Today’s entry in the Metro challenge is the stop Arguelles. Arguelles is a major stop – it is the origin of the 4 line, and also has stops for the 3 and 6 line. One of the first impressions you get from Arguelles, besides its size, is this fantastic mosaic mural on the wall…
El Corte Ingles (translation “The English Court”) is a large department store chain, and one of their largest stores is located here – everything from Michael Kors purses to GE appliances to gourmet wine and cheese to couches. One of the largest locations is on the corner here. However, today Nancy was in the mood for something a little cooler… a little more trendy…
There is something about Tiger that reminds me of Ikea. Maybe it is the minimalist design, the Scandinavian sensibility (Tiger is Danish) that anything can be whimsical, or the fact that everything seems cheap… even if its not. Everything here is priced and packaged to appear affordable. Yet somehow the two times we have been here the bill has been north of 40 euros… but you do get a lot for it… spices, stationary, candles, toys, mostly between 1 and 5 euros per package.
Also at Arguelles, what I think made Nancy TRULY happy, was the corner florist. It seems you can go anywhere in Madrid even in February, and find a street vendor with fresh and bright flowers.
Once the exploring (which is really code for SHOPPING) is complete, we wander over to the real purpose of our trip to Arguelles… dinner.
We love Paella. Even though it is not a Madrid specialty, real Paella comes from Valencia, the tourists demand it so it is everywhere. The restaurant Casa Valencia is a Madrid tradition. Located across from the Parque de la Tinaja and the Temple of Debod, two major Madrid landmarks, the restaurant has been a fixture of Madrid since 1975. Opened officially by the King of Spain, it is THE place in Madrid for traditional Paella.
Inexpensive, with a great wine list (fantastic wine under 20 euros a bottle makes Dan very happy), friendly wait staff, and an English menu (always a plus), we love Casa Valencia. Some interesting quirks about the place is the live lobster tank… Nancy is constantly worried that something we order will have lobster and she will see it removed from the tank, and the fact that they charge for the bread… but don’t ask you if you want it. The bread is excellent and pretty cheap, but the Asian pair at the next table was NOT happy.
Between Tiger, El Corte Ingles, and Case Valencia, not to mention a Zara Home, and some other cool stores, Arguelles is a stop we will be visiting again and again.
Stop 3 in the books, 178 to go. Dan