Saturday 19 September
After having had the rental car for 6 days I dropped it off in Madrid again and spent 5 more nights there in a modern apartment in the funky multicultural neighborhood Lavapies, which suited me better than the extremely touristy Calle de la Cruz I stayed in before.
Lavapies also has its share of tourists but at least all the shops aren’t selling fridge magnets and such.
I visited Museum Reina Sofia during the free opening hours late at night. A bit too many different impressions of all kinds of very different styles of art. But there were some interesting things, and some beautiful Salvador Dalí paintings.
Sunday 20 September
I posted a Street food festival on http://www.couchsurfing.org and 8 people showed up to join me. Some of them were pretty quiet, others were very talkative. I enjoyed these hours together but after the afternoon I was pretty tired from this social exertion, lots of people who didn’t know each other either, and I had felt responsible for them having a good time after having brought them together.
After about 3 hours it was time to relax and be on my own again. 🙂
Afterwards I also noticed how little of the actual food market I had taken in, I had been so busy chatting with those 8 people.
A week earlier when I visited another artisan&flea market solo, I had taken way more notice of what was actually going on around me, what was for sale, what kind of people were attending. Being solo definitely has big advantages, you’re much more aware of your surroundings.
Monday 21 September – Thursday 24 September
During these multiple days in Madrid I walked around and explored districts Malasaña and Chueca, La Latina and Lavapies, shops and galleries.
For example Conde Duque gallery in a neighborhood touching Malasaña, a bit disappointing after a long trip, but I found quite a nice cafe, where an American girl was apparently giving English conversation lessons to three Spanish girls.
Madrid is quite a stoney city and it smells. Probably because it hardly ever rains. There are very nice parks but they are far apart.
Ate at Mercado de San Miguel another time, such a lovely food market!
I’m back to starting to enjoy being solo more, maybe especially so after the fun but tiring group thing through couchsurfing. Reading books a lot, enjoying terraces and parks, people watching, markets, galleries…
It took me a while to get into it, also because I have a new love at home… who can’t take enough time off to come visit.
The apartment turned out to have cockroaches! Ewww! Quite a panicky afternoon after having discovered the third cockroach.
The landlady Marianela helped me wonderfully by paying for a hotel room instead. Same hotel as the one I stayed at earlier, so I knew my way around. It was a bit annoying having to move but I was so happy Marianela understood, and paid for the hotel. This way at least I could sleep soundly without my cockroach phobia keeping me awake. (YES I know the creatures don’t harm you but hey that’s why it’s called a phobia…. 😉 )
Tuesday 22 September
I already knew how to get to Atocha train station from that hotel, having done the journey before to get the rental car. This time I took the high speed AVE train to Córdoba, a very comfortable ride. That part of the train station was like an airport with shops and food places, and luggage scanners.