Madrid, The City of Deep Breaths.

Better Done Than Perfect

You’re going to have to forgive the errors going forward. I’ve decided that done is better than perfect. OK, so I’m rarely perfect, but I’m pretty damn good, and I’d rather post than get behind. I’m finishing this up standing outside the US Consulate in Barcelona. No, this wasn’t part of the plan. I’ll tell you all about our lovely adventure in the next post from Valencia. Last week’s post if you missed it

Madrid

I went to Madrid not because I thought it was an option to live in, but because it’s Madrid. It didn’t seem right to go to Spain without making that homage. 

The plazas and open spaces here tend to host a bizarre array of characters—Bart Simpson, Mario, Mickey and Mini Mouse. Giant pandas and brown bears and characters I don’t recognize meander seeking photo ops for euros. It adds a surreal tint to the day. 

I’ve always enjoyed a morning stroll through cities. Mornings are for restocking. Getting big trucks as close as possible to unload supplies and produce. A daily shift in energy as the city feeds itself for the next twenty-four hours.

Madrid is largely what I expected. It’s big, bold and old. As with any city it’s a mix of traffic and construction; a never ending flow of cars and people. I found the lulls in city sounds to be exaggerated—long pauses of near silence before the sounds converged once again. This city breaths deeper than others I’ve been to. 

Madrid lives at night and for the weekends. My balcony was the perfect spot to watch the flood of humanity that flowed beneath. The volume increased as the day turned to night. I called it quits around midnight, the turbulence below beautiful in its chaos. Somewhere around four or five in the morning I stepped outside, and it was still perhaps seventy percent of the earlier traffic. Sunday morning around eight I found a mix of early risers, street cleaners and those hearty souls staggering home from a night on the town.  

Humans. The blood flow of a city. Used to the constant stream of foreign pathogens, Madrid thrives. 

The maze of tiny streets lends itself to a more pedestrian traffic flow. So many of the shops and cafes here are postage stamp sized. They’d have a hard time surviving in many of the sedate places I’ve lived in Arizona, California, Florida, Texas… but the volume of people here suffices. And I’m sure word of mouth will make or break a place. 

My favorite sights.

The Mercado de San Miguel.

We had a feast here after circling it once over. We decided we

The Temple Debod offers stunning views and a much needed green space. I found many of such spaces around. 

The Royal Palace.

The Crystal Palace is located in Buen Retiro Park. Another fabulous park with a mix of paved and dirt paths. A little lake in the middle is charming and reminded me of Boston and the swan boats. 

I need green spaces. Nature grounds me like nothing else can. This wandering about is as much about finding out what I don’t want as it is what I do. 

My friend Ali joined me in Madrid and will be with me for the next few weeks. She signed us up for a food and tapas tour through Devour Tours. I thought it was insanely expensive but turned out to be well worth it. Our guide was Oliver Guardo and the food, drink and knowledge were brilliant!

Ali also identified Sobrino de Botin. A Spanish icon open since 1725 and famous for it’s roast suckling pig mentioned in a Hemingway novel. Budget minded as always and not that hungry I opted for some Gaspacho. It was OK. Ali opted for the Grilled Filet Mignon Botin, but wasn’t overly impressed. It’s all about the atmosphere. 

AIRBNB

This Airbnb is right off Calle Gran Vie. What appears to be a metro is under construction below. Two gaping holes with the sound of large machinery drilling all day. It’s a fine location to base one’s exploration, if a tad noisy at the moment. 

I arrived on Saturday afternoon. 

The usual driver was out of town so they sent a lovely chap who spoke less English than I do Spanish. 

He off loaded me at a busy intersection and pointed across the street to the construction. Handing me keys and a slip of paper, he pointed again and waved as he pulled away. 

Montera

No 38

6 Piso

I figured address was 38, and it was either unit #6 or the sixth floor. Which left me thinking I was missing something. 

#38 is easy to miss, so I did twice. Ha. Turns out there’s only one flat on each floor so that problem was solved. The colorful barriers of the construction site weren’t the best introduction but the view from the balcony made up for it. 

This host didn’t have nearly the same amount of amenities as other’s I’ve been in. I had to ask for laundry detergent and there weren’t any napkins, paper towels or tissues. I’m incapable of living without tissues so I already had that one covered. Lol. Olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar were the only condiments. They did provide coffee and tea. Hoorah! When I told the host there were no more trash bags, she replied “Noted.” Needless to say we didn’t take out the rest of the garbage. 

Overall Madrid is a really fun place to visit. Throughly enjoyed the time here.

I am a space exploration enthusiast, electrical engineer, cultural anthropologist, crypto advocate and science fiction romance author. A newly minted nomad and Phych-K Facilitator, join me as I travel the world in search of magic, adventure and insanely smart people filled with love. www.sabinepriestley.com

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