far too much writing, far too many photos

4 a.m. Still in Madrid, but not for long. (Sniffle.) Will be flying back to the States today via Heathrow. Will have to make the same adjustment, weatherwise, that I made back on April 1, going from perfect weather to forecasts of rain/snow for northern Vermont.

Snow. April 30th.

Ah, well — it’ll pass.

Local existence has settled into the warm-weather version of life: summer clothing, gazpacho appearing on restaurant menus, people sitting at tables outside in the warm air. Couples out together, kids running around in groups, some in school uniforms, others chasing soccer balls. Laughter, voices calling out, occasional bursts of song or music. And through it all, warm sunshine, soft breezes.

Went hunting for somewhere new to eat lunch yesterday. Looked at a bunch of menus in a bunch of restaurant windows, finally settling on a place I’d been to maybe a year ago with a few people, el Restaurante Bogotá, three or so blocks from here in a direction I tend not to go when in search of a meal. The offerings for the day featured cocido madrileño, an indigenous concoction I haven’t had in months. I went for it.

El cocido appears on menus when cooler weather arrives in the autumn — a hearty, even heavy meal in two courses, the kind that, er, sticks to the ribs. Surprisingly good when done well. Less good when not. This one suited me fine.

Cocido means ’stew’ (also, ‘cooked’); it’s prepared overnight, a heap of food (garbanzos, cabbage, potatoes, several kinds of meat) simmering in broth. Before serving, the broth is separated out and served as the first course, like a slightly darker, richer chicken soup. All the rest comes as the second course.

I hoovered it up, left satisfied. My last restaurant meal here for now.

Time to go. Must finish packing, eat something and bolt.

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