Madrid, Coffee, And Some Other Things

It was a hot day in Madrid…

Before I start, just a little disclaimer: this isn’t a personal blog. This is a blog where places are the main characters and I’m just the narrative voice. That was always my plan and still is. My experiences in those places could have happened to anyone, it’s not about me.

As 2017 ended, many bloggers were posting their “Best Of” posts. I’m saving mine for the blog’s anniversary in February, when I’ll do my recap of the past blogging year. I don’t want mine to be lost among all the others, you see – I’m being tactical! Anyway, it’s my way of celebrating the blog’s birthday.

But… all of those best of- posts did inspire me after all. I loved browsing through them! So I decided to just randomly list a few things that I’ve really enjoyed along the years. Why not?!

Some of my favorites and best of’s:

  • Friends – This is the only TV show I can watch over and over again. Though I know what they are about to say, I laugh each time. My favorite is Ross, who gets himself into absurd situations, almost bordering on slapstick comedy, especially towards the final seasons
  • Yoga With Adriene – Short and breezy yoga videos for home workout. She’s cheerful and convincing
  • Treats: Chocolate, and New York cheesecake. My favorite chocolate brand is Fazer, a Finnish staple
  • Best book: The Egyptian by Mika Waltari (1945). The story is set in ancient Egypt and it’s an adventure book. I’ve read it twice, once in Finnish and once in English, curious about the translation (and because I usually read in English, it’s my comfort zone)
  • Since I already mentioned Finnish chocolate and a Finnish book, here’s a third: showers. Yes, you heard me! After traveling the globe (uhmm… almost), I have come to the conclusion that your best shower will be in Finland. The water is always warm (or whatever temperature you choose) and there is plenty of water pressure. You won’t run out of hot water and there are no annoying separate taps for hot and cold. Bliss!

Anyway, where was I? That’s right, I was thinking about Madrid. It was a hot day when hubby and I visited – mind you, I had already been there once before and ended up in a salsa dancing club with a Venezuelan girl, this was during a road trip from Montpellier with some Canadians and Venezuelans years earlier…

Uhmm. So… Hubby and I arrived by train from Lisbon, checked in at the hotel (which served Nespresso at breakfast, yum!) and went out for a walk. I was feeling a bit off and we headed to a park for some shade.

It was a hot day in Madrid. I mean really hot. I hate to admit this, because I’m too cold on a daily basis and always complaining about it, and so I welcome that rare feeling of sweaty hotness on a warm summer day. But that day, it was (almost) too hot.

The park was a relief. And so green! There was a tiny turtle in a pond, trying to interact with some pigeons that were hogging the miniature water fountain. Only one of the pigeons stayed for the photo.

We visited a museum and had dinner. Fun at the time, but not that memorable in retrospect. I wish I had taken more photos – my mind blends the memories with other similar, short visits in European cities and I can’t say for sure what happened where, when. From Madrid, we took the train to Barcelona.

When traveling, one of my favorites is the travel itself, when it’s going well. I’m the person sitting by the window staring dreamily out at what locals must think are the most boring fields and houses, and I can’t get enough of it.

Another favorite is my morning coffee, especially when traveling in Europe. I so look forward to my little morning rituals, though I’m not a morning person at all – the thought of coffee is what gets me out of bed!

(Side note: Finns say we travel to Europe, though Finland is of course in Europe! But the rest of the continent seems so far away both geographically and culturally that we often distinguish between domestic, Nordic, and European travel.)

In France, I’ll have a café au lait in a little brasserie, along with a croque monsieur or croissant and jam. In Spain, I’ll have an espresso or cappuccino and never fail to enjoy it.

In Finland, I need to be a bit picky, because locals drink a notorious concoction of filtered coffee, which always reminds me of my time in Greece because some of the locals I knew there would’ve rolled their eyes at the very thought.

In Finland, filter coffee is your regular coffee and anything else is foreign and more expensive. Espresso-based coffees, like a basic cappuccino, are called “special coffee”. Not speciality as in a carefully selected delicacy, but special as in unordinary.

Many people will look at you like you are trying to be a bit too posh for your own good if you say you prefer “special” coffee to the “regular” type! I always feel like I should apologize for my preference. Luckily, modern cafeterias are popping up all over Helsinki as younger generations open up their tastebuds.

Another favorite is taking a nice walk in the evening in a warm country, when the sun has set but the warmth still lingers in the air, mixing with nighttime breezes.

When we arrived in Barcelona, we took such a walk at the Barceloneta beach. It’s not my favorite urban beach, but it was a happy evening that did leave distinct memories in my mind. For some reason, I never seem to mix up the beaches I’ve visited.

Yours truly, Snowie in Barcelona in her favorite dress (2011)

57 responses to “Madrid, Coffee, And Some Other Things

  1. I felt like I was sitting in a cozy balcony with you—of course enjoying this chat and drinking Coffee! I love coffee anytime, I dunno why but I just do.I find German coffee heavily brewed and bitter for my taste but then I came to get used to other brands. I was smiling up to the last words. Your Madrid & Barcelona photos are so eclectic, inviting, and really reflects your personal taste on subjects to photograph. Showers in Finland made me laugh, REALLY?? No separate taps for hot & cold and always warm?? I was reminded when I was living in Kuwait that the water can be scorching hot so you need to let it cool down a bit before plunging in…if you are careless, you could scald your scalp!
    Your Blog deserved an applause—you are doing it so well!
    It is really a pleasure to meet you here Snow!
    Regards to your Gems.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Christina, for joining me for coffee here at the blog! 😀 Enjoyed hearing your thoughts! And I like the idea of eclectic photos – I guess that shows what my mind is doing when I travel (running around in a zigzag like a crazy hen?!) 😀 Oh gosh, scorching hot water in the shower sounds dangerous! I remember water like that in a hotel in Buenos Aires… I love warming up in the shower, because I’m always freezing – especially here in the north! 😀 The babies say hi!


  2. Almost always too cold, looks forward to coffee (but not a morning person), loves the travel itself, preferably from the window – you are describing me as well as yourself! Plus I love Madrid (lived there for a time), so I enjoyed every little word of this post! (Fun to see you pictured, too!) Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another common trait: I love “Friends” too and I can’t stop watching it! (currently doing re-runs of season 7 on my laptop on my alone time 😉

    thanks for the original post and telling us about coffee! ahaha I don’t drink it myself but always find it interesting how people enjoy theirs and how different countries propose the delicacy.

    Need a warm day? Come to Holbox some time! 😉 you’ll love it here! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay, season 7 is a good one! So much craziness going on there! 😀 I love watching them as a marathon. Thanks for reading Julie, and wouldn’t that be dreamy, to travel to Holbox! I could teach my boys to swim there, maybe 😀 Okay, they are a little young for that, but time goes so fast. How long are you planning on staying there? 😉 Honestly though, I could really use some warm days! Bisous, besos, ciao! ❤


  4. What a lovely post .Snowie! I have to agree with you about Fazer chocolate and New York cheesecake, they are my favourites too. I’ll be stocking up on some bars of chocolate in a few weeks time. I also loved visiting Atocha railway station in Madrid with its indoor garden, ponds and turtles – why can’t more stations be designed like that? Have a good week with your gorgeous twins! (P.S. great t see a photo of you – actually, just as I imagined, in a good way). How long have you been blogging now? it will be two and a half years for me in mid February, so pleased I started.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marion! I also wonder why more stations can’t be decorated and cozied up! Have you ever traveled through Singapore? I haven’t but have heard so much about the airport: gardens, rooftop terraces, a swimming pool, and so on! Almost enough to make me book a ticket just to see it! 🙂 I’ll have been blogging for 3 years in February, so we started at around the same time! I’m also very happy I started – it was completely spontaneous and then just captivated me! Have a great week! Looking forward to hearing about your Tampere visit!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Changi Airport is delightful, it’s even got a butterfly garden – I think it’s my favourite airport I’ve passed through. Hopefully, you’ll have a chance to visit sometime in the future. Starting blogging for me was also spontaneous, I hadn’t even been reading other blogs – I just opened my laptop and I’ve never looked back since!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hehehh! You must be in a special mood today. 😀 After years of one ponytail and the waving figure from far away, we get you in your favourite dress! And what is this, a little smirk? 😉 Plus a full story from Spain with lots of details and lovely images. No protests here…

    As for me, I never expect good coffee anywhere but at home where I make Turkish-style coffee in my džezva pot. In this way I’m sometimes positively surprised. I only drink it for effect anyway, especially silly small Italian espressos. I will never get used to them! 😀

    *Looks up again.* Yes, still there. I wasn’t dreaming. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “For some reason, I never seem to mix up the beaches I’ve visited.” Each is so distinct, no? Love your morning travel ritual. 😊 I too love going for those warm evening walks when a place opens up to different sounds, fragrances, and views than daytime ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. well very nice to do your version of a best of – and I (like you) have enjoyed soaking up some of those posts this past week.
    and the ending pic – with the fav dress – right on. – sometimes that adds a nice blogging touch to disclose a bit – 🙂
    enjoyed the post and one more thing to add – I have a few memories of “too hot” – and whew – those times stand out very well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think we have something in common with the morning coffee ritual 🙂
    After visiting Barcelona back in September, now Madrid is on my wishlist, hopefully I’ll get there in 2018.

    Have a great new year, full of adventures & journeys!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love Friends and The Egyptian. Fazer is nice. The part about Finnish coffee always reminds me of that classic contrast.
    Me, in Finland: One coffee, please.
    Server: Here you go.
    Me, anywhere else: One coffee, please.
    Server: Which kind?


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely post! We share the love for “Friends” and capuccino 😉 And warm cities with a beach))
    And coffee… oh coffee. In Norway there’s this filter coffee mostly bitter. But there are so many coffeeshops now, that getting my favorite cappuccino is not a problem. It is pricey, yes. But this is a treat. On a weekday I am content with my coffee from “presskanne” with warm milk. I have my way of doing it and I really love it. And in Spain, sorry, I am disappointed by their capuccinos. They often taste burned and bitter. Norwegian ones are better. I take cafe con leche sometimes. They say that the best special coffee in Spain is in Italian cafes and at hipsters 😉But gosh, I am so in love with those places that I forget the bitterness of coffee 😆

    Liked by 1 person

      • It is all in the milk, this is what I like cappuccinos for. My favorite one is in Italy, obviously 🙄. But Norwegian ones are ok. If not from the machine. And in Sevilla I had to go Starbucks to get a good one (I boicot Starbucks otherwise) *blushed face*

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hahah! I like Starbucks’ flat white coffee, it’s very strong with creamy milk. But I don’t need to go there, I can make my own at home. I have two machines for that! 😉 hehee!
          When I buy one in a cafeteria in Finland, I usually ask for soy milk (or coconut milk!) because the regular milk isn’t to my liking. These wishes cost extra of course… what doesn’t?!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I avoid Starbucks for ideological reasons. I don’t like what they did to the coffeshop industry, and what we define as coffee (tall latte with extra foam and hazelnuts sirup???) and the reasonable price for it. So American and so McDonalds style. Yepp, you can take a girl out of Soviet, but you cannot take Soviet out of the girl.

            Oooh, and we have Starbucks like Espresso house, and you pay such a high price for a coffee or tea. i guess, just because you are gonna sit there for hours. This has to cost extra 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • I don’t have any ideological reasons to avoid it – if I started to do that, where could I go shopping or could I watch a movie, etc? But I remember this Starbucks boycotting thing from my years in Paris – although there, the local coffee was so good that I rather had local coffee anyway – only tourists and expats seemed to go to Starbucks in Paris. The French would wrinkle their noses at the thought 😉 hahaa. You are like a little Parisian, I guess ❤

              Liked by 1 person

              • Oh, such a nice comparison 😌 merci 😉 I totally agree with you and I am not so ideological either. I have read “No logo” by Naomi Klein, but I still shop at H&M, cuz I cannot make my own clothes. But thanks God, there are more alternatives to Starbucks 😆 and I love local unique coffee shops, and get a bit sad when Espresso house moves in the hood. Maybe, they will not ruin the industry like McDonalds doesn’t ruin restaurant business in a hood. But I worry. And I just pick one battle, enough 🙂
                In a way I like French arrogance. Norwegians are so in love with everything American, they wouldn’t mind. But the French have a richer food tradition to protect, to be honest 😉

                Liked by 1 person

                • Hahah, I try to eat organic when I can and as fresh as possible, though that’s hard in Finland. And for my babies I try to only buy organic clothes with certificates of being tested for harmful substances. I avoid HM because everything smells like a Chinese factory… but then all the clothes come from the same place in the end, and all animals we eat are given steroids and hormones, and so on… I can’t hunt 😀 and I can’t make my own clothes either! I’m dependent on what these companies tell me is safe… (If you ever get interested in the origins of the food we eat, I recommend Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma). But as for globalisation/Americanism, honestly Helsinki would be such a boring place without any foreign influences (like it was in the ’90’s) so I have to say I welcome these chains, as uncool as I sound! I’m not a fan of consumerism and I love minimalism, I don’t shop a lot etc. But I do like to have as many options as possible. Voilà! 🙂 And I agree with you about the French!

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • I am with you on the point about variety and diversity. Norway needs foreigners, we laugh. It would be such a boring place without. It was really. Some 20 years ago. I didn’t experience this, and happy for that 😆😆
                    Thanks for the recommendation! I get easily obsessed with all this: sweatshops, industrial food, what we get with the meat and vegetables. But as you say, we don’t hunt and cannot grow our own farm, and even shopping only eco products would ruin my budget bc gosh so expensive they are here, where it is already very expensive. So you have to choose your battles.
                    And No Logo is a good read. My inner marxist was happy 😊

                    Liked by 1 person

  11. You look similar to what I imagined! 🙂 The dress is pretty too!
    Taking a stroll in the evenings in warm countries is one of my favorite things to do too – it’s always so chilly in Poland and in Finland even during the middle of summers. I actually developed a taste for coffee when I was living in Finland hehe. I love your eye for photos and your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pooja for all your nice words! 🙂 I always appreciate your visits and comments! I drink so much coffee in the winter here that it’s ridiculous! In a warmer country it’d probably make me dehydrated, hahah! 😉


  12. “It was a hot day in Madrid’, sounds like the opening sentence of a mystery novel. I’m not a big coffee fan, although I do drink a small cup of hubby’s evil brew, most mornings at breakfast, but always black. Lovely photos of Spain. Barcelona is a place I would love to visit again, mostly to gaze upon Gaudi’s architecture. Happy New Year to you. Hope it’s a good year for you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would like to write a mystery novel one day – but who has the time?! 😉 Need to work, work, work. Coffee is my little luxury, we all have our own, don’t we? 😀 Happy New Year to you too, and I hope you’ll get to revisit Barcelona one day!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great to read about your focus on coffee! My coffee experiences when I travel are crucial to my overall feelings about a trip, and will go out of my way to find positive coffee experiences. No Nescafé for me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, great to hear I’m not the only one! No Nescafé for me either! 😀 I love it how they enjoy their drinks differently in different places. In Argentina I was surprised when I tried café con crema at a tiny local cafeteria: I was expecting a café con leche/café au lait type of coffee but instead got a tiny espresso in a shot glass with a spoonful of actual whipped cream on top, inside a fluff of milk foam and cinnamon. I don’t need all that extra garnish, but sometimes it can make a regular day feel like Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

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