/from the airport). 

The hostel (Hostal Oriente, to those who are interested, it's about 50 euro a night-> cheap) we stayed in was just less than 100 steps away from the Opera station.  The location was excellent and the room was pretty neat and new.  One of the hostel keepers is a Filipino, who's the only one who can speak English among the people there (This made me appreciate the Netherlands as everyone at least can understand Spain, no matter how hard you try, sometimes even sign languages doesn't help).  Being a Filipino, I was amazed on how much words we have are the same in Spanish (just different spelling), and this kinda helped me and HT hubbie to wander around without much needed help from the locals.

Since we have to transfer 3 metro lines going to the hotel from the airport, (about an hour trip), We ended up getting hungry during the times that the Spaniards are used to having pinchos or tapas (small portion) while gulping down glasses of sangria. 

Mercado De San Miguel was our first stop.  This architecture of glass is a market cum tapas place where you can get your food and eat it on the bar of the stalls or tables in the middle while standing no matter how high your pair of heeled shoes are (take it from the Spanish ladies).

name your choice, you'll get it here (olives, ham, home made pasta, 1 euro oysters and fresh seafood)

Our first stop: Olives
It was already 2 pm and we didn't grab anything since 4 am, so we were really famished.  We immediately grab a few pieces and 2 glasses of sangria in this olives stall (no long queue).  Those ham and pimiento (peppers) in between the olives were really great.  The others had octopus pieces which we kinda didn't like.  (1 euro a stick and 2 euros for a glass of Sangria) - not bad for starters.

a plate of seafood tostas.  Our favorites were the caviar, crabmeat and the smoked fish.  They do have octopus and mussels as well. ( a good deal of 1 euro a piece)

As a true Dutch, HT hubbie tried the croquettas in Spain (that black piece contains squid ink, i think).  It tasted weird.  But most pieces have seafood and meat fillings.  It was way too oily for us.

Who can resist this homemade potato chips?  I can't!!! (They eat chips a lot maybe I inherited this from them too :D)

These bocadillos (sandwiches) were the highlights of our food expedition in this market. With delicious chorizos and jamon iberico (smoked ham Iberico) as fillings, we both concluded Spain is really a food haven. (3 euros a piece - it's quite pricey for a small sandwich but worth to try).

While queueing for these tiny sandwiches, I was pushed by a Latina-looking lady and I turned around and look at her(she was standing at my back).  Little did I know that rudeness I got was a modus operandi which brought us to this next stop...

my wallet was gone...sniff

Yes I was a victim of pickpocketing despite my bag was in front of me.  If you're gonna visit this place, it's not enough that your bag is only at your sight but better hold on it (later we notice how the locals hold on to their bags tightly).  They're not violent but they're experts. 


  1. Oh dear, hope you didn't have too much belongings in that wallet. Be careful next time!

  2. Hi Daniel, Thanks for your concern. :) Good thing I was able to cancel my cards immediately before they can use it.

  3. sorry to hear about this, do take more care with your belongings next time!