Sitting in middle zone of the stadium by myself and imagining what it would be like to enjoy a game at the stadium
Sitting in middle zone of the stadium by myself and imagining what it would be like to enjoy a game at the stadium



El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu

event June 6, 2009
location_onMadrid, Spain

So our second day in Madrid sure started off with a surprise! I suppose it was the jet lag that got us, considering it was the first time we got some good sleep since leaving Charlotte the day before. Either way, I wake up, my father asks me what time it is and I say (without much thought), “’s 12:20…” My dad gets up quickly, “what? 12:20?” So, yeah, we ended up waking up pretty late and had to rush to get ready.

Once done, we headed downstairs and asked one of the hotel attendants for a recommendation on a place to eat for lunch. We made it clear that we wanted something “Español” versus something like McDonalds, hahaha. The attendant recommended Lena, a restaurant about two blocks away that was pretty good for lunch. We arrived and were told of the special of the day, a two course meal that began with a choice of: Gazpacho, Crema de hongos (Cream of Mushroom), Crema de espárrago (Cream of Asparagus), Ensalada (Salad) – and then ended with a set of four more choices for the second plate. Unfortunately, because we were so focused on a dish called Entrecote we didn’t even look at the other possible choices for the second entre. Starting things off, my father chose Crema de espárrago while I chose the Gazpacho. Gazpacho is a soup served cold and was the perfect way to start the day considering it was already quite warm. La Crema de hongos was not thin at all, here a Cream based soup is thicker, it almost sticks to the spoon itself and is very filling in its own right.

Soup to start the meal
A small bowl of gazpacho soup with tomatoes and onions on top
A glass of Fanta orange soda for me and a cup of wine for my dad

Then came the second course, Entrecote! Entrecote is grilled beef (often with a melted cheese sauce on top) and also served with fries. This restaurant didn’t add the cheese mixture on top but the dish was still good. And by the way, I apparently jumped the gun and began eating before I noticed I had not taken a picture of the Entrecote yet, whoops!

A thin slice of grilled beef served with fries

We enjoyed our meal so much that we ordered coffee and dessert. My father chose Flan, one of his favorite deserts, and I chose Arroz en leche (rice in milk…kind of like rice pudding).

Flan served for dessert
Arroz en leche, Rice pudding with cinnamon on top

After our great lunch, we headed towards the Plaza de Cibeles and even before we got to the plaza, we could see the beautiful building that anchors it.

The Metropolis Building or Edificio Metrópolis is an office building in Madrid
The Spanish Flag waving atop a building
Fuente de Cibeles or Fountain of Cybele shows the Roman goddess of fertility atop a chariot drawn by two lions

The main component of Plaza de Cibeles is CentroCentro. It is an exhibition space in a renovated palace.

Continuing on, we went to La Puerta de Alcalá and took pictures of the famous arch that has “Rege Carlos III año MDCCLXXVIII” inscribed on it.

CentroCentro is an exhibition space in a renovated palace
Lots of cars going through Cibeles
Tourists standing in front of the Casa de América
Two angels flanking a regal seal
Flags of the countries in the Americas flapping in the wind

There is a wonderful park called Jardines del Buen Retiro located in la Puerta de la Independencia. Oh, by the way, if you have a chance to visit this park, you definitely should, there is a wonderful man-made lake where you can rent a paddle boat. But one warning, at the opening of the park, there is a group of kids that run up to all visitors and attempt to have them sign a sheet of paper; this paper ends up being a promise to pay them money. I suppose this money goes to some families in order to take care of them. But they are resilient, my dad gave 5€ to one of the kids so the one that was talking to me said, “so 5€ from each right?” he’ll grow up to be a good salesmen.

Jardines del Buen Retiro located in la Puerta de la Independencia
A statue in the middle of the park
Jardines del Buen Retiro located in la Puerta de la Independencia
A abstract statue of a bull

Next, and best of all, we headed towards La Plaza de Lima in order to take a tour of El Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, better known as the Home of Real Madrid C.F. For €15, you take an 8-point tour that takes you from the top of the stadium all the way down to field level. When I say field level, you don’t get on the field, but you do get to sit in the sideline seats and even get to visit the visiting team’s locker room. The stadium is beautiful; a wonderful breeze seems to always be blowing. Inside, we visited the trophy rooms and the press room. The tour is a great deal because you are not guided at all, but instead can take as long as you like to visit all the points of interest along the way. What was cool was that a group of 5 young children, sat down in a few seats and began yelling, “GOL!” We were laughing because we could clearly hear them and we thought that it would be so cool to go to a game and hear the roar of a stadium full of 85,000 fans.

Holding up a ticket for the Tour Bernabéu
A beautiful photo of the stadium taken from almost the top row
So many rows of seats for fans to watch soccer games
A close up of the seats where fans cheer on their team
A sign showing the direction of the bathrooms, bar, and exit
A sign for the Panoramic View
Notifications of stock issue
Books of Honor of Real Madrid in 1952
Books detailing past seasons of the team
Old jerseys from previous seasons
A Real Madrid steward's cap
More old jerseys from previous seasons
The marching song of Real Madrid called Hala Madrid
A large padded wall featuring the Real Madrid logo
A hallway leading us through the history of the Real Madrid club
A sign for the Tour Bernabéu
A massive trophy wall
A trophy of La Liga Championships
Showcasing the 2007-2008 Championship
Showing off trophies and banners from Real Madrid's international games
An intricate award presented to Real Madrid
Real Madrid winners of La liga ballon d'or
Cleats from the past stars of Real Madrid
Sitting in the stadium and taking in the view
The view from the first level behind the goal area
Closeup of the chairs that players sit in during furbol matches
A beautiful day to be field level at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu
Sitting in the chairs
A sign explaining how all 22 seats were fitted in 2003
The Media Press Area in the stadium
Sitting in the same seats that players give post game media reactions

Oh, one thing to note, we couldn’t believe that there was a player who had once played for Real Madrid C.F. that hailed from Guatemala. His name was Revuelto; my dad thought it would be funny to write “huevo” (or egg) in front of his last name so that it would read “Huevo Revuelto” or (scrambled egg).

A wall namming many of the international players who have played for Real Madrid
I'm pointing to the Guatemalan flag in shock that we had a player suit up for a storied franchise
A photo of Revuelto, a soccer player from Guatemala who played for Real Madrid
A Guatemalan Player named Revuelto played for Real Madrid in the past
1906 Real Madrid Squad

After finishing the tour, and buying a Real Madrid C.F. bufanda (scarf), we went to a supermarket and bought some fresh baked bread, queso Evan, and Lomo Embuchado (A cured slice beef coming from the rump). Lomo is very good when fresh; it is a fatty cut of meat but it has a wonderful distinct flavor. Even pre-packaged like what we bought, the flavor is still wonderful; I only wish we had the selection of meats and cheeses in the U.S. that one can find in España and throughout Europe. When we returned to the hotel, we each built ourselves a sandwich using what we had bought. A very simple meal but honestly, because we didn’t have access to a refrigerator, we had to use all of the bread, cheese, and lomo. So in the end, the sandwich was tightly packed and very filling. What a wonderful day!!

Making simple sandwiches at the hotel for dinner
Making simple sandwiches at the hotel for dinner

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