Well this will be a short post because it rained all day and was in the mid-40s so I skipped a couple of things I had planned and caught up on some sleep in the evening.
I still managed to see some cool stuff and walked 11,500 steps though!
I walked from Plaza Mayor where I’m staying to Atocha and the National Museum of Anthropology, had a late lunch/early dinner, and called it a day.
For me, yesterday is the BEST thing about traveling alone–or doing anything alone, really. Had I been with someone else or had other people spent money, I would have felt obligated to be miserable and stay out in the rain and cold all evening. Since I’m by myself, I can do what I want and I don’t have to worry about upsetting or disappointing anyone else. It’s so nice and relaxing. Maybe that’s selfish? I had a talk with a friend a couple of weeks ago and they couldn’t believe I liked to go to the movies alone. They said going to the movies and sharing that experience with someone was the best part but I completely disagree. In most cases (there are many exceptions–like with a good romantic partner), when I do things with others I feel this overpowering obligation–at the cost of my own happiness–to make sure they are constantly and fully enjoying themselves even if that means I’m not. It’s like being around others automatically means I have to forego what I want and enjoy because I feel like they deserve to enjoy themselves more than they should feel obligated to sacrifice for my enjoyment. *shrug*
Well, enough of my psychobabble, let’s recap.
First, I stopped at Parroquia de Santa Cruz (the Church of the Holy Cross). One of my favorite things about Europe is passing random churches and walking in without any expectation of what I’ll see. This one didn’t disappoint. There were little chapels dedicated to different saints, acts, and events all around the edge and one of them was dedicated to La Virgen de 7 Dolores.
After saying a few prayers and looking at the other relics I went on my way. I stumbled upon a memorial to the Lawyers of Atocha who were killed by Fascists in 1977. It’s so interesting to read about recent history in a huge city, especially to remember that Fascism in Spain was still so powerful the year my mother graduated high school that lawyers were being murdered in the streets of the capital city.
After seeing the church and monument, I saw another smaller church, Parroquia de El Salvador y San Nicolas and popped in. It was really dark and there wasn’t much to see and a bunch of old people were praying so I left. Just up the block, I found a cute little coffee counter across from a huge blade store called Luso. I got an espresso and a “zumo vit” and sat under the awning and watched people for a bit before I got too cold.
Calle de Atocha is also a street filled with fabric and yarn shops, which I love. When I was younger, so many places in the US used to sell fabric by the yard but I seldom see these stores anymore (besides JoAnn’s I guess). I wonder if a lot of Spaniards sew or have machines? Like more than in the US. It was raining pretty hard and was cold and I only have a raincoat so I tried to get to the National Anthropology Museum in a hurry.
I was pleasantly surprised by the anthropology museum. They had two exhibits about Pacific Island anthropology and that’s one of my favorite topics ever! Besides these special exhibits about the Philippines and the Chamorro in Guam and the Marianas they also had two bigger galleries dedicated to African and Indigenous American anthropology. It was only €3 which was great. I was disappointed some of the main galleries were closed for renovation because I wanted to see some European anthropology but it was a great way to escape the rain, it was super empty, and they had a clean bathroom.
My favorite thing I saw, besides the Chamorro language pieces and the historical maps of the shipping routes between Spain, Mexico and the Philippines, was a group of paintings by Sal Bidaure. It was neat to see a small connection between Hawaii, Guam, the Philippines, and Mexican art!
After the anthropology museum I walked to the Prado but I was really tired and wet and cold so I decided to try to find a spot for a warm lunch. Spain loves its tapas and there isn’t a shortage of places but I really wanted a hearty meal. Again, just by chance, I stumbled down Calle de Cervantes and passed a neat Mexican store I had actually saved on my agenda to visit (it was closed for siesta) and the home of Miguel de Cervantes. En route to a soup spot I found on Google, I walked past Casa de Diego and saw that they had a full menu so I decided to stop there instead. I ordered a salad “ahumado” and albondigas which came with bread. It was the best meal I’ve had so far and I really liked the vibe in this place. The owners were helping customers and the bar was really nice too. I finished my meal with a small Mahou and then decided to forego the Prado and go back to my place for what was meant to be a nap.
The 27 hour day the day before caught up to me and I passed out for about 11 hours (only to be awoken at 3:45 by my panicking mother thinking my 33 year old, soft-bodied, ginger self had been kidnapped and sold into sex slavery) so that’s the end of day two!
It was abouttt as close to perfect as it could be for me. I got to see some Pacific Island history/anthropology, I got to go to a really neat church, I got to see a monument about contemporary European political history (my other favorite), I got to have a great coffee, eat a nice lunch, and then sleep.
I spent almost exactly 30 Euros bringing my total so far to €71.37 for two days. Let’s see what today brings!