A.k.a., I don’t know what to do in this city when it rains.
Lesley, Leigh and Charlotte arrived in Madrid a week ago.
And of course, it rained.
I should clarify. I am aware of the spring that Eastern Canada has experienced, but I am aware of it only in the abstract sense, in the way that Spaniards are aware that in some places there are actual variations in weather that go beyond “sunny and warm” and “sunny and warm.” So if I seem unsympathetic in my writing about the weather it is because I am turning into a bit of a Spaniard (only when it comes to weather. And other things.) Plus, if you don’t like the weather in Canada? Leave. Come to Spain!
It rarely rains in Madrid. This is (probably?) an exaggeration, but I am relatively certain that the last time in rained more than two days in a row was when Moira visited in October. Other than that, precipitation is a rare event, and inclement weather isn’t really a feature of life in Madrid. Especially in June, when it is supposed to be hot and dry. So far, June has disappointed on that front. (Note: it’s still really nice and you should still come visit. If you do, it probably won’t rain as it’s rained like six days already this year and I think that fills the quota for at least a couple of years.)
So of course it had to rain when my friends were here.
Which brings me to the question: What is there to do in Madrid*? *when it rains?
The answer is a lot, but when the girls asked me what I thought they should do given that it was raining, this is what came out of my mouth: “Ummmmm….. ummmm…. I don’t know, it doesn’t really rain here…”
We found things to do. Lots of wandering. The girls visited the main museums, and when the sun was around we took a look at the sights.
We shopped. (Blind item: Which of them do you think bought a silver and gold sequined jacket?) We meandered around the flea market. They all bought handmade espadrilles from Lobo. Some got more than one or two pairs…
We checked out a few places in Madrid’s vast selection of drinking establishments. (Leave it to me to make bars sound the least cool possible.) Madrid apparently has the most bars per capita of any city in Europe. Also, Halifax is said to have the most bars per capita of any city in Canada. I choose my cities well.
We ate Spanish food and went out for huge cheap menú del día lunches and had noodles in the park. We stayed out till 5 dancing. We drank tea and baked brownies and cooked dinners. Before leaving yesterday, we stopped for churros and chocolate (completing the girls’ introduction to the delights of Spanish cuisine).
And we got caught in the rain a few times.
It all felt so normal. Especially after living in Halifax for four years, where rain is what’s normal.
That’s one of the best things about having visitors – it brings a taste of home and a taste of normalcy into this slightly odd life as a Canadian in a country with a foreign language and quite a different culture. Going to the cinema and seeing a movie in English has a similar effect. By way of example, being baffled at the bureaucratic procedures surrounding getting an extended visa has the opposite effect.
Then, of course, comes the worst part of having visitors – the fact that they are visitors means that, by definition, they have to leave.
My apartment is empty and the floor of my bedroom is visible again. As I sit here typing this in the park, the sun is shining. It has been all day (of course). I knew it’d come out when they left!
Visitors leaving is the worst, since you stay and they go. Yes, I had to break that one down for you. You go back to your actual normal life, that is, a “normal” life which doesn’t include them. This time I’m seeing these girls in Germany within a week, which reduces the sadness to pretty much nothing. At the other extreme, see: crying all the way to work on the metro post-mother’s-departure. Never told you about that one, mom. But come on, I can’t be the only one. No way.
Anyways. When you’re with awesome friends, there are always things to do, and if you have lived in Halifax you are well-equipped to figure out for yourself what those things are, even in the presence of rain. Dear Lesley, Charlotte and Leigh, thank you for coming, see you in no time.
Dear everyone else: If you do visit Madrid, it’ll be awesome (even if it rains).