Escaping the heat with a sweet treat

It’s July and it’s hot in Madrid.  Let’s face it, nothing sounds better during the summer months than a nice icy cold treat.  Since moving to Madrid, I’ve had one (or more!) almost every day.  Here are a few of my picks for beating the heat:

  • Acquolina:  Located in the Plaza del Dos de Mayo in Malasaña, this small shop serves ice cream, granizados (fruity iced beverages) and coffees.  Free wifi is an added bonus (just ask at the counter for the password) plus you can take your ice cream out and about for a stroll around the plaza.
  • — Plaza del Dos de Mayo (c/ Velarde, 15), Malasaña (tel: 91 523 3036) / Metro: Tribunal or San Bernardo
  • Labonata:  The super-creamy ice cream at this Chueca shop is perfect for a hot day in the Madrid sun.  Get it to go or sit down and watch the world go by from their tables within the plaza.  In addition to ice cream they have smoothies, batidos (similar to a smoothie, but with a milk base) and granizados.
  • — Plaza de Chueca 8, Chueca (tel: 91 523 7029) / Metro: Chueca
  • Horchateria Alboraya:  Horchateria Alboraya was recommended by my classmate’s host family.  Not only do they serve ice creams, batidos and granizados, but they specialize in horchatas which are creamy, nutty beverages made with chufas (tigernuts).
  • — Calle Alcalá, 125 (tel: 91 576 58 17) / Metro: Príncipe de Vergara
  • Capriccio Divino:  Just over two weeks old, this gelateria on Calle de Hortaleza serves traditional Italian gelato.  The staff are happy to offer you a sample or two of their flavours!  Located in between Chueca and Malasana, it’s a great stop when strolling through the nearby boutiques and zapaterias!
  • — Calle de Hortaleza / Metro: Chueca or Tribunal

Another option is the dessert station on the second floor of Mercado San Anton.  It’s a good option if you want a snack or drink before your dessert!  Check out more info on the Mercado from Jamie’s earlier post.

Whatever spot you choose, all these treats are a great way to cool off, relax and make the most of the sunny Madrid weather!


Acquolina: Plaza del Dos de Mayo (c/ Velarde, 15), Malasaña (tel: 91 523 3036) / Metro: Tribunal or San Bernardo

Labonata: Plaza de Chueca 8, Chueca (tel: 91 523 7029) / Metro: Chueca

Horchateria Alboraya: Calle Alcalá, 125 (tel: 91 576 58 17) / Metro: Príncipe de Vergara

Capriccio Divino: Calle Hortaleza / Metro: Chueca or Tribunal

Introducing a new guiri: Erin Ridley

Almost five years ago, in a Madrid bar, I made small talk with some tall Spanish guy for 15 minutes. Only in town (country?) for three days, I thought nothing of it – I didn’t even remember the conversation the next morning. A couple of days later, however, I was reminded of the encounter when I received an email from a fellow named Jacobo. Apparently I’d given the stranger my email address – not usually my style, so I’m going to blame it on the sangría and chupitos.

Many, many emails and three months later, I returned to Spain from San Francisco to scope out the Spaniard. Potentially a very foolish move on my part, but I took my chances. And I suppose it went well because I made EIGHT trips to Spain that year and several more to meet up in the US. A year and half later, I finally made the big move to Madrid.

I’ve lived in the Spanish capital for over three years now. At first I dedicated myself solely to my previous career (marketing for tech companies) learning quickly that there was no shortage of interest in Americans from Silicon Valley who’ve worked for big tech companies. Soon enough, however, I discovered my real passion was for travel and writing. So while I continue to keep one foot in the tech world, I relish in developing my own site (La Tortuga Viajera), as well as focusing on travel writing.

A year ago, Jacobo and I got married (translation: finally ended the residency/visa debacle that made our lives H.E. double hockey sticks for two years). We said our “I do’s” and “sí’s” in a 700-year-old monastery in Guadalajara, celebrating with some 120 Spaniards and 40 Americans.

I also can now happily say that Madrid very much feels like home. For the first year or so I missed the US terribly, grumbling at every turn over Spanish inefficiencies – the gym is closed on a random, unimportant holiday? My birth certificate isn’t valid if it wasn’t issued within the last six months?? The bank isn’t even open on Saturdays????? But now, my heart hurts whenever I leave the Iberian Peninsula – I’m literally incapable of surviving without a daily dose of manchego cheese or weekly intake of tortilla española and croquetas (troubling, I know). Now if only my Spanish husband wanted to stay in Spain – he wants to move to San Francisco. Fíjate.

Introducing a new Guiri, Janine Murphy

I came to Madrid for the first time on a typical post-graduation Eurail trip.  I spent a few days in the city, seeing the sights and sipping sangria with my travelling companion and various new friends from our hostel.  One of my most memorable experiences was attending a drag show where the performers were dressed up like Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinsky!  My friend and I were the only American residents in the audience and the performers were concerned we would be offended, but we had a great laugh along with all the madrileños.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Madrid; however, I honestly never dreamt that I would move to the city one day.

A “few” years later, I had made my way to New York city where I was working as a Management Consultant and settled into an apartment in the Chelsea neighborhood with my partner Will and our beagle Ella.  When Will was accepted to the IE Business School in Madrid, we decided to pack our bags and make the jump across the pond.  Will had never been to Spain before and I didn’t speak a lick of Spanish … it’s a good think we’re adventurous!  Luckily, I have a lot of experience moving to new places and am an avid traveler.  This combined with Will’s Spanish skills and a lot of help and advice from friends, The Guiri Guide, and my alumni club allowed us to quickly narrow down neighborhoods for our house hunt and have a bit of head start before we arrived in the city.

We are now all three (yes, Ella came along!) settled into our apartment in the Malasaña barrio.  I am enrolled in intensive Spanish classes and am very pleased at how much I have already learned in class and picked up around-and-about in Madrid.  I enjoy walking around the city – seeing the sights again, but also exploring all the fabulous boutiques, small but delicious cafes, and sitting out on the plazas drinking a tinto de verano with new friends.

There is so much to see and do in Madrid and I look forward to sharing what I learn in the next year with all of you.

El Mercado de San Anton

Since moving to Madrid, I have come to appreciate more than ever before the mercado culture. There is something about getting your fish fresh from the pescaderia, your meat directly from the butcher, and so on and so forth that makes everything taste better than when you buy it in the supermarket.  That is why when El Mercado de San Antón in Chueca opened its doors in May, I was one of the first guiris in line.

El Mercado de San Antón combines the charm and gourmet delight of the Mercado de San Miguel with the functionality of Mercado de la Paz.  The bottom floor is home to Opencor, a traditional supermarket in the Corte Ingles family. The next flight up is the actual mercado, which hosts various stalls where you can buy high quality basics such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, bread, wine and hamburgers.

The second floor is where you can find the prepared food kiosks. The variety is impressive and hosts stations dedicated to the tapas of Greece, Japan, Italy and of course Spain. There are several areas to enjoy a wine, cider, beer or tinto de verano with your appetizers as well.

The distinguishing feature of the Mercado is undoubtedly the rooftop restaurant, La Cocina de San Antón. It is a large restaurant with an indoor section, a patio, and a cocktail bar. Although I have not yet had the pleasure of dining there, my trusted colleague tells me that it is truly exquisito

El Mercado de San Antón has something for everyone, whether you are looking for a place to take out of town guests, need to stock the fridge with some fresh food, or fancy a drink or a meal out.

El Mercado de San Antón

Calle de Augusto Figueroa, 24

El Museo Sorolla: more than just an art museum

Art museums – If you’ve lived in Madrid for more than three days, then you’ve probably visited a few. But have you been to El Museo Sorolla?

Awhile back, Courtney eased our museum fatigue by introducing us to some of the lesser-known museums in the Spanish capital. And today, I’d like to revisit one of those semi-secret spots.

The Sorolla Museum isn’t just any small museo filled with art. Instead, it’s a proper home hidden inconspicuously behind a wall on the always-bustling General Martínez Campos. Within its walls you’ll not only find Sorolla’s masterpieces, but an urban getaway replete with lush foliage and trickling fountains. For a moment, you might just think you’re in Andalucía.

Born in Valencia in 1863, the Impressionist artist is most famous for his depiction of The Vision of Spain. This series of paintings, commissioned by the Hispanic Society of America, features fourteen large panels depicting Spain’s regions. Now, his art displays around the world, but also occupies his old family home here in Madrid.

In 1925, Sorolla’s widow donated this house (built in 1910-11), along with all of their belongings, to the Spanish State in honor of her husband’s memory. Passing through the salons, hallways and gardens, it actually feels like a home (well, not my home, but some ideal version of it). Chandeliers, furniture, books – it makes the Prado feel like a sterile hospital.

Both art lovers and loathers will likely find something to appreciate about Museo Sorolla – whether it be the opportunity to admire a prominent Spanish artist, to check out unattainable Madrid real estate, or just to transport yourself, even for a minute, outside of the city. And hey, if none of that pleases you, the collection can be seen so quickly that the moment you realize that it’s not your thing, you’ll be done!

I was happy to find out today that the museum is often open on random Spanish holidays (speaking of which, happy Corpus Christi?) and that no admission is required to enter the gardens. That said, if you’re feeling a tad too lazy to make it over to the museum in the Madrid heat, you can instead take a virtual tour of the garden (which probably feels a lot cooler from the comfort of your own home). Turn on your computer sound, grab a tinto de verano, and you’ll be set.