Drinking In The Charms Of Madrid


We nearly made it to our hotel without being waylaid by a bar but shortly after arriving at the Barrio de la Concepcion Metro station we found ourselves up to our elbows in beer and tapas.The Ryanair flight was bang on time and had us in Madrid by 1pm, as the first of 500 CD Tenerife fans dispersed around Madrid, seven of us from the Armada Sur headed for our Travelodge Hotel at Torrelaguna. The area seemed a litle rough and ready but the busy Bar Ruval was too good to pass and every time we bought a round, a couple of plates of yummy tapas arrived as a freebie. Luckily the 3pm check in time coincided with the bar shutting for the afternoon, otherwise we may have stayed their all day.

After some aimless wandering we eventually found our hotel, checked in, ordered some beers in recpeption and regrouped ready to hit the town. Concepcion is the surname of the CD Tenerife president so maybe the station name would prove a lucky omen? There was further encouragement when The Great Escape came on the TV at Bar Ruval, and with the weather hot and sunny we were in good spirits. Our Metro bono tickets covered us for the bus so we took a quick 20 minute jaunt into the Sol area at the heart of Madrid. As on the last football visit, we made a large Irish bar just off the main plaza our base as it has loads of TV screens and showed the English and Spanish football.

The buckets of Coronita packed in ice kept coming and we kept disposing of them, we popped out later in the evening for food at the usual kebab restaurant and just caught the tail end of a big anti fascist demo in the Puerta del Sol plaza. We had seen snatches of it on the TV, the police were out in force and it all got a bit lively, but when I got there most of the mob had gone just leaving a few odd creatures posing for tourist photos. The General went off to see English indie band Ghostcat across the city and a few of our party went home early a bit worse for wear. Midnight slipped by and we went for a wander up to Gran Via where young ladies in short skirts and high heels were offering special extras outside MacDonalds, we admired their buns but resisted their advances. If The General had been with us he could have impressed the girls with his clear plastic bag of suspicious looking white gel which he had shown us on a crowded metro train, much to our amusement. One of the big centre bars we found ripped us off charging 6 euros a pint but most places were great value, especially the salsa bar where Tolf, one of our larger members, showed off his nimble footwork. The city was vibrant and getting busier, we eventually poured ourselves into taxis getting “home” just after 3am.

Sunday morning arrived with hangovers, and with no breakfast included in our bargain 45 euros each for 2 nights, we toured the local area and found a nice bar cafe before a group of us headed to La Latina, a busy market area just outside the city centre. My first birthday beer went down well as we set off on a slow crawl into Sol. The route was bursting with history, impressive buildings and interesting bars, again with tempting tapas. The tight winding streets brought us into Plaza Mayor where a friendly waitress PR enticed us to grab a sun kissed table for more drinks, once she realised we were from Tenerife she teased us by asking if we wanted Tropical or Dorada.  The plaza was alive with characters, Tolf tried on a German helmet that some bloke was packing away and Mickey Mouse strolled around in a costume that must have felt like a mobile sauna. Among the entertainers were a couple of Charlie Chaplains, a headless man, and just outside we even found Jesus and got him to bless my Tenerife scarf, we need all the help we can get.

The Irish pub was again the focal point as we prepared for the 7pm match at Atletico Madrid, we picked up a few old time fans from Kent, a couple of geezers who looked like they had just come from a 80’s rave, and gradually we went off to get taxis to the game, more on that in the next post.