Sunday, February 5, 2017

First Stop: Back to Madrid

On Tuesday, January 23 I was up early, and around 12:30 my mom picked me up and took me to the bus stop for my 1:20 bus to Chicago. Three hours later I was at O'hare, and painted with my watercolors while waiting in the terminal for my 7:20 flight.

I didn't sleep a wink on the 7-hour flight, got to Dublin around 8 a.m. local time (~2 a.m. Wisconsin time) feeling exhausted as ever, and had seven hours to wait before my connecting flight to Madrid at four in the afternoon. The hours felt just as long as they sound, and I progressively felt more and more like a zombie.

I got into Madrid around 7:30 p.m. Madrid time (1:30 p.m. Wisconsin time, the following day), took the metro to Gregorio's work (to pick up the apartment keys), had a caña there with one of his friends who works in the building, then he ordered a pizza, we ate, and I got to the apartment close to 11:30 p.m., I think. I had been awake for well over 35 hours.

Normally it takes me a few days to totally get over jetlag when I go from the states to Europe, but this extra layover really did one on my sleeping schedule. For several days I was staying up until 4 or 5 a.m., and then sleeping in way past noon. One day I woke up at 10 and thought I was finally getting over it, then the very next day I slept past noon.

I also had a low spell for a few days, so I didn't leave the apartment much that first week. I totally checked out Spain's Netflix offerings.

At one point among all of that I did a skyscanner search with origin Madrid-Barajas and left the destination blank, then sorted by price. The following morning I bought a flight to Naples, Italy for February 2 and booked a hostel for six nights. It was only while writing a letter to a friend that I realized it had been quite a while since I stayed in a hostel—as in, since Korea in 2013-14 (not counting two stays in Chicago's hostel to apply for my visa and to attend a conference two years ago). I knew the change of scenery and hostel environment would get me out of the funk and feed my curious traveler's soul. (Spoiler alert: It did!)

But back to Madrid, where it continues to feel very much like home. Here's most of what I saw/did during this most recent Madrid visit:

Visited the ABC Museum (Here's my write-up on Oh No She Madridn't)

Sketched in a restaurant while drinking "blue wine"

(then painted the sketch back at the apartment)

Sat here and sketched the Puerta de Alcalá (for a card I sent to a friend)

Saw Zuzana!

(Zuzana was one of my roommates in Madrid back in 2009-10—from Slovakia—who just happened to be in Madrid the weekend I was there, with her husband and pregnant with her second child!!)

Saw Esther!
(My Spanish friend who I met at la Universidad de la Complutense in 2010.)

Spotted a Duomo's Pizza—not Domino's (...imitation is flattery?)

Went to the Public Art Museum in Madrid 
(Here are details and logistics)

Sketched in front of the ABC Mall, which I later painted in Napoli

Briefly checked out free exhibits and the free museum in the National Library

Happily saw this "Refugees Welcome" sign in Plaza de Cibeles

¡Hasta la próxima, Madrid!
• • •


  1. Blue wine!
    Duomo's Pizza! I wonder if their pizza is just like the Domino's Pizza in the states. That would be parallel dimension weird!
    I love your painting of the Paseo de la Castellana.

  2. One of these days I'm gonna tap that "notify me" button when I make the original comment!

    1. Hah, I forget to do it too—I wish that were the default mode!

      What's even funnier (weirder?) is that Madrid actually DOES have Domino's Pizza... :)