You know, I was walking out of the office yesterday afternoon thinking, “Oh, today’s Friday! That means I get to go home early and take a nap need to post a photo.”

And yet, here is it, 24 hours later, and no photo. (Or nap.)


To make up for it, here are several photos from The Best Place On Earth, aka Madrid. This is the view from a hostel I stayed in the first time I visited Madrid (summer ’05). Behold el Gran Vía:


I remember waking up to the sounds of the city, climbing down out of my bunk, and slipping out onto the teeny tiny balcony with my camera. I stood there smiling down at the commotion and barely believing that I had come here all by myself. (Aisha stayed in Barcelona, then went to Vigo to see Claudio, then met back up with me for the return trip to Houston.) I gave myself two days to be with Madrid, and when I left, I knew it wasn’t enough.

The following year I arranged a summer study abroad session through IES, which included a homestay. My host Ana happened to live near my university and near the royal palace, and also happened to be a wonderful woman who liked to cook for me. It couldn’t have been more perfect if I’d written it.

Here is a horse-drawn chariot on the promenade by the palace, where I often did homework or other reading, writing, and thinking:

misc madrid 010

This is an ant:

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No, Madrid doesn’t have an ant problem (at least not that I know of) but I thought it was a cool photo. I took it at a park in the western extremities of Madrid (I think Casa del Campo, but I can’t remember for sure) when Alex and Teo were both visiting me. We rode the cable car to the edge of the city and had a great view looking out over all of Madrid. (And yet, I posted the picture of the ant…)

Finally, this is a picture of el Parque del Buen Retiro, my favorite park in Madrid, in Spain, and maybe anywhere. Retiro is very much in the center of the city and its inhabitants usually reflect that. This was a typical night in the summer, full of activity, full of people, full of life.

feria de libros y buen retiro 007

Funny story: the first time I ever went to Retiro, some guy tried to hit on me. He told me I looked good, like I was dressed to go dancing in a club. At the time I was wearing a t-shirt and navy blue corduroy shorts.

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