Lisbon to Madrid: The ten on ten A-OK road trip
by António Pita
Since I was 25 years old, I was thinking about to make a big trip around Europe by car. This thought (more a dream at beginning), was realized a little bit later, when I was at 40th. In the summer of 2009, I have met the woman that 1 year later, who became my wife and the mother of my two children. I don’t believe in love at first sight. But when I have met her, something told me that could be the one life time person that you expect to share the rest of your lasting days.
When we started our relationship, I told her about this old dream
I had. She didn’t think twice. Said it could be the dream of every person that expects to know new people, new places, new cultures and most of all, taste different foods, drink different wines (I am addicted to the good wines). We had time, we had money and the car to do that.
So we prepared the trip (enough closes and shoes), maps of the Europe (you can not believe but our car at this time didn’t have navigation), and at 13 of June our journey began.
Our trip start in Lisbon where we live. My work is a very stressful one. In the beginning of the journey, I was very nervous. For instance, when we mistook first road I reacted furiously. My beautiful company said to me, “Relax, we have one month to do mistakes, but no one to feel responsible about that.” It worked.
Our first stop, Madrid. I must say that our journey was a little bit of an adventure. We made reservations by bookin.com the day before we leave a city. By this way we have the possibility to go to the countries we intend to and stop in the cities we want.
We use to travel every year since then to Mallorca by car. We use the highway of south of Portugal to go to Spain via Alentejo. Alentejo is region in the middle south of Portugal. It is very beautiful. Have very good food and wines (my Achilles heel in the good sense).
We stopped at a modest good restaurant in Beja to lunch. When you travel by car, you have the possibility to stop when and where you want. This is very good because you can change your travel plan (if you have one), all the time in convenience of your interests on a certain moment. People from Alentejo are very friendly (like the most of the Portuguese people).
We have eaten grilled meat, very well tasted with some typical foods of Alentejo, like açorda (a food made with bread, garlic, water and good olive oil). We drank red wine from Alentejo (“Incognito” by Cortes de Cima). Just one glass (or two). We were driving. My company had driver’s license so we could change driver every time we need.
More 4 hours and we arrived at Madrid. We stayed at Senator Hotel at Gran Via. Once we were there, we went to see a Flamenco singers and dancers. It was an amazing experience. They played live under a mysteriously
beautiful atmosphere. Dancers moved around involved in their feelings, to express the rhythms that musicians are playing. At the place we eat cheese and drink good Spanish wine (Vega Sicilia). Amazing. Recommended.
The food in Madrid (like mostly of entire Spain is good, if you know where go to eat. There is all kind of restaurants and “tapas” places. I like good food. So I go to the places where there is good things to eat. If you like fish I recommend “La Trainera” restaurant, if you like “tapas” go to “Casa Labra” restaurant.
Being in Madrid is like staying in a big boat over the sea, with all attractions in there, but you just have a 5 days’ cruise. 😐
Next day we went to see the the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Wax Museum. In Royal Palace of Madrid you can figure out the history of the Monarchy of Spain and cultural history. The Palace is the biggest in Europe. A lot to see in these 2 monuments.
We walked at center streets during the night. A lot of people in the streets. Different people, searching for something they think they need. Interesting people. We stayed 2 days in Madrid. Not my favorite City, but a nice place to spend 2 or 3 days.
Next stop: Barcelona.
June 18, 2017