There are some gaps in the trip, I know! We are safely home in KC and I owe this blog about a week’s worth of adventures. Here is a post I wrote about Madrid to tide you over!

– Ellen


Madrid has been unexpectedly relaxing; it’s nice to stay in one spot for more than two nights!

We’ve been able to get a pretty good idea of daily life. In Madrid – and most of Spain, from what I can gather – everything is moved back by about 3 hours: lunch isn’t until at least 1:30 but usually 2 or 3pm, and dinner is at 8 … or sometimes 9 or 10! (My mother would never survive.) People stay out later, too: midnight is about average for a weeknight, and 2 or 3 or 4am are often seen on the weekends.

We discovered the staying out late part early. The first night we were there we went out with our host – my friend Michael from college – to get tapas and meet some of his friends. Having not arrived until almost 8pm, we weren’t leaving his apartment until 10ish. Stopping for tapas took us to 11:30 and then we met his friends at a neighborhood festival.

In Madrid, “neighborhood festival” translates to “big f—ing party in the middle of the street.” Drinks are huge and relatively cheap, lots of dancing and loud music. So much life happening in one place! We also didn’t get there until 12 or maybe later since we walked there. His friends were wonderful – a fun bunch that was seeing a couple of friends off on a trip to Russia of all places – but eventually Britton and I had to give in to our exhaustion… at 3am! The trek home took another hour involving a night bus and plenty of walking. I fell asleep without even changing into pjs.

We’ve walked a LOT while in Europe: between sights, within cities, to and from metro stations, to get food, with our backpacks, through airports and train stations. It’s felt good to be so active but at the same time our feet are quickly losing their stamina. I am getting the most necessary pedicure of my life on Sunday when we’re home again.

That idea of home is always an interesting one when traveling. I talked about this a bit with Rebecca in Budapest. She’s often in flux between what would be a “permanent” address (her parents’ house in the states), her “current” address (in Spain where she teaches during the school year, Sept. – May-ish), and her “temporary” address (in Hungary where she is teaching over this summer). And even for me while we’ve been in Spain whenever I say, “Let’s head home for a bit” it is in reference to Michael’s apartment. Home is where the heart is but also where your head can hit a soft pillow.

Anyway, back to that first night, we decided we had definitely earned a morning without an alarm – a rare treat during our trip!

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