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Hasta luego, Madrid

And in one final gulp, it was over. Madrid, in all its Spanish capital city glamour and grit, downed like a final splash of a tinto de verano.

Loving the experience of living in Spain and traveling came naturally, but falling for La Capi unfolded in layers.  I can only dream about what another year here would do.  I think it would be even harder to pull me away.

It was a beautiful opportunity to live life anew— to make new friendships, work with new colleagues, teach new students, explore new barrios, learn new Spanish phrases, and feel new emotions.  There was a sense of adventure present on even the most routine of days.  I walked with purpose and never wished away the weeks.  As the seasons changed, so did I— a personal change that one can never fully predict.  Looking back to the emotion filled weeks leading up to my move abroad and the nerves that followed, I can say from there to here, it was all worth it.

I’m sitting in Café Commercial, one the the city’s oldest cafés, situated on a prominent corner at Metro Bilbao, right down the street from my flat.  There’s history in this place and life still left in it, but alas the café con leches will cease and after more than a century, its doors will close.  So often we’re not ready for the end, but must toast to the good, regardless.

Dodging the 100 degree blaze on la calle, and the insufferable heat of my apartment, I’m cooling off in the café, cold caña in hand, contemplating my experience living abroad in Madrid.  Reflecting upon the moments I loved remind me that moving here will forever be one of my best life decisions.

Here are some of the scenes I hold dear:

Treasure hunting in El Rastro

Sunday market, El Rastro

Sunday market, El Rastro

A quiet street of El Rastro

A quiet street of El Rastro

Afternoons in museums

Museo Sorolla, one of my favorites

Museo Sorolla, one of my favorites

Sunny winter days

Wednesday afternoons tutoring Jesús and Marta

Looking up at Madrid’s beautiful facades

Bright buildings make for lovely walks through town

Bright buildings make for lovely walks through town

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Hardly ever a dull facade

Sundays in La Latina

Sunsets in Retiro Park

The light and ambience are magical

The light and ambience are magical

The Peacock garden in Retiro

The Peacock garden in Retiro

Retiro Park

Retiro Park

Exploring Madrid’s many neighborhoods, yet feeling I only got my feet wet— Barrio de las Letras, Conde Duque, Chueca, Chamberí, Malasaña, Salamanca…

Barrio de las Letras, the literary quarter

Barrio de las Letras, the literary quarter

Graffiti in Malasaña

Graffiti in Malasaña

Graffiti in Malasaña

Graffiti in Malasaña

Strolling through an interior design street fair in Barrio de las Letras

Strolling through an interior design street fair in Barrio de las Letras

Sipping vino tinto on terrazas

Falling in step with the Spanish— late lunches and dinners

Grand views at sunset

La Catedral de la Almudena

La Catedral de la Almudena

Sunset is good to Madrid's cathedral

Sunset is good to Madrid’s cathedral

Taking the best Spanish class ever

The Alonso Martinez metro station violinist

Hikes outside the city

Fresh air and mountains are just a bus ride away

Fresh air and mountains are just a bus ride away

Spending an evening of prayer with sweet Sisters

Quiet moments of prayer in churches scattered throughout the city

El Convento de las Trinitarias Descalzas, burial place of Cervantes, author of Don Quijote

El Convento de las Trinitarias Descalzas, burial place of Cervantes, author of Don Quijote

La iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito near Retiro Park

La iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito near Retiro Park

Having so much life just a short walk or metro ride away

Reuniting with Camino friends

Meeting up with a  lovely mix of new friends whenever and wherever

So many dogs— especially all the white Scotties

Sharing jamón, patatas bravas, huevos rotos, and my beloved, tortilla with amigos

One of the prime reasons America is lacking

One of the prime reasons America is lacking

I'll miss you La Ardosa. I'll be back.

I’ll miss you La Ardosa. I’ll be back.

and

Plaza sitting, watching the lives of a mix of generations unfold 

It’s not goodbye, Madrid, only hasta luego.

Daytrip to San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Daytrip to San Lorenzo de El Escorial

El Escorial, a short bus ride from Madrid

El Escorial, a short bus ride from Madrid

Daytrip to Valle de los Caídos, church built in the mountain and memorial to the fallen in the Civil War

Daytrip to Valle de los Caídos, church built in the mountain and memorial to the fallen in the Civil War

Día del libro art outside the Biblioteca Nacional

Día del libro art outside the Biblioteca Nacional

Raindrops at Atocha station

Raindrops at Atocha station

Las Ventas, Plaza de Toros

Las Ventas, Plaza de Toros

El Palacio Real on an uncharacteristic cloudy day

El Palacio Real on an uncharacteristically cloudy day

 

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I am so madly in love with Madrid and miss it deeply! These photos really capture what it feels like to live there.

    August 18, 2015

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