I’ve been putting this post off, just a little bit. Because goodbyes are hard and they’re a little sad, no matter how much you say, “It’s not goodbye, it’s ‘see you later’.” Which I’m hoping this is. But I still spent 10 months in Madrid. I fell madly, madly in love with this city and my chest constricts every time I see a list like this one and I didn’t really expect that to happen, you guys. I should have, but I didn’t. So, after Seville I went back for a week and visited places I’d loved before and went to a few new places (which have been added to my Madrid Guide) and got to say good-bye to the city that I’d walked through at 06:30 to go catch the Metro, that I’d walked through with friends on my way to dinner, to football, to a movie, to Retiro, to everywhere. Madrid swept me off my feet and it was beautiful.
I wasn’t going to head back to Madrid so early. My plans for the last week in Spain had to be re-planned at the last minute when I had to leave my host family early for vacation reasons and couldn’t really afford extra days in Seville. But that was fine because Melissa bribed me back to Madrid with tickets for the Real Madrid season opener against Cordoba. It was the last chance for me to watch a match and how, how could I say no to that? So I arrived that afternoon and buzzed with excitement the entire way to the stadium, which I hadn’t been to since the Corazon Classic. The tribute to di Stefano was still up and I was so glad I got to see that in person. We won 2-0 and sat with a bunch of Cordoba fans, all of them up out of their seats the entire match and it was perfect, all of it. The football and the crowd and being back there.
I kicked around with Melissa while she packed up her apartment and headed to a new one in an area of Madrid where the metro is right across the street instead of three blocks away. We walked in the heat and drank coffee and just hung out. We talked about football and her job and her summer and my summer and just….hung out.
For one of my ‘last meals’ in Madrid, Melissa and I headed to Juana La Loca, in the La Latina area of the city. Definitely a bump in price to the places we usually frequented, but so, so worth it. With larger sized pintxos, we split four dishes and split a bottle of wine. I remember that it was still so, so hot out and we took the bus to La Latina and I missed having a monthly bus pass. That we walked the rest of the way and there were people out and it felt so much like Madrid and I was happy to be back. We spent time over dinner and our waiter kept trying to sell us on a volcano cake and we kept passing it up. He spoke Spanish and English and French and had the loveliest accent.
The second part of the week was spent with Allie where we slept in and hung around her apartment while I went to pick up my bags from my Madrid host parents and repacked them (for the last time!) and watched Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and listened to a stupid amount of Shakira. Where we went out to Kapital and I actually made it the entire night and we went across the street to Tako-Away as the club shut down and I took home donuts and Allie went with me in search of my must-have-before-I-leave-gift-to-myself. She then gamely helped me lug everything to the airport in the middle of the still ridiculously warm evening.
It was weird being back without seeing Alex or Hanna or any of the other people I’d come to know Madrid by but being back was lovely all the same. The way I hadn’t lost the ability to slide through the metro barriers or how to get to Point C from Point A. How it felt, kind of, like coming home, even a home that I was going to be leaving right away. The familiarity of the buildings and the restaurants and the constant busy-ness day to night to day again. How it was so, so obviously Madrid, with everything I loved and that annoyed me and made it the city I still can’t believe I got to live in for a year.
And so: adios, Madrid. Mi tiempo contigo era muy perfecto, muy interesante y con muchos aventuras. Te quiero y mi corazon se queda contigo. Hasta la proxima.
Things I’m Loving:
+ This guide to Madrid – (You know you want to.)
+ This adorable comic strip about a dragon – (The accuracy though.)
+ These long sleeve button downs – (But especially this one.)
+ This ridiculously attractive face – (Because why not?)