Just a couple of days before Helsinki has received quite a bit of snow. The weather forecast says it is going to be chilly but sunny today. However, at 6am. it looks as miserable as most Spring days in Helsinki: wet and grey.
We head to Cafe Tintin Tango for an early morning sauna and breakfast. There we also meet Tomi's friend Jouni.
Rest of the day is spent shopping but we don't buy much. While Tomi meets his colleagues in the computer science department, Tei has lunch with her friend Tiina.
We follow the GPS device's instructions to Chinchon. It does not ask us to take any U-turns but recalculates the route whenever we deviate from the planned route. It happens quite often since the device's conception of the number of exits in roundabouts does not always match the reality.
Before seeing the hanging houses, we need to find something to eat. By the parking garage where we leave our car there is a theatre and a theatre cafe. Even if the cafe kitchen is not officially open for lunch yet (at noon), we can order some delicious Spanish food: ...
Casas Colgadas (the "hanging houses") were built over a rock above Hoz del Huecar (the Huecar River Gorge) between 13th and 15th centuries. Today the houses host a restaurant and a museum of abstract art.
On our way we notice that we are near the archaeological park of the ancient ruins of a Roman city Segobriga, a visit our friends have recommended. This is quite a remarkable site given its age; the development of this city started sometime in the first century B.C.
Somehow the ruins seem so small and tight it is hard to imagine there were 3-D buildings at some point. They could not have been very spacious. The wall that surrounded Segobriga was only 1300 meters long.
We visit Bodegas Andres Morate, a local organic vineyard.
They have three reds and one white -- we get one of each and a two-liter canister of organic olive oil. That oil is so delicious and flavorful we could eat it with a spoon.
We walk the trail quite a while, and eventually end up somewhere that looks like a private property, and meet this huge and fiery dog. Fortunately it is tightly leashed. We take a path up that we think is an exit, but find ourselves in a dead end. There is a fence all around. After some looking around we find a way to climb over the fence and voila, we are back on the trail we came from.
We make several attempts to approach the Expo following and not following the GPS instructions, but always take a wrong turn or exit. It takes two extra hours to reach the place before we figure out how to get there. The GPS was almost right most of the time.
A Real Madrid - Barca game on, so each bar, restaurant showing the game attracts a bit of audience outside.
Between this picture and the next, we have run the Rock'n'Roll Marathon Madrid. What a pleasant experience that was. Since the marathon starts as late as 9am. we order a light breakfast to the room: juice with yoghurt and musli.
At the marathon start it is about +7C and in the end no more than +14C. It is sunny though. The route is beautiful, very runnable with long gentle hills, and the cheering crowd amazing. We also enjoy the bands along the route: there are more than 20 of them. We both run our personal bests :)
After the run we take a quick shower (we are not exhausted at all!) and head out for lunch. We choose El Barril de Recoletos in the neighborhood, and have some heavy protein: lamb and a beef steak. Then we return to the hotel to pack and drive back to Chinchon.
After the walk we have lunch in Cafe de Iberia at Plaza Mayor. We share dishes of asparagus, ham, chorizo, cheese, shrimp, pork, some salad with endives and blue cheese. Good but not phenomenal. Also our seating on the cramped balcony is not the most convenient. We learn that the restaurant can charge more if they can seat us outside for a fancier experience.
We spend eight hours in our capital enjoying some nice beer in Pullman at the main railway station, meeting Tei's friend Tiina again, and then having dinner at Patrona, a newly opened Mexican restaurant that Tei has learned about in a food blog she follows.
We don't have notes about the food, and no menus are available online, so we can't tell (or remember) what this is: probably something with mushrooms and cheese. Everything was super delicious, though.