Really? I’ve been in Madrid for three weeks already? My concept of time has become a bit skewed since I first started my travels almost four months ago. For years I operated under the Monday-Friday work grind…getting a bit too excited for Saturday and Sunday (well…only Sunday til about 7pm when reality would set in that tomorrow is a “work day”) – then dreading the Monday morning alarm beckoning my overworked brain to peel myself out of bed and head to “the office”.
My life on the road has been a welcome change of pace. You always hear the saying “travel changes you”… it’s not this it has been this earth shattering change I’ve experienced – but a series of mini changes and experiences that tilt my perspective of HOW I should be spending my days. I used to have guilt attached to ANY form of relaxation. As an ambitious, over-achieving type, the notion of taking some time to “chill” just wasn’t in the cards. My previous mindset was that each day should be spent towards something that would benefit or enhance my future. What I realize now that is each day should be spent engaging in activities, conversations, and “things” that enhance your life NOW.
I was sitting in the airport for four hours yesterday (August 11th) and entertained myself by listening to podcasts. One message in particular stuck out to me. I’m sure we are all familiar with the “Live today like it was your last” mantra… but what this speaker suggested is that we live with a mentality that we treat others as if it were THEIR last day. Would you really want to be complaining to someone about the weather/traffic/work on THEIR last day on earth? As socially acceptable and common as “bitching” about life may be – it does nothing to enhance anyone’s mood and energy in the NOW.
In my travels I’ve met some very humble people (who may not have much but would give you the world if they could)… but also people that seem like they could never be satisfied or fulfilled even if they “have it all”. My hope for my life is that I remain humble, grateful, open-minded, and caring no matter what circumstance I find myself in. I’ve brought myself back to the basics. I have minimal “things”, limited funds with currently no income (been living off savings the past four months), and am constantly putting myself in brand spanking new environments where I don’t know the language/culture/town/people etc… YET – I keep finding myself more grateful than ever and even MORE excited about the endless possibilities that my future holds. Part of my goal in traveling is to create a unique lifestyle that is fulfilling, exciting, and loving . I realize now that boredom is just a mindset and an indicator of unhappiness somewhere in your life. BUT when you learn to pay attention and appreciate the moments that quickly pass us by… you just may find the silver lining in all things :-).
Continue reading below for highlights and photos of my 3rd week in Madrid (which is cut short because I will do a separate post about my crazy 100k trek through Northern Spain).
Day 106 – July 31 (14) – Thursday
I didn’t get much sleep since I was out the previous night/morning til 5:30am with a group of people… but in my true Lindsay manner I still woke up early! Zaida, Tania, Sarah (Tania’s sister), and I took a drive to the mountains to go to a “natural” swimming pool…. The only thing that was natural was the pool didn’t have chemicals. The pool was HUGE (like the size of 3 Olympic pools – I swear!) and was perched alongside a lake with the mountains in the background. We spent the day in the sun and swimming in the freezing cold water. You can pretty much place me in the sun by water and I’ll be a happy camper 🙂 We came back and went to city center to get our passes for El Camino Santiago which is route through France and Spain (we plan on walking 100k of it over 4 days – more on that later!). We were all SO TIRED so we came back and relaxed, ate, and watched shows.
Day 107 – August 1 (15) – Friday
Another roasting hot day in Madrid. We were keeping cool indoors and somehow got on the topic of food and drinks… and Bloody Mary’s were discussed (The most EPIC one I’ve ever had was at Simmzy’s in Belmont Shore (Long Beach), Cali – if you are around there you MUST check it out – its a party for your taste buds! While you’re at it order the brussel sprouts and arugula pizza too. hmmm I’m hungry now). After our savory discussion we went out the door to the market to get tomato juice! We spent the rest of the afternoon having some cocktails, sharing stories, doing some impromptu at home spa day stuff, ate some spicy pizza, and watched some shows. I always feel so blessed to find people that you can keep it simple with… yet have such a blast! My hosts in Madrid are like long lost sisters – we all just click so well and share similar humor. When I am completely comfortable around people my inner weirdness just comes gushing out from every pour 🙂 I think most of us have this inner goofy person… but when we are expected to act professional 90% of our week that little goofball drowns inside of us. I don’t know if its my absence from the professional world or just not really caring what people think as much anymore – but I swear I’m getting weirder by the minute (or more authentic — if you want to look at it that way). There are so many funny moments and stories from this day but I was told – “Lindsay… I’m scared of what you are going to write on your blog this week.” — haha. So with that… I will end today’s post 🙂
Day 108 – August 2 (16) – Saturday
Spent the day exploring Madrid and doing touristy things. We started off at some Egyptian ruins then worked our way around town:
Temple of Debod -an ancient Egyptian temple which was rebuilt in Madrid. It is an authentic Egyptian temple built in the 2nd century BC in the village of Devod. – http://www.madridtourist.info/debod_temple.html
Mercado de San Manuel – a tourist trap of a market but we came here to enjoy a crisp glass of white wine and window shop the delicious looking tapas.
Churros at San Gines – Famous for its churros and chocolate… and putting you in a sugar induced como post consumption! – The Chocolatería San Ginés is a café at Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5, in central Madrid, in a passageway close to San Ginés church, west of the Puerta del Sol. It has served principally chocolate con churros since 1894. — After our churros we wandered next door to this place that had a special of 2 drinks and an appetizer of sorts for 4 Euros!!! SCORE! Hmmm… guess the diet starts tomorrow 😉
Puerta del Sol – The Puerta del Sol is one of the best known and busiest places in Madrid. This is the centre of the radial network of Spanish roads. — We were on our way to another market so we took a pit stop so I could get a photo of the bear with the tree (El oso y el madroño). I also took a quick trip into the Apple store because I’ve had a speck of something in my camera on my IPhone… only to find out its not a speck but that “one of the pixels” isn’t working and I would need a new phone. NO THANKS. I’ll deal with my speck – however it does annoy me trying to hid it when I am taking photos! oh wells – my problems could be much bigger than a camera speck haha.
Mercado de San Anton -another fancy type of market in Madrid… to the likings of a Whole Foods.. with separate little specialty areas. We shared a bottle of wine and flirted with a little baby seated at the table behind us. You know what they say about Spanish men…. guess they start em early! 😉
In the evening after our day of adventures we went back to Inma’s (one of my host’s friends) house and had a very American meal of hamburger. As per usual it was a night full of laughter and good times!
Day 109 – August 3 (17) – Sunday
Relaxed in the morning and did some writing. In the afternoon Tania and I went to Reina Sofia Art Museum since it had free admission… we made it about 20 minutes before we left. All we really looked at was the massive Picasso painting Guernica. I’m just not a museum-y type of person. I TRY. I really do. But some of the blobs of metal and scribble scrabble — I just don’t GET IT. I always leave art museums thinking that perhaps I could have a future in art. Don’t get me wrong – those amazing detailed paintings and sculptures are beautiful and take such skill – but the other 90% of what is in the collections are just simple and unimpressive in my opinion. As we were leaving we entered the elevator after a couple had exited and it reeked so horribly of body odor to the point where I felt I was suffocating. The next floor down another couple got on and Tania and I just gave a look to each other like “We hope they don’t think its us!” and starting laughing. Once out of the elevator and ferociously inhaling fresh air… we found a café to get a drink and something to eat. We sat and chatted about life and relationships in our mix of Spanish and English. Compared to our ability to communicate the first few days — we have made great strides! PROGRESS – I’ll take it!
Day 110 – August 4 (18) – Monday
Literally did NOTHING but relax and write. Hot day in Madrid. We went in the afternoon to buy some food for the walk but THAT was about it. Figured I would be walking 100k in the next four days so decided to be super duper lazy.