far too much writing, far too many photos

This morning: tried to sleep in. A neighbor had their television on, watching the arrival of the wedding attendees at the National Cathedral. A murmur just loud enough to keep me from drifting back off once I’d come awake and become aware of it.

Gave in, got up. Cranked up the T&V, kept it going while I showered, etc. Saw a friend on one channel — a newscaster with one of the Spanish networks — sitting with a compatriot in some elevated location with a great view of the city’s west side, commenting on the various mucky-mucks arriving for the ceremony. Realized all over again how boring that kind of thing is to me. Shut it off, headed out to the gym.

Not many people about, like any other Saturday a.m. here. Streets and plazas appeared a bit cleaner than normal, probably due to the overnight rain — putting a lid on the Friday night revelry, resulting in less debris for morning clean-up crews. Virtually all businesses were closed, the few cafés in operation all had the TV going, the eyes of customers and staff fixed on the wedding coverage.

No TV playing at the gym, no radio. Just blessed quiet. Rain started up while I was inside, greeting me with an intense downpour when I stepped back outside. Thunder pealed, the kind that starts near one horizon and rolls across the sky.

The Metro remained practically deserted during the ride back here, when I emerged from the station in the plaza down the street rain continued falling. Ducked into a cafetería for a shot of caffeine, the tail end of the wedding ceremony playing on the TV at crisp, clear volume. Church music: choir singing, organ playing. The two 20-somethings behind the bar supplied their own liturgical tunes in response:

Customer: Un cortado, por favor.

Barkeep: (In the style of Gregorian chant:) ¿Un corrr-ta-dooooo?

Customer: Sí.

Barkeep: ¿De má-qui-naaaa?

Customer: Sí.

Barkeep: Ahhhh-mennnn.

I sat for a while. Sipped, ate, read the paper. People passed in and out of the cafetería. Music (live and from the TV) came and went. The rain eventually let up. I came back home.

It’s now after 1. The streets outside remain deserted, quiet. Overhead, the drone of a helicopter periodically swells then fades, the only indication of how close this neighborhood is to the route of the wedding motorcade, where the royal entourage is now making their post-ceremony trip through the city.

A good day for relaxing. Think I’ll do some of that.

*****************

This evening along Gran Vía, wedding come and gone, rainclouds long vanished — two images before the police were loaded into vans and carted off, one image of a brief few moments of freedom between their departure and the return of traffic:

Madrid, te quiero.

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