Category Archives: Madrid Stories

Thank You, and More Please

It’s 2015, and like everyone says, it’s a new year to look forward to.

But the pessimist in me feels it’s just another bleak year to get by.

Evidently, being in a new city somehow dampens my spirit, and the feeling won’t dissipate.

I’m surprised at how easy it is for me to disregard the positive things I wrote in my first post – hopefulness, great opportunities in Madrid, Spain, and the burning desire to make it here.

I must shrug off this negativity and be thankful instead.

But, what should I be thankful for? Apart from family and friends and good health, it’s hard to think of anything else. Listing a few more seems a lot of work cut out for me at this moment. Damn the New Year’s day blues.

Why should I be, in the first place?

We have to express gratitude for what we receive – to God, the Universe, or anything else we believe in. Otherwise, we can’t ask for more. I watched this film, fell in love with it, and made me a believer of the mantra – thank you, more please.

So, for this post, I made a short list of things that I am grateful for. Here goes…

1. I am totally indebted to Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Casa de Baños, Calle Bravo Murillo, at Distrito Tetuan for the free beginner Spanish class. I look forward to the succeeding Spanish courses of higher level (both of which are also for free).

(I’ll be beholden to the Universe to no end if it can make my brain work like a super sponge, and suck in everything there is to learn about the language.)

Spanish Alphabet, found in the manual we use in our class

2. Our professor was not able to lecture one time, and had us watch a movie instead. And so, I must thank Profesor Francisco, mi nuevo amigo, for introducing me to Volver, an amazing film which I thought was also crazy and magical.

3. Everyone at home wanted to have a Roscon on the table as part of the New Year’s Eve meal, so I bought a small one at Carrefour Principe de Vergara, near Colombia.

Roscon and the paper crown, New Year's day in Madrid
Roscon, or Rosca de Reyes, the Kings’ Ring, and My paper crown

Lady luck must be on my side because my first slice had the toy, an owl figurine, in it. The toy is a representation of Baby Jesus, and the one who chances upon it becomes blessed, and lucky for the next whole year(?).

Roscon gift for me
The white toy owl means blessings and luck has been bestowed on me by the Three Kings. The bean means that I have to buy the Roscon for next year

The next slice had me finding another toy, this time, a plastic bean or seed (either a lima or fava). A friend teases me, says getting the bean means I’ll be the one to buy next year’s Roscon. Being told of this just put a smile on my face, for I am only too happy to oblige.

Thanks to Carrefour’s Roscon for blessing me and making me king for the day.

4. I would gladly walk through this…

Deserted Madrid metro passageway and turnstile area passageway made possible because it's December 24th, Christmas Eve.
Empty Madrid metro passageway and turnstile area despite (or rather because of) the holiday, December 24th, Christmas Eve.

than be crushed in this..

Long, heavy passenger lines to Manila's Metro Rail Transit System. A daily occurence. Photo source: and Mark Balmores of Manila Bulletin
Long, heavy passenger lines to Manila’s Metro Rail Transit System, a daily occurence.
Photo source: Thanks to When in Manila and Mark Balmores of Manila Bulletin

Actually, I only have good words for Manila MRT for providing service at its best, and accommodating riders many times its capacity. Kudos!

Just seeing these photos make me appreciate Madrid Metro all the more for the convenience of travel and commuting.

When I finally get my abono (which allows holders unlimited train ride around the city for a month, all for 52 euros), it means access to more places in Madrid. Definitely, a boon to Let’s Talk Madrid.

5. Thanks to Madrid and Plaza Puerta del Sol for the memorable New Year’s Eve countdown event. It was simple, with hardly any firecracker lit. All the noise that greeted 2015 was sheer shouting, cheering, and boisterous laughing of merrymakers of mostly families and friends. Yet, frankly, it was one New Year’s Eve celebration I immensely enjoyed.

This is as near as we can go to Puerta del Sol. Still we had a nice view of the countdown celebration at Calle de Arenal
This is the closest that we can get to the plaza of Puerta del Sol. Still we had a nice view of the countdown celebration from where we stood at Calle de Arenal

Last night’s was just one genuinely heartfelt celebration.

Feliz Ano Nuevo! Happy New Year to everyone!

6. Hey, I have many reasons to say thanks after all – and I admit that there are so much more apart from this list. I’m truly happy for everything I received the past year, and look forward to 2015 and what it might bring.

Thank you, and more please.

Let’s Talk Madrid, Spain

Having had the chance to stay in Tel Aviv (5 years) and travel to Paris (5 days), I thought of myself as truly lucky.

Now this time, I am in Madrid, Spain. For how long? Nothing’s definite yet.

All I’m sure is that I am one fortunate soul.

Because for one thing, I am a blogger. In me now is this overflowing exhilaration knowing that once again, I can write about another great city.

puerta del sol madrid picture
At Puerta del sol, the heart of Madrid

Indeed, there is no other acceptable way to talk about a place, gush and rave about it, or even spew rants about it (if need be) than to be there – in the flesh!

To write honestly about a place, you must breath its air, soak in its culture, bask in its sun, and mingle with its people, asserting yourself as like one of them at some point (take it as a challenge).

estadio santiago bernabeu picture photo
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Europe’s third largest stadium

You do so, and everything becomes spontaneous, easy, and frank. You don’t become exact in your words, sounding like that in a wiki – but more like insightful, discerning, or even idiotic.

Needless to say, you’re licensed to articulate your emotions in any way you want if you see things first-hand.

And put simply, if you’re within, around, and a witness to your subject, you churn beautiful and evergreen pieces about it.

Lucky me, I am here in Madrid. For real.

Hence, is born.

Plaza Mayor Madrid
Feast of Nuesra Senora de Almudena Mass, at Plaza Mayor
Your caballero is ready and raring to travel around this beautiful Spanish capital. I dare to either conquer (read: blend in), or yield (read: be captivated by all its splendor).

To wander aimlessly along Madrid streets and inner streets is more to my liking; excited to be surprised by things, places, and sights that await to be discovered.

Here I come Gran Via, Puerta del Sol, Prosperidad (the Distrito where I live), Chamartin, Rastro (and its limitless antiquities), and Plaza Mayor, among so many others.

Flea marktet shop at El Rastro de Madrid
Flea marktet shop at El Rastro de Madrid

These blog-worthy places are but a drop in this city’s deep bucket of beautiful sites and attractions.

My humble website will feature some of Madrid’s parks (such as Parque de Berlin, across Avenida Ramon y Cajal) and churches (like Parroquia de San Antonio de Cuatro Caminos, along Calle Bravo Murillo), where I go to spend my times of idling and worship, respectively.

Statue of Pope John Paul II at Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Almudena, Calle de Bailen, Madrid
Statue of Pope John Paul II at Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Almudena, Calle de Bailen, Madrid

Also worth noting are their cafes, cafeterias, cantinas, coffee shops, coffee bookshops – which ever way they are called. Spaniards dearly love their coffee, explaining why these establishments are in the thousands, scattered around the city.

Audrey Cafeteria, Calle de Bravo Murillo Madrid
Audrey Cafeteria, Calle de Bravo Murillo, Madrid

Do I have to mention that Spanish food will be prominently featured here? No Madrid blog is complete without discussing tapas and paellas, cochinillos and pollos asados, and turones and jamones. Occasional reviews of popular Madrid restaurants are in the offing as well.

My first taste of Paella at Museo de Jamon
My first taste of Paella at Museo de Jamon

Por favor, join me in my journey as I write about my day-to-day experiences, adventures, travels, and travails as a Madrileno nuevo – a self-appointed one at that.

Undoubtedly, Madrid is a travel blogger’s haven; and so I can’t thank the Universe enough for being here.

Bear and Strawberry Tree Statue
Bear and Strawberry Tree Statue, Plaza Puerta del Sol, Madrid

Most importantly, it’s a privilege to be in Spain knowing that not everyone has the means to travel.

It is hard enough to gather resources needed to tour one’s own country. It’s even more difficult to travel to another country in a faraway continent.

Palacio de las Cortes, Carrera de San Jeronimo
Palacio de las Cortes, Carrera de San Jeronimo

I know that countless individuals ache for a chance to see Madrid. Sadly, most can only dream about it.

In my case, I am living my own.

For this, muchas gracias.

Do keep me company as I learn to live in this city; experiencing bliss and sadness, and everything in between. I’ll take it a day at a time while embracing Madrid tightly, and all that it has to offer.

Palacio Real picture photo
Palacio Real

Let’s talk Madrid.

Hasta pronto!