BMW from Hertz, Spain (2104)

During my most recent visit to Spain, I had the pleasure of driving a very nice car. Thanks to various points and promotions from Hertz, I was able to secure this BMW 3 series:

3 Series BMW rented from Hertz, Barcelona, Spain.

3 Series BMW rented from Hertz, Barcelona, Spain.

What a pleasure to drive this car. It was equipped with a GPS navigation system that worked very well. It’s diesel engine was quite efficient, especially given it was paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Here’s a photo of the instrument cluster just before I began the drive:

Instrument cluster in 3 Series BMW rented from Hertz, Spain.

Instrument cluster in 3 Series BMW rented from Hertz, Spain.

Take note of the trip odometer which shows all zeros. Then, at the end of the drive, when I arrived in Madrid, I snapped the next photo:

Instrument cluster at end of driving across northern Spain.

Instrument cluster at end of driving across northern Spain.

Again, note the trip odometer and see that I drove a total of 2,517.3 kilometers. That’s a fair distance. So many wonderful stops along the way, many of which you’ll find here on The Bent Page. Plus, the scenery was outstanding. And this machine performed like a champ. Thanks, Hertz!

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Chocolateria San Gines, Madrid (2014)

Chocolateria San Gines, another iconic spot in old Madrid. I’ve been here so many times and with good reason. The churros and chocolate are my favorite.

Chocolateria San Gines, Madrid, Spain.

Chocolateria San Gines, Madrid, Spain.

This place is a great stop at the end of the night after a long tapas crawl. You just need a chocolate fix before going home. Be warned, it can be very busy. But service is relatively fast.

Churros and chocolate at Chocolateria San Gines, Madrid, Spain.

Churros and chocolate at Chocolateria San Gines, Madrid, Spain.

Those bites of goodness are delicious. And the chocolate is a miracle in itself. The consistency is thicker than coffee yet it still pours well. Perfect to dip that churro or sip slowly. Never too sweet. Always good. Enjoy the snack!

Txakolina, Madrid (2104)

That wonderful street with tapas bars shoulder to shoulder! Of course, I’m talking about Calle Cava Baja. There you’ll find Txakolina, a place worth the effort, and there is some effort because it gets crowded.

Txakolina, Madrid.

Txakolina, Madrid.

This is a pintxoteca, meaning the items are a bit larger than tapas. Here’s a look at the delicious offerings on the counter:

Pinxtos at Txakolina, Madrid.

Pintxos at Txakolina, Madrid.

They serve these bits of goodness with small glasses of wine and beer. Here’s a close up of two:

Pintxos at Txakolina, Madrid.

Pintxos at Txakolina, Madrid.

As mentioned, this place gets crowded and noisy, but so do most of the taparias. That’s part of the fun. And the food is fantastic. So make sure this one is on the list for your tapas crawl in Madrid. Enjoy every meal. Go slow.

Hotel Ópera, Madrid (2014)

In terms of location, Hotel Ópera has one of the best spots if you want to explore Madrid’s old town on foot. You will be literally across the street from the Teatro Real and about two blocks from the Royal Palace.

Hotel Ópera, Madrid, Spain.

Hotel Ópera, Madrid, Spain.

Walking up to the Plaza Mayor or Plaza del Sol is also an easy trek, maybe five or ten minutes depending upon your fitness level. Rooms are fairly standard.

Standard room at Hotel Ópera, Madrid, Spain.

Standard room at Hotel Ópera, Madrid, Spain.

Of course, everything you need is there for a comfortable stay. Here’s a look at the bathroom:

Bathroom in standard room at Hotel Ópera, Madrid, Spain.

Bathroom in standard room at Hotel Ópera, Madrid, Spain.

Breakfast was included with my room rate and I thought it was a good value. The buffet was fresh and tasty, just the thing to start the day. There’s also a full cafe on the ground floor if you’re looking for coffee, a snack, or a few tapas to round out the day. Service at the front desk is extremely helpful. They arranged for a taxi to take me to the airport, took care of some laundry, and a few other tasks, all with a smile. Convenient and a good value, Hotel Ópera is a good choice in old Madrid.

Published in: on July 29, 2014 at 11:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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