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.