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.

The city looks pretty again as summer comes around.

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.

Retiro in the evening without all the tourists becomes the quiet haven it was always mean to be.

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.

The area around the temple is a lovely spot to unwind.

It’s also a great spot to catch one of Madrid’s gorgeous sunsets.

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.