We met up with Emi, our airbnb host, and got settled into our little Madrileño nest. It's perfect, with brick and plaster walls, ancient wood beams in the ceiling and an adorable little terrace. There's an ancient looking gate, heavily locked, right off our terrace which apparently leads to the massive network of underground passageways beneath the city. These tunnels were used over the centuries as everything from wine cellars and storage to escape routes and prisons. You won't find that in a Holiday Inn!
We are right in the heart of things here. Emi left us a great list of tapas bars near by, but we decided to just wander out into the night and let our Jedi knight skills find us the perfect spot. It worked. We ended up in this very cool place called China Mandarina, packed with locals, and we blindly took all of our waiter's suggestions. It was amazing,but we both agreed that the croquettes will be on our short list of best things we've ever eaten in our lives.
Now we're waiting for the sun to come up so we can head off, painting bag in hand, on our first day of adventure.