We were lucky enough to be invited away recently on a trip to Spain. Naturally, we wouldn’t dare turn down such a generous offer, or pass up on a chance to escape the office for a couple of days! So, a few weeks ago I found myself headed up to London, preparing to jet off and visit a part of one of my favourite countries that I had never been to before.
After touching down in Madrid, I was quickly whisked away for a short, but comfortable ride to the hotel. I would be both inspecting and staying in for the next two nights, the stunning, Eurostars Madrid Tower. Although it was dark by the time I had landed, it was still easy to appreciate just how impressive a building the Madrid Tower is. The first thirty floors of the tower are operated by Eurostars, and during the day they grant guests some stunning views.
Introductions were made and dinner was served. We dined later then we are used to back in Britain, but one must always adhere to the customs of the country one visits! The menu was comprised of both classic Spanish and local dishes. My hosts were overly generous with the wine, causing my memory of the food to be rather foggy, with one marvellous exception. Carrot Cake is not usually my first choice for a dessert, but when served with the deliciously decadent, passionfruit twist that was our meals finale, it’s fair to say I have converted!
A Trip to Toledo
Thanks to a rather jam-packed itinerary for the next two days it was an early breakfast before setting off for Toledo. I was equally as curious to visit this stunning fortress-city as I was to visit Madrid itself. A fairly acceptable drive of about 40 minutes was all it took to put the capital behind us and bring us to Toledo’s stunning cityscape. I’d never seen an image of Toledo before we stopped off at the historic city gate. As a former Citadel, much of the interior layout to the old-town is still preserved, although the once thick curtain-walls are now broken in some sections.
Toledo is protected by the Tagus river on all sides. It’s an impressive natural defence but also a beautiful landscape feature. The view from the surrounding hills across the Tagus of the city is simply magnificent. The most beautiful landmark in a city filled with them has to be the cathedral at its heart. A stunning assembly of baroque and neo-gothic architecture. Filled with frescos, gold, and other precious objects that catch the eye as you wander around the cathedral’s vast expanse. I could have wandered around the cathedral, and indeed, most of the city itself for days. But, duty called, and after a brief tour of the local Eurostars site, it was back to Madrid.
An Evening of Entertainment
Following another brief tour of another property, and a very quick shower, the evening’s entertainment could now take centre stage. We were taken to a quiet street, just across from the cities cathedral, and entered one of the most packed restaurants I’ve ever been to. A legion of smartly clad serving staff attended the few hundred diners who occupied almost every inch of floor space. A podium took up one small corner of the restaurant, the stage as of yet, unoccupied. Soon, after gorging ourselves almost into a stupour the clock struck ten, and the real reason we had arrived at this establishment became obvious.
The Flamenco is one of the most passionate, intense, and fierce performances in dance that the eyes can witness. The crash of every step. The echo of every chord and note. It is both visually and audibly intoxicating to watch. I found myself in awe of the performers, both the musicians and the dancers. It is easy, in our mostly digital world we now occupy, to forget the power of a live performance. Our most-kind and generous hosts had provided a surprise well worth the journey.
More Of Madrid
We departed the restaurant for the more relaxed and less crowded environment of the Madrid Tower. A few drinks and friendly chats were had but there was nothing that could possibly top the earlier performance. We retired once again quite early, for we knew that although the next day was our last, we still had much todo. Another early start saw us take a walking tour of the city centre of Madrid. Our Tour guide was a chap named Sean, one-half Irish, the other Spanish. I can safely say he was the best tour guide I’ve ever had. The tour was slightly hurried, given our busy schedule, but Sean provided more than an insight into the history of the city.
Sadly, we left the beating heart of Madrid and ventured back to the tower. They really had saved the best until last with our final site inspection. The hotel boasts some truly first class meeting and breakout rooms. They have good reason to be proud of their property. It is no wonder why it remains so popular with everyone from foreign dignitaries to the giants of football. Liverpool FC stayed at the Madrid Tower during last years Champions League final in Madrid. I’m told any team who spends the night in the property before a match always wins the next day.
After a fantastic lunch, it was time to be on our way again. Despite having just over an hour until the flight home, I did have a nervous glance at my watch anticipating traffic en route to the airport. I needn’t have worried. The journey once again, lasted barely 20 minutes, and still left time to quickly browse duty-free! During the flight, I reflected on the last two days and all that I’d seen during my enjoyable, but brief stay. You can never spend enough time away on trips like these. But of course, the whole point of the trip was to leave me wanting more.
Our hosts were fantastic. The itinerary was put together in order to give us as much to see and do as possible. In that, it definitely delivered, as did our fantastic Eurostars hosts in showing off their properties. Both Madrid and Toledo have much to offer any visitors. For myself, I’ve found another part of Spain to love, and explore. Hopefully, I won’t be waiting too long to return there.