After a somewhat disappointing room in London I was pleasantly surprised to find that my Airbnb host in Madrid was on top of everything: the room was clean, I had a glass of water and a chocolate waiting for me, and he was happy to interact. The last time I was in Madrid I stayed near the Plaza del Sol but this time I slept a bit further out from the center of the city – up the street from the Puerta de Toledo. Overall I find that the more residential an area the nicer the stay – though in this case it was still in the prime tourist district.

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As a digital nomad I’m not used to the kind of connection that Google has.

My arrival though wasn’t without bumps. I couldn’t checkin until late in the evening so I figured I’d setup shop at the Google Campus and work for about five hours or so. Sadly the campus closes on weekends and I didn’t realize this so I had to carry all my gear way up the hill and find another place to sit. I did, but I was sweaty and uncomfortable after the journey. My host ended up coming two hours early to let me in, an act for which I was grateful.

In the evening I decided to walk down to the Parque Madrid Rio. Madrid’s parks are excellent and everywhere. This one was filled with places to sit, playgrounds, exercise stations, a skate park, and more.

Entering Madrid was a nice pause for me. I had been at my team meetup in Bilbao and as much as I loved it I needed a few days of quiet to catch up on work and give my mind a pause. A few walks, some exercise, beautiful sunsets, and lots of thought was my medicine.

The Mercado de la Ceboda (which I passed every day) was eerily empty. Maybe around one third or one fourth of the stalls were occupied. It’s not far from the Plaza Mayor and in the middle of a tourist restaurant district but for some reason wasn’t doing very well. One idea tossed around is that a growing tourist industry shifts food consumption away from groceries and into restaurants, thus killing markets like this one.

Not me though – I was all about the freshly-made home-cooked meals. At work meet ups we tend to eat at indulgent and fancy places and it’s hard to maintain moderation. The more I eat out the more out of shape I get. Making my own meals is a little accomplishment that makes me feel better; plus I save a ton of money. Sadly my room had no stove so I had to learn how to make hot meals with only a microwave.

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That meal right there is scrumptious and nutritious but I owe its inspiration to someone else. Yum.

Notably I didn’t eat this but the shop was amazing and I wanted to share ALL THE HAM in Iberia. Ham shops were everywhere – there’s even a chain called Museum of Ham.

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