Segovia again - and Toledo and El Escorial
Many thanks, Phil and Butterfly, for your replies. It looks like a clear choice for Meson Jose-Maria, and I'm looking forward to it.
Butterfly, I take your point about not arriving before 2. What I'd really like is to do all my walking and sightseeing in the morning and early afternoon and then settle in to eat at 4. Is that realistic - or will all the cochinillo be gone? (This is really a general question about eating places that close at 4: is there likely to be anything left to eat, or is there a safer time for a late-ish arrival?)
I know it will be cold and will certainly wear several layers under a thick fleece, but - how cold is cold? Could you give me an idea, so I can gird my loins?
My excursion plans have expanded. Do you have any recommendations for Toledo and El Escorial? I know that a single day in any of these places won't be "enough" - but I've only got ten days, and don't think I can bear to spend more than three of them away from Madrid
Thanks again. (I started a new topic because new topics seem to be all I can post. I still can't "reply", and the support team haven't been able to help. Can anyone advise me on that?)
I'm also a fan of Jose-Maria. I think it's the window display that really does it for me. And while I'm not an expert, I think unless you really know what you're doing it's best to keep to the pretty strict 2pm lunch schedule. Afterwards, you will definitely want to do some more walking.
El Escorial is a single-day trip. It's neither difficult nor expensive to get there on a bus. It's about an hour ride from, I think, Moncloa station (?) I've been there a couple of times and had pretty average meals at one or another of the dozen or so restaurants surrounding the entrance.
In general it is a bad idea to go at 4:00 to any restaurant--the kitchen will be closed. Most people begin no later than 3:00-3:30 (depends a bit of the kind of place, the day of the week, and the region). Almost all restaurants close between lunch and dinner, but there are cafe/bars stay open continuously for snacks. You might be able to get away with a late lunch in a tourist town like Segovia, especially on a weekend day, but I would call to reserve ahead of time to find out if they will be serving at that time.
January can be bitter cold in Segovia--below freezing and windy... Or it can warm up when it is sunny during the day. I'd prepare for very cold, though.