Parker, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Hereford anymore

After eight days in Madrid, we have a number of observations:

It’s easy to sleep until 10 or 11 (or noon) if you stay up until 1 or 2.

The crowd in Puerta del Sol on Monday at 1 am
Grammy-nominated singer Karrin Allyson at Clamores on Sunday night. Front row table for part of the month-long Madrid International Jazz Festival.

Spanish store brand cat food appears to be vastly tastier than premium US brands.

Why are you not feeding me?
Cat food and people food — Total of USD 28

You need to think a little bit ahead if you rely on hanging your laundry out the window to dry in late autumn (but it really only takes about 30 hours for even jeans to dry).

Be careful this far up!

The sun can be surprisingly warm even on a 53 degree afternoon in Parque de Retiro.

There is no good ending for any comment that starts with, “We should hurry up and do this because…” when you are surrounded by the food, wine, and people of Madrid.

We pushed the start of our language class to 18 November due to unforseen telecom and banking logistical challenges, not to mention the fact that we are enjoying these first leisurely days without any schedule whatsoever.  There is rarely a need to glance at a clock after you wake because if a shop you want to visit is shuttered from 2 to 5 pm (still remarkably common in Madrid), it’s certain to be open well into the evening. Plus many restaurants don’t close until 11:30 or midnight, even on Sundays and weeknights, so it’s really hard to miss dinner.

And if for some reason you are uncharacteristically restless at 3 am on a Thursday morning and just can’t fall back to sleep, it’s easy and completely safe to throw on a pair of jeans and your coat and wander the Paseo del Prado for 30 minutes or so — you’d be surprised at the number of people of all ages doing the same thing.

Perhaps we would have enjoyed this newfound freedom as much had we stayed in the US, but that’s rather doubtful.  The vibrant pulse of this city, whose residents joyously and gratefully embrace the outdoors in all but the most inclement weather, is intoxicating.  The other night after a relatively early 10 pm dinner in, Robert said, “Let’s go for a walk!” We strolled a neighborhood new to us, passing countless bars, fancy restaurants, and fast-food joints, all packed with people just out enjoying another evening.

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