Monday, June 24, 2024

More Madrid


We're back from Madrid, safe and sound, and I'm now sitting on the couch with Olga snoozing beside me. It was a whirlwind trip for sure, but we got to do the things on my agenda so I was happy.

Yesterday morning, when I went looking for coffee, I walked from Plaza de España down the Gran Vía to the Plaza Mayor, and then over toward the Prado. Remember the Museum of Ham from yesterday's post? Well, I also discovered the Paradise of Ham (above).

I did get coffee pretty easily, by the way. Starbucks in Madrid opens at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning!


You can tell it's LGBTQ Pride season from the advertising posters! I saw lots of rainbow flags too.


I found this stunning building off the Plaza Mayor, with the light hitting it just right.


Dave and I have seen this heart-obsessed graffiti artist before, in Amsterdam! I was amused to find his work in Madrid too. Google Translate says the phrase in the heart means, "there are hidden gifts."


I managed to find the hostel I stayed in when I first visited Madrid in 1994. It looks exactly the same. There are three hostels in this building, one on each floor -- I stayed in the Gonzalo, which is on the third floor with the yellow sign. Memory lane!

I know I seem fixated on reliving my earlier experiences of Madrid, but I'm not sure I adequately conveyed in yesterday's post how transformative that trip was for me. I also didn't mention that at the time I was head-over-heels in love with the friend I traveled with, so there was an added romantic component -- in my mind, anyway -- that made the whole thing magical. Of course I'm 30 years older now and I've been lots of places, so that youthful sense of wonder and possibility isn't the same. But it was still great to see the old sights again. My life is good now, in fact better in many ways, and I am lucky in that regard.


I also passed by the ornate Metropolis building, one of the most famous edifices in Madrid.

From there I walked back to the Plaza de España and picked up Dave, who'd been sleeping in a bit. Then we took the Metro back to a famous spot near the Plaza Mayor for churros con chocolate, a breakfast treat of fried dough dipped in chocolate sauce. We sat out in the square and ate them in the sunshine, watching the police chase off the costumed entertainers -- the gorilla guy from yesterday's post, as well as Bart Simpson, The Joker and others -- who try to cadge pocket change from tourists by posing for photos. I guess they're really not supposed to be out there, or maybe just not at that time.


OMG, that chocolate was AMAZING. Definitely not something you could eat for breakfast every day without dying.

We found a table at a cafe on the square and had coffees while watching the passing parade of humanity, including many tour groups, before finally taking the Metro back to our hotel, picking up our stuff and heading off to the airport.


Terminal 4 of the Madrid Airport is pretty cool, with a wavy roof that casts circular patterns of sunlight on the floors. Our flight back on Iberia was terrible -- we were jammed up against a bulkhead between business and economy class, with very little legroom. In fact our seats were so bad that Dave intends to complain. He and another guy in our row had to sit with their knees in the aisle because they couldn't fit into their seats. It was absurd. (I barely fit, and I was in a middle seat to boot. Fortunately I managed to lose myself in my book and ignore the crying baby behind me.)

Now we have a week of rest before we're off on the next adventure!

24 comments:

Jim Davis said...

Starbucks in Madrid? Yikes, next thing you know we'll export McDonalds.....That terminal is stunning. Cheers!

Jim Davis said...

Churros con Chocolate, kill me now, i will die happy!!

Andrew said...

I love all the photos in the post and I am certainly a person who would revisit where I knew years ago. I would have to drag Ray along, who saw no point 'living in the past', as he described it.

Madrid looks so nice and in on my bucket list, the bucket with a very large hole in the bottom.

roentare said...

The streets are so original. Love the urban vibe there. Nice time in Spain

Moving with Mitchell said...

What a great trip down Memory Lane and great new memories. We used to have a restaurant nearby called Maestros de Carne (Masters of Meat).

Boud said...

That was an astonishingly fast trip.I think I'm in the camp of people who don't revisit old haunts, but you seem to get a lot out of it.

Ed said...

Flying just isn't what it used to be. Instead of something to look forward too, now it is mostly about how much misery can I endure to get someplace else.

Jeanie said...

That photo of Metropolis is -- well, stunning, with the floral foreground. And you aced the lighting on that other building. I like the idea of a museum of ham! I get what you mean about reliving certain parts of past travels. I confess that I do that in England, at least sometimes. But if it matters, then that's what counts. At least, that's what I tell myself!

Bob said...

Love the architecture, the old and the new!

Ms. Moon said...

I was just thinking yesterday how it seems that even when we travel we seek out places we've been before. And not just the special places but the mundane ones. Does it comfort us to see that life, in some ways, goes on as we imagine it?
Of course, the places you remember in Madrid are not mundane at all. What beautiful architecture! And that Metro is a work of art unto itself.

Ellen D. said...

I love the photos of those buildings! Aren't they fabulous?! I will never see those in person so I love getting the tour through you, Steve. You do such a nice job of explaining what we are seeing. Thanks!

Marcia LaRue said...

I love seeing all of the pictures of places I will never see for myself!
I believe we go back to places that hold good memories for us, not the negative places!

Sharon said...

That churro and chocolate looks delicious. Great photos. You found some beautiful buildings to photograph. Sounds like a fun little adventure.

gz said...

Building on memories.. can't fault that.
And keep.on having adventures!!

Pixie said...

Love the photos and who says you can't have choclate for breakfast every morning?

Debby said...

Is that like semisweet dark chocolate? Interesting that your memories wove themselves so beautifully into this trip.

Margaret said...

Those churros in chocolate--so yummy! Madrid, like so many European cities, has gorgeous buildings. Starbucks here opens at 5 am so 8 is relatively late. :)

Kelly said...

Between the leg room (or lack thereof) and the crying baby, it sounds like the flight from hell to me. I hope it wasn't a terribly long one.

Susan said...

Madrid is special for you and revisiting old haunts along with new is always fun. The terminal looks very updated and modern. Sadly, air travel is no longer a guaranteed good experience. I find business class is a better experience, not perfect but improved.

Barbara Rogers said...

what fun to see the heart graffiti again that you saw in Amsterdam! Loved the buildings! Oh drool on the chocolate!

Liam Ryan said...

Hello Steve
How did you manage to spot that graffiti? I don't think I would have noticed at all.
The architecture is wonderful. That yellow-walled building is so very orante.
And yep, planes have become dreadful for tall people. It's so uncomfortable. It's like they don't care about providing a comforting service as much as squeezing as people on board.
For me, I'm looking forward to visiting Madrid in a few months with my partner. I specifically want to visit the Sorolla Museum to see the work Joaquin Sorolla. I saw his paintings last year and they made me gasp they were so good.
Liam :)

Red said...

You find some interesting things like the chocolate breakfast. I would really like that one.

Allison said...

Beautiful photos. Really nice, you caught the good light.

37paddington said...

Sounds like you visited your younger self during your time in Madrid. I always find those memories feel like another life entirely. Beautiful photos!