I remember this moment well. I had not long arrived in Madrid, from a mid October England, and I couldn’t belive my luck. At about 5.30pm I was sitting, blinking into the slightly hazy but bright and (seemingly to me) impossibly warm sunshine. I stopped to get a sandwich and a bottle of water and enjoyed a feeling of uncoiling and unfurling into the warmth and the knowledge I was on holiday.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my happy memories of being in Madrid last year. This post is timely as I am due to go back over Easter and very excited about it. Going somewhere for the first time is uniquely wonderful. Going back somewhere you love is wonderful in a different way. This time I’ll (I can afford to!) rent an apartment instead of a hostel room and I can’t wait 🙂
On the right here is a pic of a protest going on in Sol. You can see the banners on the building in the background, which I’d watched people unrolling from the roof the night before. People were passing round big cardboard boxes as part of the protest. No idea what that meant, but I loved seeing so many people unified in a purpose of making a statement. The night before Sol had been utterly packed and impassable from edge to edge so a great number of people got involved.
The sign attached to these railings translates to “cut the bankers and the clergy”. One evening, when meeting a friend for dinner, we wandered past an empty hotel that had been occupied. Seeing such an outpouring of support for the protest has certainly stuck fondly in my memory.
Another morning I stopped to watch delighted children entranced by this chap blowing huge bubbles. I wished I was little enough to run over and play. I couldn’t tell if seeing a bubble wobble unsteadily over heads or watching it crumple as it resolved the tension between inside / outside was my favourite.
I love the reflection and distortion of the light in the soap bubbley-ness.
These two pics were taken in El Retiro, the large park near del Prado. Having valiantly absorbed as much art as I could (and more than I thought possible for me), I stopped to spend a few hours just sitting in the sunshine and reading. I like the fact that even in the black and white photograph, you still get a sense of just how bright the day was. I wanted to make the most of my trip by doing and seeing interesting and educational things, but I also wanted to enjoy the luxury of sitting in the sunshine and watching the world go by.
I managed to do plenty of each in the end, along with a generous lot of just wandering and wandering and wandering. It was wonderful.
There is one more picture I must share (I took loads in total, but these here are my favourite memories). This one below was taken in a session where I stood in front of the roundabout by Atocha train station for 45 minutes or so, trying to capture something of the streaming traffic, bright lights but without just retreading cliches. I really like this one of the bus going past and, although the bus fills the shot with its movement across the frame, how you can still see the train station and other traffic through the windows. It manages to capture the movement and transient presence of the bus precisely as it also freezes and extends its manifestation in the frame.
I love stopping to take the time to see things a little differently, I need to remind myself to do it more often. It occurs to me that I might have looked a bit odd (read: like a complete loony) hanging around by a big, busy roundabout for so long, but I am completely beyond caring 🙂