A Cozy Attic

I believe this is called a "Dr. Seuss Tree"

I believe this is a “Dr. Seuss Tree” @ Jardines del Buen Retiro

Madrid is a regal city.  That’s clear as soon as you arrive.  The building where we rented a small attic apartment, however, was not.  It probably had been regal (and will be again, since it’s currently under renovation), but at some point the building had become neglected.  Which explains why it was so cheap to stay there, despite its perfect location adjacent to the Royal Palace and famous plazas of Madrid.

The Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid, 3 minutes walking from where we stayed

But we don’t want regal (ok, Mandy occasionally might) and although the exterior of the building was run down, the actual apartment was one of the best places we’ve stayed.   The kitchen was well stocked with food and wine, and the bed, covered in down blankets, lay invitingly below the sloped timbered beams of the attic.  Each city brings us to a new place to stay, and each of these “homes” sets the mood for our subsequent explorations.  In this case, that meant laid-back.

hot chocolate and churros at a restaurant near our apartment

hot chocolate and churros at Chocolateria San Gines

We casually wandered the streets and bustling squares of Madrid.  We relaxed in the royal gardens in front of the palace.  When we arrived in the Jardines del Buen Retiro, we skipped the famous museums so that we could spend our afternoon hanging out in the park, soaking up the late autumn sunshine.

Jardines del Buen Retiro

Jardines del Buen Retiro

One of a kind experiences tend to occur at this pace of exploration.  So, fittingly, we ended up on a row boat.  Small talk turned into jokes, which turned into serenading Mandy with made-up Spanish songs.  It was that kind of day — a day when spontaneity upstages planning.

renting a rowboat in the park

renting a rowboat in the park

The sun set as we left the park and the air became chilly.  We walked home content in the knowledge that a warm apartment and home-cooked meal awaited us.

the best sleep of our trip so far

The best sleep of our trip so far.  Mandy drifts off knowing she gets to sleep in tomorrow.

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