a very pleasant puente

to do

We’re currently in the midst of a good old-fashioned puentePuente, meaning ‘bridge,’ as I may have mentioned before, is the wonderful Spanish tradition of creating a mini-vacation when a holiday falls in the middle of the week.  Wednesday was Labor Day, bittersweet this year after the announcement that unemployment increased yet again to a record high 27% and that the crisis will probably continue for two to three more years before improvement is seen.  Thursday was a holiday in the Community of Madrid, remembering an uprising against the French in 1808.  And Friday?  Well, in comes the puente.  While I’ve jumped on past puentes to travel around Spain, no trip was in the cards this time around.  Most people have fled to the South to hit the beach, and while I certainly would not complain if I were sunbathing in Málaga or Alicante right now, I have to say, some relaxation and me-time is quite welcomed.  I’ve got a great to-do list, nicely balanced between springtime frivolity and productive monotony, and progress has been made.  Plus, I used the word thrice.

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un sábado lleno

This particular Saturday started off like many others, both in Spain and in the States: a leisurely wake-up and a shower.  However, the normalcy stopped there.

The first magical event was the arrival of a lovely care package from the parentals, which consisted of my rainboots stuffed with a scarf, some toiletries, two jars of peanut butter (from Wegman’s, no less), a handful of Reese’s, and a Wally doll (which made me smile despite the disaster that was the 2012 Red Sox campaign).

After immediately preparing a delicious breakfast of toast with peanut butter, I met with two friends to go to a once-monthly farmers’ market held near Madrid’s Casa de Campo.  It was similar to farmers’ markets back home, with venders selling (and, more importantly, offering samples of) olive oils, pastries, breads, sausages and cheeses.  The kicker?  Here in Spain, delicious food is not worth consuming without delicious drink.  The solution?  Purchase a 1-euro wine glass at the door and enjoy unlimited wine tastings at the various bodegas stationed around the market.  I can’t think of a better mid-morning activity.

Our late afternoon activity was Madrid’s Teleférico, a cable car that runs from Parque del Oeste, near my apartment, to one of the city’s largest parks, Casa de Campo.  Not including the annoyingly perky recording that took on the personified roles of important landmarks that passed below us, it was a beautiful ride over lush greenery and with views of Madrid’s royal palace, Río Manzanares, and other key sights.

And of course, the night was capped off a trip to the classiest 100 Montaditos I’ve ever been to, complete with table/waiter service!