Off to Malaga

Leaving Madrid was sudden so much so I found myself rushing to pack. We had laundry drying all over the apartment and food in the refrigerator. I decided to sit and have breakfast and finally use the internet which had been off the day before. Then I noticed her bags all near the door and I was still drinking a mug of coffee. She seemed really agitated at me not getting ready but I felt more compact than her. I'd packed up a lot last night so I was totally fine with not being speedy. Our host came up to assist us and they spoke for some time in the foyer. I hurriedly washed my dishes and situated my things. He helped carry our bags again but she kept trying to strong-arm and take her own things down three flights. Once at the door we said our goodbyes and began the walk through Plaza Mayor to the Sol Metro station. Once underground our particular train was not running so we were re-routed another direction back to Atocha. Lets just say it was a sweaty mess because we were crunched for time and carrying a lot.


City Highlight: Madrid's Sol

As mentioned Madrid has 21 districts and 128 wards. Each district provides its on unique layout, demographic and culture making Madrid quite … complicated. I really didn't come to Madrid with intentions to explore these areas. However, after visiting the few places we did I left Madrid wanting more. Regardless of the heat and the lack of interesting foods, there was a great history permeating the streets. Madrid may be a valley city but it is lush with greenery, teeming with spirit and never ending with things to see and do. Prado may be its most popular tourist destination but there is plenty of color and fascination outside of its doors. 


Tales of AirBnB

I have always been a skeptic of paid couch surfing. The reality is you never know the nature of the people or the quality of the location until you yourself are locked in. There really is no way to pre-determine the safety of one of these places. I don't want to sound paranoid but whose to say your two day rental isn't involved in human trafficking and whats holding a common renter from illegally allowing a sublet? In fact, no one can tell you what you are getting yourself into - not even these high end rental companies like AirBnB. There are smaller ones that claim to have physically viewed properties or guarantee "safety" but AirBnB doesn't have time for that. Fact checking doesn't always have to be up to date. You've seen it in the news, people either booking into places that didn't appear how they looked online or people taking advantage of renters. I guess its a two way street - they have to be choosy and so do you. You also have to remember Air BnB or whatever rental booking site you choose doesn't always take the blame.

Museo Del Prado

On our last day in Madrid we decided to venture to a museum row just north of Puerta de Sol. We both had no idea what to expect and simply walked up to the vicinity of Prado to see what was being shown. At first we stumbled into what I now know is City Hall. From the exterior it was covered in banners about different art exhibitions in the city. So I had her use her Spanish to figure out where to go next. We were told to keep east on the same street and we finally found an epic building with a ton of gothic columned entrances. Just beyond it was a botanical garden and quite a few high end hotels. It was clear we were in a way different part of town. We decided that we would go into Prado to cool off and then consider the gardens.


Upon arrival in Madrid we came from below ground. We arrived in the middle of a plaza with a statue of a huge bear. We then immediately noticed the policia. We'd surely noticed them in Barcelona but their presence was heavier in Madrid. In this particular square they roved in vehicles with their hairy forearms hanging out the windows. Spain's cops are pretty damn sexy without even trying. They all seem to be these late 30's early 40's salt & pepper haired, blue eyed beasts with long thighs and intense machismo. We soon sought them out choosing which one to marry and or have babies with. When we had our first dinner outing we strolled in and out of their range. They equally roved by us driving slowly between the shops and restaurants. 


Lost on Lunes and Murder on Mayor

We made the mistake of arriving in Madrid on a Sunday morning. Her and I had been pretty cordial through Barcelona. Hell we even had fun at times. However, I was tired. I was exhausted carrying all of that stuff from point A to point B. I had bought a lot of random stuff in Barcelona, we had food to travel with and both of us found ourselves carrying a ton of dirty clothes. After spending the afternoon briefly strolling and spotting the theater I really wanted to see "The Great Gatsby" since we'd already missed it in two other countries. She asked that we skip it so our first night was more about getting some grocery and staying in for the night. We started the laundry which would have to be air dried as Europeans do. Everything about the laundry was strategic since she brought lace everything. I spent the night struggling to hang my practical items while she bullied me out of space for her one size fit all thongs. 

Movin On To Madrid

I never had the time to get excited for Madrid. I honestly didn't do any research and didn't know what to expect. We'd spent five nights in Barcelona and I was jaded. We had a horrible hotel, even worse food and I just wanted to get out of there. In my eyes the place was way too touristy and polluted. I was looking for refuge and relaxation in Spain. All I ever felt was the overwhelming sense to get on to something new. We had done the beach, the museums and walked the popular spots. We had also done the nightlife, chilled in our crappy room and began to feel like five days was entirely too much. Then to finally pack, get down to the lobby and get slapped with city taxes … it was definitely time to move on to Madrid.


Suntanning: Healthy Glows, Vitamin D and Laying Out

Forgive me for I am a little Black girl from the city. I never think of the sun and I don't care for it. I've slowly gained an appreciation. Just know this is coming from someone who once thought of the sun as unforgiving and cruel. I never exactly preferred dark skies, humidity and rain - I just didn't know the "benefits" of the sun. Again, I've avoided the beach. I've never gone on real vacations. I've also spent the majority of my life hiding my hair from the elements. I never correlated joy with the outdoors although I go camping. When I camp I'm usually indoors or out to play after dark.There has never been any wanted act of soaking up actual rays. Tanning on La Playa was my first ever experience with "utilizing" the sun. I've never understood the act of tanning. I never knew why it was necessary. I just rolled with my naivety and always pretended to get it.