Michael Jackson blares in the background, the sound of street scenes and babies squealing drift in my window, and it’s hard to concentrate when on a sunny Sunday life is just so full of sound and colour. Being my last Sunday in Madrid I sit feeling melancholic, pensive, excited, and over caffeinated as I write this and wonder what I have learned from this experience.
The days outings have made me fall in love with Madrid all over again, and it’s only now reflecting on the past four months that it dawns on me what a remarkable city I have been living in, with such a diverse culture and environment so different from the one that I was born into.
Madrid lives it’s life on the streets, it’s true. While in New Zealand we’re used to the great outdoors, adventuring, playing in the sand and surf, and getting muddy on the farm, outdoor living is vastly different to how it is here– yet still, everyone spends their time outside.
Their social life is on the streets, spending time strolling, browsing, and most of all – eating and drinking. Long days spent lazing at outdoor tables with multiple tapas to ease the appetite, while never really feeling full. Bloody Mary’s and cocktails for brunch, bottomless glasses of red wine – the whole extended family enjoying a Sunday together catching up on life and talking at full volume. It’s a life of leisure.
I think kiwis could take a note from the Spaniard Book! Sundays are a day of rest. Shops should be closed, it should be a day for family and friends, and making an effort to build relationships in person – all invited. My friend and I pondered how this could be replicated in our own cities. Could the tapas and leisurely social Sundays really be replicated? Even if you provided the venues, the menus and the motivation, is it a cultural thing that cannot in fact be taught or encouraged?
Indeed I will miss the 3, 4 or even 5 course lunches that are a Spanish norm. Really, who wants one lunch when you can have 5?
The pictures below are from around the area of San Miguel Mercado and a place called Restaurante Ene. Perfecto for brunch and seriously great value for the food you get. Cocktails, breads and pastries, 2 courses, a dessert and a coffee for 22 Euros. Eat Your Heart Out!!
And so you have it, I have now spent my last leisurely Sunday eating, drinking and being merry. Not that London is a big black hole, and good god I am looking forward to a pie, but for now, I am back to something similar to home; A cultural environment that is familiar, a language that is familiar, and no awkward directional challenges from being brought up on the left hand side (you know when you try to pass a person in the street and you both step the same way about forty times – yeah that’s me EVERY DAY)!
I am both excited, and sad at moving on yet again – but Onwards and Upwards, to Bigger and Better things. I like this progression!!!