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Editor'S Choice - 2020

Such a perfect day: Holy Thursday in an almost empty Madrid

For Lou Reed, a perfect day was to drink sangria in the park and feed the animals in the zoo. Lou's good (whom we miss frequently, of course) did not know Madrid on vacation, when it is empty. He would have rewritten the song, his perfect song.

As taxi drivers are in charge of repeating, it's nice to be in Madrid on vacation. Or so we tell ourselves when everyone around us is not in Madrid on vacation. Here is a possible one-day agenda of those in which almost everything closes, in which the city is like a thunderstorm; of a Holy Thursday, for example. Of course, the most interesting thing we don't tell. That our mothers read us and they get very nervous.

8:30 a.m. Get up early:

A perfect day in a half empty Madrid starts soon. Getting up late is decadent. It is much better to do it early and take intermittent naps throughout the day or go to bed soon, the last extravagance. In the mornings, Madrid does its stretching and becomes numb. And we also: it's time to run and not because it's what everyone does, but because a day that starts running (or walking fast or walking slowly) can't go wrong. In Madrid there are many parks, aristocratic, popular, opulent, humble, full of tourists. They are all beautiful, but I like to go around like a spinning top until I reach the Zen state through the Plaza de la Villa de Paris, one of my favorite places. Also cross between the trees on the roads that cross the Retreat. Endorphins and chlorophyll to start the day.

Long live the Retreat! © Corbis


There are two schools of thought: the one that despises the VIPs and the one that feels that nothing bad could ever happen to them there. Let's find out which one I belong to. This is not the most correct thing on a website as elegant as this one, but having breakfast at the VIPS refers to the party. And that's it. Of course a fabulous alternative is do it at the Ritz, with its pastries, its jams, its ham, its arsenal of cut fruit, its solid cutlery and champagne in a silver champagne given by the royal family. And if the terrace is open, the better. Come on, let's leave the Vips and have breakfast at the Ritz cold and hot buffet (from 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and for 34 euros), which are both monosyllables and we deserve it, that we have not gone on vacation.

Breakfast at the Ritz: we deserve it © Ritz-Carlton


No to originality for originality. Having many hours ahead and not taking advantage of the Prado Museum is like going to New York and not crossing the Brooklyn Bridge because, overall, we have already seen it a lot in the cinema. My plan is "One day, one room" or "One day, one painter". For example: a Velázquez bath. To lose judgment with his crucified, to rediscover the madness that is Las Meninas, to turn around the faces of the jesters or those of Los Borrachos. Or we can do the same with Ribera, so always forgotten because he had the bad luck of being born at the same time as Velázquez. If we have already played this many times we can risk a little and go to the new National Archaeological Museum (MAN), newly reopened. Promises. Both museums open on Holy Thursday, which I have documented ...

The surrender of Breda © D.R.


This is a delicate moment. The aperitif a holiday goes out of hand unless there is a reservation in a restaurant. Nothing happens. The “aperi” cañí 2014 goes through a vermouth (nothing of sangria in the park) in The Ardosa or in La Revoltosa, in Plaza del Rey, with its fried chicken dishes with kikos. Or with a wine in Cutting room, which we still like a lot, although it is still so fashionable.

Cutting room: the new fashion bar in Madrid © Cutting room

If we have a reservation, we must stop that appetizer that threatens to spread and sit at a table. Maybe we were forecasters and we can sit at one of the tables Tandem, the Moratín or TriCiclo Vinoteca. If we have a hole, we can eat a free range chicken burger in Federal Café with edamame to peck. If we want protein, we will have booked in the new Café de Paris. They say that if you want rice, Catalina is great. And it is a pity that we cannot queue Nakeima because it is closed these days. We finished eating with a feeling of abandonment. As the song says, on a perfect day we even forget ourselves. And we can continue with that oblivion by taking a nap.

Ardosa Tavern, a classic from Madrid. © La Ardosa


It is time to make an arch-route. Or a route, if we are not interested in buildings or cornices or portals. It is time to wander around Arguelles looking at the hallways of the buildings through the windows as if we were characters of Dickens. Trying to sneak into the House of Flowers. Or we can place ourselves in front of the future Mercado de Barceló, as retirees and criticize it or not. To do a small modernist tour of Fernando VI and surroundings: the SGAE, the house of the Lizards ... Or look at those streets of Madrid in which Paris looks like. Or New York. Or we walk those streets where Madrid is very, super Madrid.

Sunset at the Temple of Debod © Thinkstock


"Then later a movie, too, and then home." A perfect day and, here we are with Lou Reed, go to the movies. It's that simple and of little original. After a day in the sun, you have to sit two hours in the dark and everything is balanced. It serves any cinema and almost any movie. It serves a neighborhood cinema, one of V.O or one of those I never go to because I don't know if I can get there. The Cineteca and the Filmoteca do not work, because they are closed. They serve the Basque surnames, Dusk in India, that of Wes Anderson and The Past, the last of Farahdi. The thrill of watching a movie start on screen surrounded by strangers is the same. And then home.

And then, home.
Oh, it's such a perfect day.
I´m glad I spend it with you.

Video: TableTop Extended Edition: Pandemic (February 2020).

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