I’m back in the Pacific Northwest for the holidays, visiting friends and family in the rain and drinking great beer! Despite having a nasty cold I caught somewhere between Frankfurt and Colorado I’ve managed already to load my bags with maple syrup + peanut butter, two days ago I renewed my Oregon drivers license and I have caught up on all the local Portland gossip with my neighbors. My mom (I love you mom) is on a crusade to bring me back home, touting all the amazing things this country/state/city/house offers and the honest truth is that I had forgotten how cool this place really is. Its nice how efficiently things operate compared to Spain and also great to walk down the street and just be smiled at, not cat-called. Great to see guys with beards, women with short hair and kids and dogs just about everywhere. Its awesome to see people on bikes and they are respected by cars. Its true I miss parts about home but for now its still alright to just visit – it’s always gonna be home.
Still on my to-do list: snowshoeing on Mt. Hood, an NBA game and brunch.
I love living in Latina, right near Lavapies for awesome markets and connected to Casa de Campo for a little green space, what more could a girl want really? Rarely do I find the need to leave my neighborhood and I’m even making friends with neighbors and fellow expats right around my block. The Madrid that exists north of Malasaña was basically a mystery to me until this year. (Before you get judgy, I was busy traveling to other places around this crazy country and seeing more of Europe too, okay??) Slowly but surely I’m embracing the metro stops north of Tribunal, one step at a time discovering little gems and a new side to this city that was just above me all along.
Definitely a little more polished, a little newer with taller apartment buildings and more established families but no less worth discovering. Try the Iglesia at metro Iglesia, the Centro de Ocio y Deportes or one of the many seasonal pop-up Christmas markets like this one.
For reference check out my extremely inaccurate hand-drawn map of Madrid
One of the places I stumbled upon (actually just saw on the street one night off of metro Alonso Cano) is this restaurant called MUTA. I wasn’t sure at first what the space actually was but what got me was the espresso machine and industrial interior. I don’t have a photo but in one corner there was a home-made vending machine where you could buy simple tapas to snack on while waiting for a table. I wasn’t too hungry so I had a glass of wine and munched on their homemade potato chips.
MUTA’s price point is definitely dear (8–20€ for sharable tapa portions and 3-5€ for wine and imported beers) but if your looking for a place to feel chic and experience a budget slice of the “molecular gastronomic cuisine” made famous here in Spain then this is worth a look – and if you try the espresso let me know how it is!
I really wanted this post to be about how piney-fresh my house smelled with a Christmas tree sitting in the living room but that just wasn’t in the cards. Real trees are going for 30€ a meter in Plaza Mayor and I won’t be going to the countryside soon to cut one down myself. Call me extreme but I like a real tree or the farthest thing from real, there’s really no inbetween. Electrical tape and elbow grease are a second (admittedly ultra-modern and not so cozy) alternative and certainly less maintenance than a live tree. The cats agree 🐾
If you plan on trying this yourself, make sure not to pull the tape too much when you’re sticking it to the wall or it will peel away!
This weekend there was (yet another) puente, the coveted three day holidays that get tacked onto weekends. I went hiking in the mountains between Segovia and Madrid very under dressed and quite unprepared for all the snow. On our way up we stopped at a little hut for tea and snacks and I learned that these structures are quite common and people even stay the night in them (thinking about this when I was sitting inside freezing my a** off it didn’t sound half as cool as it may to you right now!). Once we made it all the way to the top of the mountain ridge the clouds lifted and we got some amazing views then we headed down and warmed up at a friends cabin before coming back to town.