Mercado San Miguel 03/13/23

because we had three quiet days. Good weather, no drama, got ourselves moved from Seville to Madrid and into our last Airbnb for the trip.

It is just about 300 miles (not kilometers) from Seville to Madrid. We had a very pleasant stay in Seville in a nice apartment. It was easy to pack up and get to the train station. We had comfortable seats on the train but the person in front of us did not stop talking for the entire 2.5 hours of the trip. She was loud and apparently did not understand that it is not necessary to shout into a mobile phone in order to be heard.

The land really changes between Seville and Madrid so we had plenty to look at. At times the train’s speed was about 170 mph, but construction and traffic control sometimes slowed us down. When we got to Madrid, we checked into the Intercontinental Hotel, where we have stayed before. It is nowhere near the older part of the city so there is not much to explore in the immediate neighborhood. We did have access to the lounge so we spent time in there eating their food and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.

Parrot in a tree on Calle Castellana

We did take a couple of walks on Saturday and Sundy, mostly to enjoy the weather. The temperature was in the neighborhood of 70 degrees, so it was pleasant to be outside. But mostly we just relaxed.

On one of our walks we saw parrots–big green parrots–eating seeds in trees and I took pictures. The parrot pictures make up 3 of the 5 pictures I took over the 2 days. That is pretty unusual for me on one of these trips.

On Monday, we left the hotel for our Airbnb in the Barrio Las Letras (includes a number of theaters in the area). We are staying at the same place we stayed on our 2020 visit to Madrid. While we were staying here, Spain went into lockdown and we had a nervous few days while we tried to get a flight back to the United States. Patricia reminded me today that we lived on brownies for a couple of days because all the stores were closed. [Not that surviving on brownies is a bad thing.] For days we saw almost no one on the streets.

Our hostess told us that it was four months after we left before she could get back into the apartment. She said how much she appreciated the way we left the apartment neat and clean. It was nice to catch up with her. We have a lot in common.

No shortage of people on the streets today. Many of the stores we remember are now open. There seems to be a horde of tourists but we are pretty adept at dodging through them.

On our walk this afternoon we passed through the Plaza Mayor on our way to Mercado San Miguel. San Miguel is a covered market jammed full of shops and places to eat. we have visited it for years. But in 2020, before the lockdown began, when we got there it was unusually empty and quiet. That was one of the first clues we had that something bad was happening. The picture at the top of this post was taken in Mercado San Miguel today. the picture at the bottom of the post was taken 3 years and 1 day ago. Things seem nearly back to “normal,” whatever that is.

This was just the relaxing few days we needed before we began our last week in Spain.

Mercado San Miguel 03/12/2020

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