Sunday, 2 May 2010

A Luvverly Day

Like most of the slobs on this planet, I am quite capable of staying in bed until noon or beyond on a Sunday. But this morning was different. I was awake at five a.m., and began thinking about my new project. In my head, I was designing the workflow for the production facility, and even had an idea for how the façade should look. Then I moved on to directing the CGI animated TV commercial. Sleep was avoiding me, so I gave in and got up at seven. MamaDuck showed no signs of stirring, so rather than disturb her I got dressed and went out in search of a coffee.

On a triple holiday (Sunday / Dos de Mayo / Mother's Day), most cafés were resolutely closed (okay, it was also a tad early for most of them), and I was about 2km from home by the time I found an open one. I had a chat with a couple of young Spanish guys who were rounding off their night out with a couple more beers (I kid you not), and when I left the café, the sun was giving a bit of warmth to the day and I didn't feel like going home.

I had an idea. I would do something MamaDuck has repeatedly tried to get me to do previously, i.e. go to the Rastro. The Rastro is a huge flea market that takes place in the La Latino / Embajadores areas in the south of the city. It's more or less over by one or two in the afternoon, and I don't really like it because of the crowds. But I thought if I got there early enough it wouldn't be too bad.

Unfortunately, I'd left my sense of direction at home, and I soon found myself in Argüelles and then Moncloa, which are in the west end of Madrid. So I started heading east, and ended up in good old Chueca. I headed west again, along Gran Vía / Princesa before realising that what I should really try to do was head south a bit. And so it was that when my phone rang at about nine, I was outside the Palacio Real. I told MamaDuck I was on my way to the Rastro, and invited her to meet me there.

'Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?' she demanded. Anyway, she said she would come. And I realised that the top end of the Rastro (it's actually on a very long, straight, steep street) was somewhere near Plaza Mayor, so I headed up there. I stopped at a café for a thirst-quenching caña (small beer), and tootled down the hill to Calle de Toledo, which, if you proceed in the right direction, takes you to the Rastro. I realised the crowds were going the opposite way to me, so I turned round and followed them, and pretty soon was at the bar outside La Latina Metro station where we'd agreed to meet. She wasn't there, so I sneaked another quick caña and went outside to find a bench to sit on - that particular bar is all counter and no seats, and my little legs were a bit weary from all the walking. I soon spotted the boss and we went to another caff where we could sit outside and have a bit of breakfast.

We mooched through the Rastro - it was fairly busy, but not unpleasantly so, and about halfway down the hill I spotted an inviting-looking archway. We went through it and found ourselves in a marvellous Italianate courtyard with antique shops at ground level and lining the gallery above (I can't remember the name - it was Galerias de something) - I'll go back there one day with my camera.

The Rastro, with its infinite array of tat of all descriptions, didn't have anything we wanted to buy, so we carried on to the bottom of the hill, fought our way through the crowds on the Ronda de Toledo, and then escaped up into Lavapiés where a couple of cool drinks were waiting for us on a pavement table. The Spanish Air Force kindly put on a couple of fly-bys for us, and finally we made our way to Retiro Park to look at trees and ducks and swans, and consume a bit more beer and a sandwich.

The sky was turning cloudy at this point, and it was half past three, so we went and found a bus and came home. Perfect day, really. And I reckon I'll sleep okay tonight.

1 comment:

nzm said...


We had a great day yesterday playing in our complex' women's padel tennis tournament. Jen got into the final with her partner, but lost to 2 women who regularly play padel together, who with some luck in the draw, managed to also team up for the competition. T'was fun, tho!