When I went to Barcelona in March, I had to deal with the dearth of direct trains from there to my hometown of Ciudad Real. In the end, I decided to take a train to Madrid, stay there for a few hours, and then take one of the many, many Avant trains back home. It was a smart financial decision, and I knew I could easily camp out at a Starbucks near Atocha for the time it took to wait for a train, even if I couldn’t arrange a meeting with anybody!
Camp out I did, but I also got to see someone I hadn’t since I’d studied for a whole three months at university in Madrid in 2007 — a fandom friend who took me to see lovely book stalls (I could have bought things, but I’m always happier shooting them!) and have a nice tea at a little hidden bakery nearby. This is a photo diary of those eight hours — 1 PM to 9 PM — I spent in Madrid between trains.
So the first thing I did was get off the train from Barcelona expecting the usual part of the station, which did not, in fact, materialize before me. I was a bit lost there. But eventually I found some fast food to gobble down and a Starbucks to sit down at — right by the Reina Sofía Museum, with gorgeous windowseats and constant foot traffic from students on field trips to see Dalí’s work and the Guernica.
I like teenagers. From a distance. They give me nostalgia — not for my own life, but for the TV shows I’ve romanticized in my head. I told y’all I’m made of stories. One day I’ll tell you just which ones.
As my phone no longer works as a phone — I was signed with Three, which has a limit on how long you can pretend to be on vacation abroad before it just… stops working, which is weird; why not just charge more? — I sat down at said Starbucks hoping for my stomach to settle (I wanted an iced vanilla latte! I can’t get them at home!) and getting in touch with my friend. I scribbled and doodled a little bit on my sketchbook, and enjoyed having nothing to do and nowhere to be until Paula showed up.
She knew I was very much exhausted, socially speaking, from my days in Barcelona, and she came up with the low-keyest of low-key plans: book stalls and bakeries, all within walking distance. It was pretty wonderful and A+. Thank you, Paula.
Night came down as we chatted over tea and orange juice and pastries at a new Motteau bakery in the neighborhood. She had a lemon tart topped with meringue; I had a cheesecake topped with strawberry jam. I could have done without the jam, but all around it was lovely, and such a private, tucked-away, intimate little shop.
Afterwards, I went back to Starbucks, still with hopes of my stomach going for that vanilla latte that never materialized, and then it was time to make my way across the road to the station and my home town with all its lights on.