Madrid, in letters.

Flower window, Madrid

Dear Madrid,

You have much to recommend you, thus far; you have secured yourself a place in my heart. And not just because you are the first step on this journey of a thousand miles, (give or take). You have friendly people, delicious food, good public transportation, a not-sucky airport, cute dogs, and a shit-ton of beauty upon which to rest one’s eyes. Thanks for everything.

Palacio de Cristal, Madrid

To the gentleman who works at the Biblioteca Pública Eugenio Trias, (and yes, I know that the picture above is, in fact, of the Palacio de Cristal and not the Biblioteca Pública Eugenio Trias),

Thank you, most kind and generous sir, for forgiving me and my sad, sad attempts to communicate. Your English is much better than my Spanish and much better than you give yourself credit for, (although Spanish pre-schoolers probably speak better English than my Spanish). Thank you for helping me to print our train tickets – the train tickets that I, in my infinite wisdom, neglected to print at home before we left for the airport. Thank you for not charging me for printing those tickets when the public machine was broken and you kindly used the one behind the information desk. And most importantly, thank you for helping me to not wake up at 3:30 tomorrow morning in a panic about how in the hell I’m going to print our train tickets before our train leaves at 12:25 on Sunday afternoon when there’s no printer in our beautiful apartment, like I did this morning.

Turtle, by the Palacio de Cristal

To this turtle who lives in the lake outside the Palacio de Cristal,

Thanks for climbing out of the water so I could take a decent picture of you. And thanks for giving me what I can only presume to be a turtle’s eat-shit look. If you meant for me to be offended, I’m not. I think you’re adorable.

Dahlia, Madrid (1) Dahlia, Madrid (2) Dahlia, Madrid (3) Dahlia, Madrid (4) Dahlia, Madrid (5) Dahlia, Madrid (6) Dahlia, Madrid (7) Dahlia, Madrid (8) Dahlia, Madrid (9)

To all of these dahlias at the Real Jardín Botánico,

Really, just thanks for being you. To quote the elderly lady from Wisconsin who was admiring you at the same time – You were worth the price of admission. Seriously. If you were the only thing in the garden, I still would have given that lady 3 euros to let you have sex with my eyeballs and my camera lens.

Bathing bird, Madrid

To this little bird and all of your little bird friends,

Thanks for playing in the fountain. Thanks for not getting pissed and storming off in a huff when I got closer. Also, don’t tell the dahlias that I’m really glad you live in the botanical gardens, too.

Sunflower, Madrid

To La Antoñita at the Posada del Dragón on the Cava Baja,

That was one delicious dinner. Especially the dessert – violet-infused soap with lime foam – I don’t know how you did it. How did you do it? Shane says that the soap tasted like Europe smells. Take that as a compliment because it was ridiculously good. And if you promise not to tell anyone that I took a picture of my food, then I promise not to tell anyone that it wasn’t real soap. Thanks.

Estatua del Angel Caido

To the lady who works in the tourist office at the Sol metro station,

I know that this isn’t a picture of you. I know that it’s a picture of the Estatua del Ángel Caído. However, that look on Lucifer’s face? That’s kind of how I felt when you snapped at us very loudly in front of a whole bunch of people. I know that I don’t speak much Spanish, and I know that I came to your country without a proper grasp of the language, but I am trying to learn and so is my husband and at least he asked you in Spanish if you spoke English. So, if you ever find yourself in another country where you don’t speak the language, and if you happen to walk into a tourist office and, at least, attempt to communicate to the person behind the desk in their native tongue, then I hope that they are nice to you, and I hope that they help you instead of making you feel like a dumbass.

And to the nice, young American man and the nice, young Spanish man who took pity on us in the tourist office at the Sol metro station,

Thanks for not being as mean as that lady and pointing us to the person who would be able to help us.

And to the guy at the Sol metro station who helped us, (and the guy at the Tirso station who did the same),

Thanks. For reals. You guys were great.

Madrid sky

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