Madrid. Probably the only city you can walk around with Tenosynotivits (a painful cord infection close to the ankle) and actually not feel any pain. Too distracted by numerous local shops, street artists, dripping ice cream, incomprehensible conversations and the sound of Spanish music dancing through the streets.
Planning a whole afternoon with dense sightseeing, we immediately end up in a street café overlooking the city next to the Royal palace of Madrid, sipping fresh Sangria and nibbling salty chips. The city seems to be just as laid back as we feel, sitting deep in our wood woven chairs, absorbing the calmness. There is no rush, it’s seems as though time has a different meaning and hours pass without even the tiniest tinge of guilt. After tasting a couple of national specialties and wiping the grease from our fingers, we head into a crowded salsa bar.The scene is fantastic – men and women swirling lightly on the dance floor as we watch them in awe, our feet glued to the floor, clutching our mojitos to feel a little less out of place. After a while, we are also challenged to dance and as the sweet rum kicks in, we let go of our fear and give into the rhythm, forgetting our sorrows until the morning rises.
The next day – after crawling out of bed to a time I will not admit to in public – we manage to start our initial plan and have brunch at a tiny local place with terrible service but wonderful food. Afterwards, we join a free walking tour. Strolling along the Gran Via, Plaza Major and Retiro Park, we finally stumble into the most amazing place called Café del Círculo de Bellas Artes. This is a breathtaking rooftop bar, with soft, white deck chairs overlooking the entire city. We order more Sangria and watch the sun slowly sink between the roofs of Madrid.
The time in Spain was too short. It felt as though we had barely landed and were already packing our things. On the plus side, this is just another good reason to return.