How About Lunch at the Home of the Galácticos?

Real Cafe Bernabeu
Last year my son and I went for lunch with a very good friend of mine to the Real Café Bernabéu. It was actually the day that Real Madrid played Manchester United at home and, luckily, we managed to get a table. If you like your football, then you’ll love this place – the chance to have lunch overlooking the Real Madrid football ground. The café is situated behind the goals of the great ground and all of the tables offer good views out over the stadium. If you’re lucky enough, you can even bag a window seat. The food good and the price is reasonable (given the location). For 19.90 Euros you can enjoy elect your plate of choice from the starter, main and dessert and each day they change the menu selection (I suppose this is standard for most menús del día). The kids menu is 11 Euros. If you are in the area, you may want to consider doing a tour of the stadium before heading off for lunch.

Here’s a copy of their latest menu (March 2014). You’ll notice that the menú del día is in the top left but you can select a variety of starters, main and desserts.

Getting There

Bus: 14, 27, 40, 43, 120, 126, 147 y 150
Metro: Santiago Bernabéu. L10

Google Map

Christmas in Madrid 2007

Navidad_2007This looks like it’s going to be a bumper, fun-packed Christmas in Madrid. I have just taken a look at the Christmas agenda from the Madrid City Council tourist section and it looks like 2007 will be even better than 2006. I find that the build up to Christmas in Spain is much better than places like the UK, where trees, lights and other paraphernalia start appearing in November – Marks and Spencer and the like even start selling bloody Christmas puddings in October!

Even though the Christmas lights went on a week ago, many of the other activities are staggered over the Christmas period. Like last year the Plaza de Colón will be turned into a fairytale island. Nativity scenes will be found all over the city – often in churches, history museum – and the new headquarters of the Madrid City Council (in the Palacio de Cibeles) will hold the principal nativity scene, created by José Luis Mayo. If you have never seen these before, the ones in Madrid are often sights to behold.

The Plaza Mayor has the traditional Christmas stalls where you can buy trees, nativity figures and a number of annoying products – like spray snow and fluorescent lights – that kids love.

If you want to go ice skating, you can either go to Azca (Metro Nuevos Ministerios) or the Campo de Moro (Metro Príncipe Pío or Opera). I went to Azca last year with my wife and children and there was both an ice rink and mini toboggan run – both father and son loved it!

The Plaza de España will feature a craft fair from the 20th December to the th January, where around 200 stalls will be displaying mainly gifts from Madrid.

Nore information can be found on the esMadrid website.

Madrid’s Open Air Pools Are, Well, Open!

This post comes a little late (3 weeks to be exact) but I suppose better late than never. It is a little known fact, to foreigners of course!, that Madrid has a number of municipal, open-air, swimming pools which open their doors to the public from around June to September. The entrance fee is cheap, around 4 Euros for the day, and all have facilities like restaurants and bars. Though you will find them dotted around the city and region, the nearest ones to the centre can be found in the Casa de Campo (one stop from Plaza de Espana), Rios Rosas and near ‘Cuatro Caminos’. My favourite has to be the third one.


Piscina Municipal Casa de Campo

Tel: 91463.00.50

Avda. del Ángel, s/n. Madrid
Metro: Casa de Campo


Piscina Municipal Francos Rodríguez

Tel: 91 459.98.71

Calle de Numancia, 1. Madrid

Instalaciones Deportivas Canal de Isabel II
Avda. Islas Filipinas, 54
Metro: Ríos Rosas
Tel: 91 554 51 53

Shooters – American Pool Hall in the Centre of Madrid

I´m not one to talk about places which have little relevance to Spain but just thought I´d let people know about a neat, pool hall on the Gran Vía (and because I love playing pool!). Shooters features 9 "American pool" tables in a large hall – it also has an Irish bar where you can find a wide range of imported beers and a dart board. You could easily be mistaken for thinking you were on the Costa del Sol (perish the thought), instead of downtown Madrid!! It is located on Gran Vía 31 (Metro Gran Vía or Callao) – just underneath the cafeteria Zahara.

December Suggestions from Metrópoli

15o Planes

Metrópoli has a really good guide to what you can do in Madrid this December – it is in Spanish, though. They have come up with 150 suggestions for what you can do in the coming weeks – eat, drink, be merry and much more. Interestingly, they have broken them down into 15 categories – based on different types of personality. These range from the sportsman (woman), the art lover, the over 65’s, under 18’s, the shopaholics, singles, and a good few more. There are some really cool suggestions here – there is even a category for those who think they’re cool!!

Watch Spain-France in the Puerta del Sol

If you’re into football, or just want to soak up some Spanish party atmosphere, you should head off to the Puerta del Sol on Tuesday, 27th June. Here, in front of the Casa de Correos, the City Council has erected a giant screen, measuring 10.4 by 6.8 metres, where they will televise the Spain – France World Cup qualifying game at 9 p.m. Let’s hope the "selection" do well and get into the quarter finals (except if you’re French, that is!).

Alternatively, you could make your way to the Plaza de Colón, where games have been televised since he start of the Word Cup.

Advice: If you do go, make sure to watch out for pickpockets who are bound to be operating in the area – they often work in groups of 3.

Getting Around Madrid By Bike

I was reading an article on 20 Minutos earlier today called (in English) “the rebellion of the bikes“, which was discussing not just the fact that Madrid is a “hostile environment for bikes” but that there there is a growing increase in the number of people who are starting to use bikes to get around the city. I have also seen a growing trend in foregin tourists travelling around Madrid’s historic sites on bike.

Madrid doesn’t have too many hills but it does, in its favour, have a number of parks – such as the Retiro, Casa de Campo, the grounds around the Royal Palace and the Parque del Oriente. It also has an increasing number of pedestrian areas – indeed in some parts of old Madrid you will hardly see any cars.

One company which is helping to get more people on to the streets is By Bike, a bike rental company located near the Retiro Park. Their location makes it ideal to get around Madrid’s large, central park and they can even offer recommendations for other locations in Madrid – such as the Green Belt, which has a dedicated cycle path and takes you out as far as the Royal Palace of El Pardo.

Prices for bike hire start at 4 Euros an hour, with one day costing 22 Euros. If you’re interested, there is also a bike demonstration by nudists starting at 12 p.m. from the Cibeles Fountain!

Related Information
Bike Tours of Madrid From Bike Spain
Segway Tours of Madrid

Madrid’s Municipal Swimming Pools Open this Weekend

As a Brit I find there is something quite pleasing about sitting around an open air swimming pool in the summer without a cloud in the sky. In Madrid you are practically guaranteed 3 months of perfect weather for going to the pool. Many Spaniards will shortly begin their summer timetable and will be able to enjoy the hot afteroons next to the pool.

Within the next 2 weeks practically all of Madrid 75 municipal pools (yes, 75!!) will open their doors. According to the newspaper 20 Minutos, 5 will open this weekend: Centro de Natación M-86, el Estadio Vallehermoso, el Canal de Isabel II, San Vicente de Paúl and el Parque Deportivo Puerta de Hierro.

Madrid’s municipal facilities are very good and, from a British standpoint at least, very cheap. Prices for entry this year are 4.05 Euros with discounts of 20% and 40% for youngsters and children, respectively. If I’m correct you can even get a summer pass which brings the price down to much less. What’s more you’ll be able to enjoy a cool beer and decent food at practically all of them.

For a good list of municipal pools check out this article – Open Air Swimming Pools in Madrid – that I wrote on this site or  go to La Netro.com.

Madrid Marathon 2006

Just a quick note to let people know that this Sunday (April 30th, 2006) the Madrid Marathon will wind its way through the central streets and suburbs of the city. It starts at the Paseo de Recoletos at 9.30 a.m. and will finish in the Retiro Park. A map of the course can be found on the Madrid Marathon website. For a bit of fun you will also find the translations on the English version of the site worth reading:

The edition of this year of our race has like main newness the presentation of a new better course agreed with the competitive character of a great athletic appointment.

Our website also want to join in this new stage and, for it, we make available, a site with an innovating design and without leave the great variety of contents and an easy navigation.

Priceless!

Expo Ocio 2006 Opens at Parque Juan Carlos I

Expoocio
Billed as the largest lesiure (free time) fair in Europe, Expo Ocio opens its doors on the 11th March, 2006 and runs through  till the 20th  March. Tourism, beauty (!!) , technology for the home,  camping and caravanning, sports and activities (including high risk ones) and virtual entertainment can all be found at this event. Aside from the seminars and 600 exhibitors, there will also be dancers from Japan and mariachis from Mexico, children’s games, puppet shows, paintball, a body painting competition and demonstartions of tai-chi.

Timetable
11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Price
7 Euros – Adults; 3.5 Euros – children and pensioners
Metro
Campo de Naciones

Watching the 6 Nations in Madrid

Irb6nations
Saturday sees the start of the 6 Nations Rugby Championship and Madrid’s bars offer a great chance to watch the games, meet up with rugby supporters of all the teams taking part and, of course, to have a few beers (or Guinnesses)! The first weekend sees Ireland v Italy (2.30 p.m. Madrid time) and England v Wales (4.30 p.m.) on Saturday with Scotland v France on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Instead of pointing you to a previous post that I wrote (for the 6 nations last year and the World Cup!), I have decided to cut and paste some of the places where you will no doubt find the games going on:

Finnegan’s
– Plaza de Salesas 9 – Metro: Alonso Martínez – Tel: 91 319 8716Katherinejenkins

Finbars – c/ Marqués de Urquijo 10 – Metro: Argüelles/Moncloa – Tel: 91 548 3793
Irish Rover – Avda de Brasil 7 – Metro: Santiago Bernabéu – Tel: 91 597 4811
Kitty O’Sheas – c/ Alcalá 59 – Metro: Banco de España – Tel: 91 575 4901
La Fontana de Oro – c/de la Victoria 2 – Metro: Sol – Tel: 91 531 0420
Molly Malone’s c/Manuela Malasaña 11 – Metro: Bilbao – Tel: 91 594 16 35
Moore’s – c/Barcelo 1 – Metro: Tribunal – Tel: 91 532 6331
Moore’s – c/Felipe – Metro: Sol – Tel: 91 365 5802
O’Connors c/Alamagro 3 – Metro: Alonso Martínez – Tel: 91 310 44 35
O’Neill’s – c/ Príncipe 12 – Metro: Sevilla – Tel: 91 521 2030 (Apparently, the biggest Irish pub in Europe!)
The Quiet Man – c/ Valverde 44 – Metro: Tribunal – Tel: 91 521 4181
Triskel c/San Vicente Ferrer, 3 – Metro: Tribunal – Tel: 91 523 27 83

I would suggest you phone beforehand just to ouble check that the games are being televised. My personal favourites has to be Finnegan’s.

A list of 6 Nations Fixtures can be found on the IRB site. No prizes for guessing which team I’ll be supporting!

Spanish Football League Fixtures 2005-2006

I have just seen that quite a few people are searching for the Spanish Football League Fixtures for the 2005-2006 season. Well, here is a list of every game that will be played over the next 10 months or so (courtesy of El Mundo):

2005 – 2006 Fixtures August – December
2005 – 2006 Fxtures January – May

Important Games:
16th October, 2005 sees a local derby between Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid at Vicente
Calderón Stadium
20th November, 2005 sees the biggest game of the season when Real Madrid take on Barcelona at the Bernabeu Stadium
5th March, 2006 – Real Madrid play the local derby against Atlético Madrid at home in the Bernabeu.


Related Articles

Atlético de Madrid – Madrid’s ‘other’ football team
Tour of Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium

Madrid 2012 – The City’s Olympics Bid

Madrid_2012On the 6th July, 2005 Madrid will know if it has been successful in its bid to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to the City. The final candidates are Madrid, London, Paris, Moscow and New York. The city has never hosted the Olympic Games but was shortlisted for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.

The Queen of  Spain, Sofia, will be heading a delegation which includes the President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the President for the Community
of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre and the mayor of Madrid, Alberto
Ruiz-Gallardón. Sporting celebrities, include  Real Madrid soccer star Raul Gonzalez, five-time Tour de France champion Miguel Indurain and former tennis star Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune:

Madrid maintains its strongest point is
the closeness of the venues to the athletes’ village and the low cost
of its project.

Given the IOC’s wish to reduce costs, Madrid’s
bid could seem desirable with an Olympic operating budget of $2.1
billion and separate infrastructure budget of $1.6 billion.

Twenty-two
of the 35 planned venues already have been built, while two are being
refurbished, five are under construction and six are awaiting a final
go-ahead.

The Mayor of Madrid says:

"We have 83 percent of the venues already built or in the pipeline
and seven years to do the rest — no other city comes near that."

The article also identifies the following points in the city’ favour:

  • Madrid has hosted nearly 90 sports events in the past four years,
    including the European swimming championships and European indoor track
    championships. The city is also home to one of the world’s most famous
    soccer clubs, Real Madrid, whose Santiago Bernabeu stadium downtown
    would be a 2012 venue.
  • In terms of popular and political
    support, the evaluation committee report recognized that Madrid’s bid
    was backed by all Spanish parties and regions and by more than 80
    percent of Spaniards.
  • Central to Madrid’s bid is the plan for
    the main Olympic stadium and other venues to be a short walking
    distance from the athletes’ village and about 10 minutes away from both
    the airport and downtown.
  • Madrid also boasts that spectators
    would be able to travel to 25 venues by public transportation. The
    city’s cheap and modern underground metro would serve more than 80
    percent of the sites.

Having been to London recently I would say in terms of transportation and infrastructure, Madrid wins hands down.

Madrid 2012 Olympic Candidature Site

Related Articles
Olympics 2012 (BBC)
Madrid 2012 (Olympic Blog)
GamesBids.com
Madrid confident of upsetting big guns in Singapore (Reuters)

Read more