Madrid was even more relaxed this time around, since I visited almost every museum, monument, and central neighborhood last fall, then thinking I wouldn't be returning so soon. This trip I only had but a few days to spend with Shawn, so we capitalized by dining and going out, often returning to some of our favorite locations that we'd discovered, including Teatro Kapital.
Before Kapital, we went with his roommates to a small jazz lounge where there was a sweet live band. It seemed like for each song a new person in the audience (supposedly known by the main band) would jump up, grab an instrument, and jam. This included a charismatic black man who crooned a variety of random doodle dee doos, much to my enjoyment.
I also went back to the Prado museum to get a second look at some of my favorite paintings, particularly by Goya and Velásquez, and also had a chance to visit the Hermitage exhibit with pieces on loan from St. Petersburg, including ancient gold, a spectacular Caravaggio, and other paintings by artists including Picasso, Rembrandt, and more. Inevitably, I've since added Russia to my travel list.
After a day of shopping in Salamanca (did someone say spree?), we swung by the all-inclusive superstore Corte Inglés for groceries, where we made sure to pick up some jamón. The butcher hand-sliced us some of the most premier jamón iberico (I believe the label is silver and black) which was conveniently on sale, making a great appetizer slash 6am post-clubbing snack.
One afternoon we went to a northern area of the city to get a drink and enjoy the sun with Emily, a girl that studied abroad with us in Bologna. I hadn't seen her since then and it was neat catching up and comparing what everyone's been doing the last few years. It was surprising to hear she doesn't keep in close contact with much of anyone from our program, which is such a striking contrast from me, since many of my closest friends are from that experience.
The rest of our time naturally Shawn and I spent contemplating life and what we're doing next with ours. Thankfully, life seems less daunting over a couple beers, or with Whitney playing in the background, or while strolling the vibrant streets of such a fun-loving city.