You’ve tried to challenge me.
First you gave me cold weather, hot accommodations, a rude cab driver and you caught me tired after a train journey.
You made it difficult for me to find a place to eat because you have too many options.
Your cobblestone streets made my feet develop their own sounds of pain and your slight hills challenged my pulse.
In short, it was a tough day one.
When I saw the multitude of wall to wall people at La Puerta Del Sol and at El Mercado de San Miguel, I thought there was a block party going on; instead, it was simply Sunday.
When I finally found a little joint where we consumed a quite scrumptious Paella, I started giving you a chance. When I found out the Chocolateria San Gines was nearby, I almost wept with joy.
Things were looking up.
Then I tried the chocolate at Gines and didn’t welcome the anise hint I found in my cup of the hot brew.
My dreams of everything I had envisioned from my vast research, were slowly shattering into tiny pieces of unrealized expectations.
I expected more from you and you simply didn’t deliver.
Then, I realized you came to me right smack in the middle of a near perfect trip. I also realized I had to put my big boy pants on and make the best of a fantastic situation. After I whipped myself into shape, I found your true colors.
Today, you met my morning gaze with torrential rains. I opened up my borrowed hotel umbrella, made sure my fellow travelers were with me, set the navigation on my phone and walked to the Tour office where we were taking a motor coach excursion of towns in your outskirts.
We crossed puddles, alleyways, callejones and streets.
We all got wet, but we survived and we laughed.
(What a blessing to be able to laugh, out loud, with fervor, with emotion and to be able to repeat it wherever we’ve been on this journey).
We took the tour and saw sights and places that defined beauty in hundreds of ways by the simplest of means: the eyes of a suffering Christ, the structure of a Cathedral, a fresco hanging in a church, rolling hills, stunning countrysides and even in the presentation of a fabulous meal.
I have but a few days more with you and you are already inching your way into my heart. I’m a sucker if not for love at first sight, for love once I’ve gotten to know you better.
And get to know each other better is what we need to do.
Madrid, I think I
like love you.