My Madrid visits typically count several weeks to a couple of months. While I miss my family here in Manila, I enjoy the solitude of being in a city where I hardly know anyone and barely understand the language. Human interaction is invariably restricted to a couple of hours daily, which is really nothing new to me.
This time, I arrived in Spain via Sevilla. Planed in from Morocco and spent a few days in this lovely Andalusian city which was base for a day trip to another lovely city, Ronda. Barrio Santa Cruz is actually how I remembered it, but my travel buddies and I were more concerned over our gastronomic pursuits. We explored enough to add more inches to our waists and hips.
Sevilla is pretty, lively and exciting. But Madrid is where my heart is. I feel most comfortable there and I never ran out of things to do ALONE there. I enjoy going out for breakfast, taking long walks, going to the Museums, visiting churches, standing in line to order drinks and tapas en barra. I have my favorite squares, mini-parks and big parks. Every now and then, I dart into malls or department stores for a cuppa in their food hall and for some “heated breaks”. The streets can be really cold especially as autumn sets in. In this weather, parks are thus less crowded. Perfect. Each day is different as leaves turn golden and trees start shedding them.
When I take long walks, I actually draw up some sort of a walking plan. More or less, I have one or 2 destinations in mind. The “aimless walks” happen after. Each adventure lasts a minimum of 2 hours. I have repeatedly visited the same Museums and chapels, except for the “military” museums which hold no interest on my part. Last Christmas I spent here, I checked out so many Nativity scenes or “belens” displayed in churches. Even took the Nativity Bus plying Madrid streets dressed up for Christmas a good 3 times! This time, I enjoyed going to parks and squares in all its autumn beauty.
Some mercados and stores are starting to sport the Christmas decor. Even street buskers are playing Yuletide music. Same with the neighborhood Church where I hear mass. El Corte Ingles should soon set up its animated stage at the back, a spectacle enjoyed by many Madrileño kids. Then I wonder if the Carillón de Madrid in Edificio Plus Ultra Seguros in Plaza de las Cortes would strike Christmas tunes as well for the viewing and listening pleasure of both kids and adults who pause every 12 noon, 3pm and 8 pm to watch those moving colorful figures representing King Carlos III, Goya (painter), the Duchess of Alba, Pedro Romero (bullfighter) and a Manola (typical peasant woman in traditional colorful dress).
I am back in Manila now. Missing my walks, my museos y paseos, my bar breaks, my little “world” and me-time. I left my walking boots there, to wait till my return. What I miss most? Looking out the window to view the side of our neighborhood church.
What else? Going to mercados and bars to enjoy some tapas and drinks. Mindlessly viewing a classic painting at the Prado, Reina Sofia or Thyssen. I had lots of time while in Madrid……. and i never wasted them. Hasta la vista, Madrid!