After successfully last-minute-booking a bus ticket in-between having lunch and packing my bags, it took me half of the day to get back to Lisbon from where my bus was going to leave for Madrid at night. As I still had some hours of spare time in Lisbon and faith wanted it that way, I spontaneously met with Helena and Fritzi, the two German girls whom I met in Arcachon on my first day, for some drinks at a bar in the city centre. After having exchanged our experiences from the past week it slowly started to rain, which was the sign for me to leave Portugal for now as a new city was awaiting me.
Wednesday, August 29th
Driving all night had the advantage of me arriving early in the morning at Madrid’s bus station from which I drove directly into the city centre. As I had already been in Spain’s capitol two years ago, I could briefly remember some parts of the city centre and was able to find my way around Gran Vía. I bought myself something to eat and a coffee which I then drank while waiting for Pilar, whom I had met in Munich a few weeks earlier. She was spending some time abroad for her studies when, out of pure chance, we met in the subway late in the evening which she had taken to go to a karaoke-night with some friends. As I found out that she was living in Madrid, I promised to come visit her this summer, which I was now doing.
After leaving my baggage in a locker where it would spend the rest of the morning, we went to a small café and had a second breakfast in the rising sun. The city was slowly waking up, yet the atmosphere still remained very calm compared with the busy everyday life that usually inhabited it. We looked at the people passing by, and once we had finished, started walking through the eastern part of the city. During the first morning hours Pilar showed me most of the attractions as well as some local specialities which she shared with great enthusiasm with me. We then made our way back and checked-in to our Airbnb which was located directly in the city centre and had a small balcony, which faced Calle de la Montera and which we would spend lots of time on.
After having had something small to eat, we first went to a library as I had wanted to buy myself a book to freshen-up my Spanish skills, which over the course of two years had slowly begun to diminish. When entering the second-hand library, I knew that if I were to find a suitable book, it would be here. And so, I did. After some minutes of rummaging through the heaps of books on the shelves, I found “El amor dura tres anos” a small book whose preview text started with the sentence: “Al principio, todo es hermoso, incluso tú” - que verdadero.
Thursday, August 30th
When I woke up on the next day, the sound of the streetlife could be heard and some sunrays were making their way through the closed shutters. I’m usually a morning person but whenever I get the chance to, I like staying in bed, sometimes reading, sometimes half dozing, on this particular morning reading the book I had bought the day before, “El amor es un combate perdido de antemano” declared the first page. I then got up and made breakfast with Pilar, who had already been to the bakery and brought back enough food for an entire feast. With some fresh coffee and toast we sat down on the balcony and enjoyed to morning sun.
Upon having finished breakfast I got out my camera and started taking pictures of her, to which she ensisted on taking some of me as well. A series of balcony photographs emerged from this forth and back play with the camera, photographs which captured the morning mood in a very natural way. Soon, we left the apartment and made our way through the busy streets of Madrid to the Museo Reina Sofia, which Pilar had wanted to visit with me.
We spent most of the afternoon in the museum, with the visit of Picasso’s “Guernica” undoubtedly being the highlight of it. The size of the picture left me impressed and unable to express any feelings towards it for a good minute, with “that’s a picture I’d hang up in my house” being my final reaction to it. I was amazed. To sooth the effect it had made on me, or better said to celebrate it, we got some tinto de verano, spanish summer wine, at a supermarket and drank it on our little balcony, all while watching the people passing by underneath. “El universo sonríe”.
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