Every apartment has its little secrets. First of all, we’re only 2 blocks from our favorite eatery, Mercado San Miguel. Although those 2 blocks are straight uphill.  We decided to take a break from formal dining last night and walked up there and collected a nice to-go meal of empanadas, croquettes and mini-quiches. Along with a nice thick slice of Ponche, that wonderful Segovia dessert that I’ve raved about before. A creamy base covered in rum-soaked cake and wrapped lovingly in marzipan, if you had no reason to come to Madrid, Ponche is reason enough.
In addition to location, I discovered this morning that there is a billiards table hiding inside the dining room table. A first for us, shooting a game of pool while doing laundry and drinking Nespresso. Plus, the television has a channel that broadcasts live coverage of the ongoing Volta a Catalunya bicycle race. On top of that, A perfect combination of little gifts.
But those little gifts often exact a price. We’ve booked on main pedestrian streets before, and it’s never been perfect. I remember drunks singing football songs on La Rambla in Barcelona at 4 AM, and the drunks just singing on the main entrance to the old town in Valencia. As mentioned previously, Mateo Gagos was noisy too, but mostly with delivery trucks. I guess drunks don’t like to sing in Sevilla. In Paris we’ve been lucky because every apartment has been in the diplomatic neighborhood and so, very quiet. Probably because of the heavily armed gendarmes on every corner. Last night we had some singing, but not a lot. Rather, what we had was the Final Battle of the Transformers.
It began with the restaurant across the street. They closed and the workers began to bring the tables and chairs inside. Six tables and 25 chairs, dragged across the cobblestones, one at a time. That was bad, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as what was about to come – the arrival of the garbage trucks.
They come at night and they don’t come on little cat feet like Carl Sandburg’s “Fog.” No, they come like battle tanks invading the Sinai. One truck was out there for a solid 5 minutes, doing what sounded like cars being crushed. It left, I sighed, I dozed off. And then another came and threw dumpsters around. It left too, but then they kept coming and coming and coming for what seemed like hours. Of course, it was probably fifteen minutes, but it sure seemed like hours. Eventually they collected every last scrap of trash and withdrew to whatever lair they sleep in during the daylight. After a decent night’s sleep, I woke to the sound of Blackbirds singing in the trees surrounding Opera Plaza. One more little gift.
Not sure what’s on the agenda for this morning. We stayed in bed a bit later than normal and since we only have two days here, we plan to either walk this way, or that way. “This way” probably means a visit to the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza or the “Boromir Museum” as we like to call it. “That way” means a stroll downhill and across the Rio Manzanares to wander around in a big park. One way or the other, we’ll talk about it later.