I am fresh from the Spanish capital, spending 3 wonderful days in the city of Madrid. As you will have read from my previous trips, the main focus has always been to come back with some quality photographic content. On this particular trip, not so much. Rather, I found myself lost underneath deep blue skies, mountains of food and oceans of beer. Sometimes, it's just better to live life, rather than capture it.
Sure, my camera wasn’t always locked away - the shots were there. However it was nice to be able to relax my mind, unwind and have fun. That’s not to say I don’t have fun when shooting, in fact it is the most fun I have when making pictures. That said, it is hard work and requires lots of concentration, something I wanted to move away from on this trip.
I arrived in Madrid around 2pm. I went straight to my Air BnB, which was located in the centre of the city. I stayed with a lovely guy called George. He was North American, which was useful as I had previously made the most of British ignorance and not taken time to learn any of the local language. He was a photography geek too, so he was more than happy to be my trip buddy.
You can never be sure how you will interact with new people, will you have the right chemistry to have both an interesting and fun time? I knew after 5 minutes that George was my mind of guy. His dry wit and “when in Rome” (or Madrid) attitude told me I was in for a good time.
On the first night we were straight to the bars. Now for those that don’t know me - I am a light weight when it comes to drinking. Even the smell of liquor lowers my inhibitions. So here I am, with my new mate George and we are ordering whiskey cokes. I see the bar staff get the whiskey, they haven't even asked me “single or double”. The next thing I know she is pouring it, without really looking at the quantity. Let me tell you, I felt more like I had a glass of whiskey with a shot of coke and nothing tastes better than a free poured beverage. 3 sips later I am hammered. My arm is round George and his face looks concerned. He needn't worry, I kept drinking throughout the night, arrogantly bellowing “You’re welcome!” to the locals anytime a British hit got played by the DJ. We spent the evening in both “Fluanita De Tal” and “Penta”. The former, a nice little gay bar with 90s music, the latter a sweat den for people making poor life choices in the early hours of the morning. Both were great!
I woke up the next morning with a lovely hang over, questioning the previous night's behaviours. “So I just shouted you’re welcome?”. You did Dan, yes.
Nothing a quick shot of coffee and the excitement of a good breakfast can’t fix. Which brings me onto food. For those that don’t know - I am a Coeliac (Celiac). And for those that don’t know what that is - I can’t eat gluten. Let me start off by saying that Madrid is hands down, and I mean hands down, the best place I have been for gluten free food. Let me tell you about “Celicioso”, a gluten free bakery. It had everything, from cakes to cookies to burgers and pasta. I ordered the lot, just about. Allow me to break it down, this is what we had between two.
Burger & Chips
This meal was an absolute top button undoner. Food coma central with zero regret. George was even able to take a candid shot of me in my element…
In the afternoon, we free walked the streets - visiting the Palacio Real de Marid, Cathedral de Santa Maria and the back roads of the city.
I got back to the flat early evening, promptly passing out on the sofa. Cracking day.
On the 3rd and final day, I took it light. Taking time to use my camera and explore the streets of Madrid. I got lost in Parque de El Retiro, a wonderful park full of trees and greenery. I absolutely love clear blue skies. It doesn’t even have to be warm (although that’s always a bonus) for me to be content with the day, just a clear blue sky and I am feeling both tranquil and happy to be alive.
Before hitting the airport, I couldn't leave Spain without sampling some Tapas. We went to Taberna LA CONCHA, they offered a great gluten free menu. I wanted it all, however the lovely little lady who ran the restaurant told us to stop at 5 plates (we planned to have 8), by the 4th I was looking shaky. By the 5th - it was time to go home.
Madrid was great and somewhere I would highly reccomend to visit. Whilst it is lacking in famous monuments, it makes up for it with great culture, nightlife and ambience. I will be honest, on this carefree trip I wasn’t really keeping on top of costs. What I would say however, is that each time I got the bill I thought “wow that was a bargain” so it must be on the right track.
That’s for this installment. However, a couple of bits of business before I say goodbye. Firstly, I recently had an article published on Streethunters.net which explores how anxiety can affect your overall quality in your body of work. If you haven’t already, you can check it out here - My Article.
Secondly, I am currently constructing an article on the importance of taking photos of your friends and family, so keep an eye out for that.
Thanks for reading.
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