Day 3 included a city tour of Madrid, an optional tour to El Escorial, and our dinner out at Maitia. Here is our local guide.
We tour around town for a while and stop at the Plaze de Espana and the monument to Cervantes, creator of Don Quixote and many other tales.
Here's our local Don Quixote de Aliso Viejo.
On we go to the Royal Palace...
...and the hall across the courtyard from it.
The weather threatens a bit, but it stays mainly sunny and cool, not cold. This is a shot from the courtyard of a beautiful mosaic dome of a church (not a mosque) a couple of blocks away.
Kimberly with her local lion...
...and some very interesting brass work on the mane and tail of the horse, and the "cloth" of the cape.
On to the Prado. Here is our tour director Felipe from Portugal. Sorry, no pictures in the Prado.
Having seen a lot of the city walking around yesterday, we decide to take the optional trip out to El Escorial, a monastery-residence-palace built by Philip II.
The full name is San Lorenzo de el Escorial. It is about 45 minutes north of Madrid.
El Escorial is considered the historical residence of the King of Spain.
One of the advantages of coming in the off-season is that there are no crowds.
Our local guide at the main entrance.
The central courtyard.
The day before, we Yelped around for a restaurant, and came upon this little gem called Maitia. We were able to get in on Wednesday night.
It's a charming little place of only about twelve tables. The owner/chef comes out and tells us what she has prepared today, and we each get to choose our first and second courses and our dessert.
A little amuse bouche to start: a delicious local aromatic cheese in a crisp puff pastry.
Kimberly ordered the mushroom ravioli in lemon cream sauce for a first course...
...while I ordered a fish course of bonito over Spanish red peppers. Of course, it doesn't matter who orders what; we both eat everything.
We had selected the restaurant because the Yelpers all agreed that this place had the best duck confit EVER, and they were right. It looks a little messy here, because the chef comes out and "prepares" it at your table, cutting it up and mixing it around. It is not as crispy as you might expect, but the flavor was amazing. She said the sauce contained 35 different ingredients.
It was served with this little onion tart to help you not get too cloyed on the duck.
For dessert, a delightful apple tart with some creme fraiche and ice cream, ...
...and coffee in this darling hand-painted china.
Here's us with the owner/chef. She is just cute as a button.