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This was our christmas gift: manufacture memories in Madrid. We can say that it is a successful business. Madrid is definitely a big european city and it has to be visited.

Friday's night: we arrived very late at the Plaza de Cibeles, around 2 am in the city center, but it was like 10 pm: a lot of people in the streets, going out for partys and a crazy night. We met our kind host José in his appartment, where we would stay for the next 3 days.

Saturday started with a rooftop breakfast at the San Antonio's market, one of the numerous mercados of the city. Here is an abundance of fresh products for every tastes, spanish classicos such as tortilla and jamon included. You choose your stand then simply eat. On the rooftop, "La cocina" develops a nice concept: you can buy your meat or fish in the market and it will be cooked here by the chef. This place is very cosy with a lot of plants and ethnical fabrics put on a large terrasse. There also is a spacious restaurant room opened to the sunken market.

We walked in Chueca's and Malsana's streets to explore its designer boutiques and concept stores. Most of the streets have trees and this is really pleasant to parade around these barrios. 

As architects we crossed the temporary Barcelo market and the other part of this interesting project of Nieto Sobejano, still under construction: the library and sports hall that will be a very spectacular architecture mixing concrete and polycarbonate.

First lunch break at the Plaza de dos Mayos at the Cafe de Mahon before glimpsing the museo ABC and its tridimensional façades. Then we went down to the Plaza de Espana and the Palacio Real.

Second lunch break paëlla at the Mercado San Miguel. It will stay one of my favorite place of the journey. You can sate all your food needs in this tradionnal market construction. Also lot of people here for an unique ambience. I would like it gets as simple to find a place to eat at anytime of the day in France. Spain has a real food culture.. but obviously it doesn't mean everyone eats his fill.

Madrilenos are elegant, most of them really have a good style. Must say that there are some great clothes shops in Spain. I love Camper, the footwear. In Spain there is a shop at every street corners so we spend some time in these lovely stores, trying a lot of shoes. We both finally got a pair. You could see that in a future what we wear post.

This first day ended after a nice dinner at La Cocina and a cocktails session at Museo Chicote, a famous bar in Madrid.

Sunday kept pace. We were so excited to see for real the Caixa Forum. What talentuous architects! A lot of wonder and no disappointment while visiting this building. And we had a very pleasant breakfast on the rooftop restaurant. It seems that having rooftop breakfast is the fashion way!

We walked down the Paseo del Prado up to the Parque del Retiro. It is a beautiful and huge park in the city center with very tall old trees and large grass areas. Perfect place on a sunny sunday! We sat in the middle of the park, close to the Palacio de Cristal.

An other architectural break at the Atocha train station just to see its inside tropical garden.

Barrio Lavapiés. We quickly passed in the neighborhood but it is worth to discover each plaza, like the Plaza de Lavapiés. On sunday only few shops are opened so it may be better to come here on an other day. It is a colourful area with a folk ambience. We had a lunchtime in the north of the district, on the Plaza de Santa Ana.

Flash of motivation: direction Salamanca! This posh district is located at the north east of the Plaza de Cibeles out of the old city center. It follows a different urban shape made of orthogonal streets what draws beautiful perspectives. Perfect for a no-limit shopping session too! Nice places to see: Bimba y Lola. Federica&co. Theatriz restaurant.

After plenty of walking, we sit down at the bar of the Mercado de la Reina: white martini and tapas.

American shopping night time around the Gran Via, Calle de Fuencarral: Levi's, Brandy Melville.

Monday morning: last hours in Madrid. After a sunny weekend, it is snowing, surprise! Breakfast at the San Antonio's market. Then rendez-vous at the Plaza de Cibeles to reach Barajas airport and go back home.

By A.