Woke up in early morning around 7.30am (still not adjusted fully to the time zone yet) only to realise that the cafés around our hotel don’t start their business that early…Most of them only opens at 8.30 or 9am. We were left with not much choice except to have breakfast at the hotel.
Set off to visit our first place of interest – Palacio de Cristal, in Buen Retiro Park. Thankfully we had a full breakfast as it was quite a long walk to get to the glass structure which was in the centre of the large park.
By the time we finished our first sight and spending a large part of our time trying to get out of the park, it was close to noon. We made our way to Madrid’s city centre and stopped by La Mallorquina for a short rest.
Initial plan was to try and experience the local way of having the snacks and drinks while standing at the counters on first level of the historic cafe. However I was overwhelmed by the crowd from the moment I entered the shop. Every corner and space in the shop was occupied and we can’t fathom how the system works. There are a few stations each manned by a staff but all seems to display only a small selection of pastries. The staff also seems to be in-charge of preparing the drinks for customers in their “area”. . .With our backpacks in tow, we found it hard to squeeze through the crowd less to say find a standing spot to eat… We decided to head to the serviced seating area in the 2nd floor to take a look.
The serviced seating area is less crowded and certainly offers better experience if you want to enjoy your coffee and pastries in a leisurely manner. Upon seated the staff brought us an English menu and took our orders. We ordered Napolitana con chocolate (flat flaky pastry filled with chocolate) and truffles. I also learnt a new term called “cafe con leche” – used for ordering my drink. When we first arrived in Portugal/Spain region, we naturally ordered coffee and have learnt through experience that coffee = espresso here…not coffee with milk…
At first glance, the Napolitana con chocolate doesn’t look appealing. However after taking the first bite, I can understand why people are charmed by it. The secret probably lies in the chocolate. The chocolate tasted rich unlike the ones in Singapore that’s overly enriched with milk. I also read that the Torrijas at La Mallorquina is quite traditional, we didn’t get to try it as the pastries here all seems to be in such huge portion…In addition, I personally felt that the overall sweetness level of pastries in Portugal/Spain region is much higher than what I’m used to eating in Singapore.
After this rest stop, we managed to visit a few more sights in the city under the influence of the sugar rush…
Other photos taken:
Breakfast at the hotel. After finishing our continental breakfast, the staff recommended us to taste some Spanish pastry. We tasted something which I deemed as Spanish fried dough ball – I think it’s called Buñuelos (?) with the butter filling which were delicious.
Long walk to get to the Palacio de Cristal – a structure made almost entirely of glass set in an iron frameworkglass. To put it simply its a huge and beautiful greenhouse. Left me wondering about how did they manage to build this delicate structure back then?
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