After trekking for twenty-four hours, LB + I slept in today. Though simple + almost staid, our little room has charm. Part of it is our balcony on the third floor that gives a stunning view of Sol, a swarming, hip barrio in Madrid. After taking our sweet-ass time, we got dressed, went to a café to jump on the wifi train for a couple of hours + drink possibly the most delicious juice cocktail I’d ever had, freshly squeezed pineapple, banana, strawberry + orange juice in this large glass goblet large enough to satiate every member of the Spanish Academy.
Finally, after realizing that Spaniards can—and do—smoke anyplace they damn well please, we decided to leave the café + walk to the Parque del Retiro, eat some bread + olives, and drink a caribe drink that tasted exactly like a virgin piña colada. Then we strolled around the lake as clusters of koi formed pockets of red-orange gelatin underneath the water. Then, we took some pictures of the memorial for King Felipe IV, bought a Lime-Pineapple popsicle + sat down on another bench, marveling at how clean the park was. Compared to most parks in Buenos Aires where dog shit + piss forms a protective barrier over the topsoil, + garbage + cigarette butts are littered everywhere on the lawn + sidewalk, Parque del Retiro was insanely clean + well-maintained in comparison. I saw no less than two sanitation workers emptying + collecting errant garbage in the two hours we were there (which is two more than I ever saw in an Argentine park, hate to say it).
Finally, we were ready to hit the Prado. Even though the security guard harassed me for having a mate bombilla in my satchel (I forgot to unpack it when we were in Chicago for those six tiny hours), a fact that’s even more ironic considering that LB was carrying a fucking Swiss Army Knife in her purse, even so, the Prado was impressive. I admit, I’m not a huge fan of art before the 19th century. Even so, the Prado had a small + excellent collection of paintings by Goya, Velázquez, Rubens, El Greco + Carvaggio. I’m not a huge fan of blood’n’guts Catholicism + portraits of European aristocrats tend to bore the living hell out of me, but that said, I thought the collection was extensive + fairly impressive. And despite the fact that the security guards (and some stared at my tattoos (this happened every time I went into Coto in Buenos Aires too, for reasons I never really understood), LB + I saw some of the most famous Spanish art in the world, which was rad. Afterwards, we were mad hungry so we went to a supercheap Thai restaurant + then walked around Sol for an hour, taking multiple shots of Madrid to get that perfect slow-shutter speed shot that makes you feel—no matter how impermanently—like a professional.
Part of Me Wanted to Believe this Was a Commemoration for the Importance of the Patata in Spanish Cuisine, but No