04.07.23 — Journal
From Soaked to Summer
After a rather rainy return to Madrid, the weather shook us with its annual sudden change from spring to summer. From one day to another I found myself in upwards of 35° of heat, so it was time to start making some outdoor plans before the temperature creeps up to a crazy 40°…
One weekend me and Sara met up for the monthly Mercado de Motores, a cool market that I last visited about six months ago. This artesanal event takes place in the Museo del Ferrocarril (Railway Museum) near my house and is a fabulous chance to grab some gifts, buy some delicious food, and stop for a drink and some lunch between some antique trains on the outdoor terrace.
Full of sausage and papas al mojo (roast potatoes in a spicy sauce from the Canary Islands), Sara and I then headed out to continue exploring my neighbourhood. We headed down to the Matadero, had a wander around the river, and made a mental note to come back to the Cervantes Theatre to catch a show at some point.
To finish off a busy weekend and after a long Sunday of admin at home, I took myself out for an evening trip around the city on a bike. This took me up to the city’s main train station, Atocha; past its most emblematic museum, El Prado; and then to its most iconic park, Retiro. It was a lovely way to cool off as I zipped around the streets of the capital as fast as the bike would let me.
The Friday after I was back with Sara for another weekend plan, this time in the form of a verbena, the Spanish term for a big summer party. As it was proudly proclaiming itself as the first verbena in Madrid, we’d decided to head over to a festival named San Antonio de la Florida (Spain isn’t great at keeping names short). There we had a drink and danced along to some hits provided by two national artists as the sun went down.
Danced-out and a little dazed by the summer heat, we then plopped ourselves down on a terrace for some much-needed icy drinks and a good rest as the stifling day gave way to a cool night. From there, Sara headed off back home on the bus as I grabbed a bike and cycled back to my flat in another nighttime ride which helped me unwind and cool off after another busy day.
The next day I fancied a bit of time alone but outside of the confines of my flat. After the worst of the heat had passed in the afternoon, I grabbed a book and headed up to the Debod Temple, a lovely spot to throw oneself on the grass and watch the world go by as the sun sets behind the mountains in the distance. That I did, sipping on my can of alcohol-free beer and people watching in between reading a bit of poetry.
To round off a weekend spent enjoying some of the city’s best offerings, I decided to head out for an early Sunday morning wander. As these walks around my neighbourhood often do, this led to the area down by the river, where I was one of the first people inside the municipal greenhouse as it opened at 10am sharp.
Inside the intricate glass structure, I enjoyed the cool respite from the sun and disconnected from the world for a few minutes amongst the tropical flora. I was especially captivated by one of the plants whose bright pink colouring was only accentuated by the sun flooding in through the window.
Once I’d left the greenhouse, I grabbed a seat on a terrace overlooking the riverside and ordered myself a large beer to refresh myself after my walk. I can only imagine what it must have looked like as I sat sipping on a pint at half ten in the morning, but as I’m currently not drinking alcohol the beer in question was, of course, non-alcoholic – and very much needed!
This just about covers the last couple of weeks, with the weather’s change from a winteresque washout to a stifling summer causing a change in all my plans. I was going to joke that I’ve switched from staying inside due to the rain to staying inside due to the heat, but I now see that I’ve actually been up to quite a lot! That’s the beauty of this blog, I guess – it’s a good reminder for when my rubbish memory fails me.