Friday, February 25, 2011

Day 108: The Myriad of Madrid

It's difficult to put my time in Madrid into words. I spent a great deal of time wandering. Passing street after unknown street, peering into shop windows, laughing at fat spiderman, I discovered something.

A fancy prancy archway thinger.

I flew out of the United States knowing that I had a place to stay in Florence for a few days and nothing more. Throughout this trip I've done very little planning. I have always had such a great time wherever I am, no matter what I'm doing. While wandering in Madrid, it occurred to me why.

Old ladies.

Whenever I plan something I create an ideal in my head. I think if all actions don't go according to plan then I will have missed out because I fell short of my plan. However, if I don't plan anything I appreciate every experience because I don't have anything to compare it to. When something goes my way, it seems much cooler. Anyway, that's how I approached most of my time in Madrid.

It's laundry day. I walked around all day with these pants.

Madrid is a huge metropolis with many fruits to offer. Puerta del Sol and Madrid's Plaza Mayor are full of colorful characters. I wish I had photos but when I explored them I didn't bring my camera. If you go to Plaza Mayor be sure to get a photo with fat spiderman. The indoor food market, Mercado San Miguel,  is amazing. Treat yourself to a hefty sampling of tapas, sangria, and patatas fritas. The museums in Madrid, such as the Prado, Reina Sophía, and Thyssen are some of the most famous in the world. You're also welcome to enjoy, prostitution and drinking outside, although I didn't partake in either.

Madrid's Plaza Mayor!
This guy tried to screw me out of some dinero.
Mi encanto Mercado San Miguel.
Fishy tapas are delicious tapas.
Olive oil fried patatas fritas.

Two beautiful women were kind enough to host me while I was in Madrid. The first one, Lee Ann, was introduced to me by one of my professors from Pratt. One of the many reasons why I enjoyed staying with her was because she was the first non-CouchSurfer that I stayed with in nearly three months. I could tell that she wasn't used to strangers staying in her apartment. I really enjoyed this experience because it made me reflect on my hosts.

The madhouse of El Tigre.
How come more Europeans arn't fat?
'The House of Feet' wouldn't sound as sexy in English.

Lee Ann and I enjoyed many days worth of good times together. I did a lot of cooking and some of my meals turned out pretty delicious. I'm sure she'll confirm in a comment, but I cooked a pretty mean tart with jamon, onion, olive, red peppers, and cheese. We also spent a lot of time talking, sipping coffees, and noshing on dulce de leche at the café across the street. One night we went out to a Flamenco performance. We stopped by El Tigre, an all you can eat tapas bar (it was gross and amazing). Then we waddled into Casa Patas for some Flamenco dancing. I had no idea how erotic this dance was. Every aspect, from the voice of the singer, to the dancing, to the rhythm seethed sexual tension. Tease and release were seductively apparent – I had an amazing time. If you're in Madrid, despite the hefty price tag, going to see a Flamenco dance will be worth your while.

Sexy singing.
Sexy rhythm.
Sexy faces.
Sexy ladies.
Sexy dancing. 
Sexy time!!!

My second host was a friend of one of my good friends from Pratt. It was excellent staying with someone that I knew from the United States. Four months into traveling the absence of family and friends is starting to wear on me. Lolly was an awesome host, despite that she didn't give me the jar of peanut butter she promised me. She showed me around her neighborhood, including a cathedral with some of Goya's frescos, it was also where he was buried. We also enjoyed a gorgeous sunset on top of a look out point. The skies in Europe seem much larger than the skies in the north of the US. If you've ever traveled to the South of the United States you know that the skies seem to stretch on forever – same in Europe.

It was so good to see Lolly.
How come all of my best photos are lucky accidents?
A magnificent sunset!
Thanks ladies!

Madrid was most excellent. Although I had a great time, I secretly prefer Barcelona! It is hard to beat Barcelona's combination of culture, architecture, and beaches. The nice thing about Madrid is that it's so central and easy to visit other cities. Besides refining the art of aimless wandering, I enjoyed many parts of Madrid. In particular, visiting the Reina Sofía and the Prado museums was most inspiring. Log online to find out when they are free but get there as soon as you can because you'll need the entire amount of time to absorb it all. Muchas gracias to Madrid and my gracious hosts!


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