far too much writing, far too many photos

Today in Madrid: la Feria de San Isidro, commemorating one of Madrid’s patron saints. Meaning a morning in which most local businesses — food tiendas, cafeterías, you name it — were closed and dark, leaving confused non-natives wandering about in search of groceries or a shot of caffeine.

The overwhelming abundance of shuttered shops took my half-awake little brain by surprise, too. Grabbed a paper at the local news kiosk, located a local watering hole for a quick hit of espresso. The paper mentioned San Isidro, everything suddenly made sense, I found myself coming to full consciousness reoriented in linear time. Much better.

Spring returned yesterday, after a couple of weeks of drastically untypical May conditions — unseasonably cool, often gray, rainy. The day started out with a chilly edge then blossomed sweetly into spectacular vernal weather, the kind that reminds me all over again how good my little body feels when springtime truly takes root.

Between the holiday weekend and the return of user-friendly temperatures, last night’s Friday evening version of the city was buzzing. I rendezvoused with a couple I know for dinner (you know you’re in Spain when friends make dinner reservations for 11 p.m.). On stepping out of the restaurant at 1:30 a.m., the streets were busier, noisier than they are at 1:30 p.m. The hubbub continued well past me turning off the bedside light shortly before 4 a.m.

There is nowhere quite like this city.

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This afternoon: la Feria de San Isidro, la Plaza Mayor, Madrid:

Madrid, te quiero.

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