Well, I’ve done it. I’m here in Madrid and making a go of it. So far, the city has been an incredible mixture of Oh-My-God-Hot during the day and “where’s my sweater, dammit?” in the evenings and early mornings. I kind of love it. I get all the comforts of tank top weather with the bliss of perfect sleeping temperatures.
In the short time since I’ve been here this go round, I’ve been enjoying plenty of vermú and tapas. This mini-tour of vermú spots is allowing me to get reacquainted with the city, especially since now I’m in a different neighborhood than before. It’s a barrio farther out—about an hour and a half walk from the center—which gives me plenty of exercise to help burn off the wine and Spanish cheesecake I’ve been enjoying with the vermú.
Along with the walking, I’ve connected with an American friend who lives in Spain full time, found a local writing group working in English, and started taking a Pilates class. So far, the Pilates class has been a comedy of ridiculous proportions—how is it possible that I manage to fall off that exercise ball thing every. single. time?—but I’m determined to get to all the lessons before the class goes on hiatus for the August vacation month.
As you’ve probably “heard” me complain about before, the food here is still terrible. I recently had an encounter with a cold asparagus Jello-like thing (swimming in béchamel sauce and surrounded by fried artichoke balls) that made me seriously question some of my life choices. Sometimes I imagine this must be what eating on another planet is like.
To be even-handed, while on a trip to La Mancha this weekend, I did end up at El Tinelo in Pastrana where the food was shockingly good. Fresh salads. Some kind of starter involving breadcrumbs, a soft-fried egg, and grapes. A trio of fairly yummy desserts. And, at the end of it all, a marble-sized ball of liquor that burst in my mouth to spread warmth and deliciousness all over my tongue. I was too hungry (shocked/enraptured?) to snap any photos so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It was good, though. Promise.
In addition to this treasure of a restaurant, the town of Pastrana is also the site of some craziness: the real story of a Spanish princess who was framed for murder then imprisoned in her own bedroom – with her daughter! – until she died. This Princess of Eboli was too beautiful, too single, and too rich for the men in power to let her live, apparently. This is some interesting fodder for some writer types. A Spanish TV series detailing the ludicrous situation is out there somewhere.
Since a writer and new expat cannot live by weekend trips to interesting pueblos alone, I’m back in the home barrio plugging away at my new Lindsay Evans novel as well as diving into edits for Femme Like Her, my long overdue novel about femmes in love and drama. Getting back into the rhythm of writing is hard, I can’t lie about that. Between various distractions and the different flow of the weekdays here, it’s slower going that I’d like. But at least it’s still going.
I’m writing, exploring, and hoping to keep to something that looks a little bit like my productivity schedule for 2019.
How is your almost-summer going?