I’m more than a little embarrassed, I wrote the post below back in October of last year; I just didn’t get round to posting it because I was put off by the effort of sorting through the pictures I took and embedding them in the post.
Yes, I am that lazy and lacking in will power.
I’ve decided to publish it anyway because I’m in NY now and damn it, I’m going to do a timely post on at least one of my trips, so ashamed and repentant, here’s what I was thinking while in Madrid, almost a year ago.
It’s been an age, hasn’t it? Since my last post, I’ve been to Kenya and other nice places but I’ve also been lazy and undisciplined hence the paucity of posts. But I decided that’s not who I want to be so on my last day in beautiful Madrid I took some time out of what I must admit was a very lazy day to write this post. Despite my best efforts I didn’t get round to posting it till my return to London (sigh). Also, it’s a little long as I tried to compress 6 days-worth of activity into a post but despite that I was very proud of myself while writing it.
‘So Ade, why Madrid?’ I hear you ask. Well, good folk I am here in beautifully sunny Madrid by way of my cool friend, J and my shameless opportunism. J’s here in Madrid for 3 months working remotely and studying Spanish (non-remotely), as you do. And since he rented a flat with a spare room, is brilliant to hang out with and too polite to say no, I invited myself over for a visit.
I arrived on Friday evening and tagged along to a cultural exchange ‘meet up’ at the Circulo de Bellas Artes, that J was going to. The drinks and food were overpriced but you’re paying for the view and the experience. I took a picture but as I had forgotten to charge my camera, I ended up using my phone camera and I fear the picture I took doesn’t do it justice so I won’t post it; you’ll have to take it on trust that if you’re ever in Madrid for a few days it’s worth a visit.
On Saturday, I joined J and a group of his friends on a visit to Sergovia. Sergovia is a province located in the Iberian Peninsula and is a 30 minute train ride from Madrid. Although its earliest recorded inhabitants were Celtic, the province has been ruled by Romans and Arabs in turn. The Roman occupation explains the very picturesque aqueduct in the main plaza (and in case you didn’t realise that there’s a bronze sculpture of the Capitoline Wolf nearby). The old city is littered with a diverse range of civil and religious buildings, and an ecosystem of shops and restaurants has developed to serve the tourists that flock there.
Sunday evening was spent at the Prado Museum. Monday, I lounged around in the Parque del Retiro, reading and people-watching while resisting the urge to lecture people on why its wrong to feed the squirrels. The lovely sunshine, my Britishness, my lack of Spanish and J’s alarm at the prospect, held me back. Otherwise I totally would have.
I made it to the Mercado de San Miguel ahead of a tapas bar crawl. I learnt a few things about myself and tapas on this fun but ultimately unsuccessful adventure. I lack impulse control when it comes to good food but have a small stomach; both these things are handicaps if you’re planning to go on a tapas bar crawl. The result was that we had to call a halt to proceedings after hitting two bars (the shame!).
Last but not least, I made it to Barrio de Las Letras, the old Literary Quarter. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this sign pretty much sums up what I saw and it left me feeling sad and philosophical, ergo I’m just so full of deep thoughts and feelings.
I could tell you more about the things I got up to but as I didn’t really go off the beaten track it’s not that exciting. Besides, I took pictures and they tell a thousand words (thank you, I’m here all week).
So I’ll wrap this up by telling you how Madrid made me feel or more accurately, what I’ve felt while I’ve been in Madrid. I’ve felt the absence of balance in my life. Some of that may be down to seeing J doing his thing here in Madrid and coveting that experience but I feel the city and its inhabitants multiply my envy. They reinforce this by just being so chilled. all. the. damn. time. They do it by insouciantly going out to dinner late at night – as though they didn’t have to get up early for work the next day (many of them do, I know because I made enquiries) or as if, y’know, work will happen and in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big a deal. Imagine that!
The city seems designed for life, for holistic living – I see it in the way children’s playgrounds, residential housing and office blocks seem to nestle contentedly alongside each another.
Granted, I’m on holiday and my view of the city is that of a foreigner at leisure but even if my view was a rose-tinted one, I liked what I saw.