¡Madrid!

Warning: Picture-heavy post ahead

As mentioned in my last post, we went to Madrid! It was another one of PHD’s work trips, and again it was six weeks in total. We left from there three weeks ago and it was great!

We shared an apartment with the same crew as in Los Angeles, with the addition of PHD’s two descendants (one being the bean, the other PHD’s PhD student). Here’s some of us hanging out after breakfast:

Morning hangout with part of the #madrid #conferencefamily

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Unlike last time, we didn’t have any house parties, though. As you can see from the picture above, the apartment was quite small. In addition it was stuffed full of knick-knacks, which made watching the bean (who just started to crawl when we arrived) a pain in the behind. So, one of the first communal efforts was cleaning and child-proofing:

Our rental in #madrid was so dusty that we decided on an impromptu cleaning session.

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Other than that, the apartment was quite the find. It was located within short walking distance of Plaza Mayor, close to the metro station La Latina. Thus it was perfectly located to go explore the city with the bean. We mostly just went on daily walks around the neighborhood, but every now and then ventured into other areas. Here are some impressions from these walks:

Traditional vs. Modern Art

Plaza del Sol - So many people!

Plaza del Sol – So many people!

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Royal Palace – Plus some greenery

Unlike with other cities I hadn’t heard much about Madrid beforehand and thus didn’t have any expectations nor any clue what this city is like. So naturally I couldn’t be disappointed. Not that I could have been, anyway!

It was my second trip to Spain and the second city I was visiting there (the first being Sevilla, which is absolutely gorgeous!). We also went on a weekend trip to Barcelona on ascension weekend (maybe I’ll write about that as well, don’t know yet). What struck me in each of these cities was the amount of green there was. There are many parks throughout, be they small or huge. Thus, even when living in the center, as we did, the quality of life is great! The two parks that impressed me the most were the Retiro and the very new riverside park. Here are some of the things you can find in the Retiro:

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Retiro Pool – I have no idea what the monument is for

The Crystal Palace - Could be built in Rivendell

The Crystal Palace – Could be built in Rivendell

Inside The Crystal Palace - Gorgeous temporary relaxing space

Inside The Crystal Palace – Gorgeous temporary relaxing space

Statue of The Fallen Angel – Unique in the world, I was told

Of course there is plenty more to see in the park, it is absolutely huge! I retrospect, I should have spent way more time there and taken way more pictures. 😉

The other park that resonated with me a lot was the new Madrid Rio Park. To make a long story short, the highway that used to be beside the riverbank got put underground and replaced by this huge park. I think this is a freaking genius idea and should be adopted by every single city on the planet! Again, I didn’t spend nearly enough time in the park, not to speak of taking pictures, so these will have to suffice:

Futuristic Foot Bridge – Combining technology and nature in aesthetically pleasing ways

Loads Of Slides – Weeeee!

Of course I also thoroughly enjoyed eating out. After the long winter in fast and pub food city (officially known as Jyväskylä) I was craving something different. That something came in the form of tapas and pinchos, which I ate for lunch almost every day:

Today's #lunch in #madrid

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#latergram yesterday's lunch: #salmorejo in #madrid

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 Once I am back home in Finland, I want to start making tapas. I love how it allows me to eat many different things while still keeping the amount of food small. Let’s hope I can stick to that intention!

This post is already getting quite long, and I haven’t even mentioned the fabric shopping I did! I doubt I will have the time for a separate post, so I guess I will just leave that part out. Though, if you are interested in fabric shopping in Madrid, in the comments of my last post there is a very handy Google map with shop locations.

I had such a lovely time staying in Madrid, that I am sure to return (and hopefully soon!) We have more travel plans coming up, though, as PHD just got a research grant that will allow him to travel a lot in the next five years. So far, the plan includes a stay in Sydney in October and November. I would love to meet some folks there, so if you are interested, please let me know!