La Catedral de Justo: The End (and Hellooooo Madrid!)

On Day Three at La Catedral de Justo, I woke up and for some reason was yet to find myself adjusted. I was still on a dusty floor that I shared with one very generous rat. My yoga mat was still far too firm to be a sleeping pad. There was still nothing for breakfast (unless you considered the leftovers from Angel's shopping spree yesterday that had gifted us with about three pounds of raw pork and chicken).

If there was some ideal of coziness, this was about as far away from it as you could get.
To me, a structurally-unsound already 50-year-old gutted and unfinished cathedral has "cozy" written all over it. Right?
John encouraged me with notions of patience and endurance. I checked bus schedules. The hot chocolate of Madrid was calling my name.

We waited to see what Angel would be having us work on that day. Turned out it was lifting huge boards of wood that had been sitting outside of the cathedral with intended use for building, but due to months of procrastination (too much prayer, perhaps?) had become too damp and would not be usable. There were about 200. We would be carrying each one, individually, to the interior balcony of the cathedral, throwing them over said balcony, where they would break upon impact and then wait for a bonfire to claim them. In short, a completely useless job. Angel showed us what to do, then drove off.
The interior courtyard (don't you just love the electric blue railings?) and the balcony to the left over which we threw our  five-by-ten boards
We moved, slowly shuffling with one person carrying the front, one in back. After about five boards, I reached a tipping point. We packed our bags, I made up some excuse to Justo about mixing our dates up, and we were gone before Angel even returned. I left a note. Perhaps he'll add it to the pile of boards that were never used before being thrown into a fire.

And so we found a cheap hostel near the Plaza de España and made our way back into the big city.
And this is how we returned: like stealthy badasses on our motorcycles.  Or we just took public transportation.
Flinging off the dusty blanket of bitchwork and despair that had covered us at the cathedral, we decided to treat ourselves a bit, and soon after arriving made our way to tapas town, which included the obligatory visit to Mercado San Miguel, Madrid's chic it spot to flaunt your touristic urge to sample every Madrileño dish imaginable.
Maybe mozzarella isn't very Spanish, but daaamn it was good
Pickled baby eggplants, need I say more?
At the fresh fish stalls in the mercado, you can have items cooked to order for a rather hefty price, but won't you look so very stylish walking around with your ocean fare and glass of wine?
At the ominous sound of synchronous drumbeats (see the video at the bottom of this post), we pulled ourselves away from the mercado to find a "parade" for Semana Santa taking place on the street just outside. "Parade" meaning spectacle of mass mourning and repentance of sins. Fun!
There's something about this image that positively screams "party time"
"Don't mind us, just carrying an imitation body of Christ past  the Carrefour..."
Yes, it is ok to feel innately afraid of any man you see wearing a pointed, hooded cap. Reports tell me that they have no relation to the infamous Ku Klux Klan, and the hoods are more of a symbolic covering of the face thing. 
What better to do after a somber, mildly scary parade than go air out morbidity at a public park? So off to the Parque de Retiro we went to explore the Crystal Palace and a bit of Modern Art strewn about the park.
We stumbled upon a free Heimo Zobernig exhibit in the Palacio de Velázquez. The piece at  right is made of toilet paper rolls, yes!
Dear ol´King Alfonso XII looking out over the parks large lake. The monument was erected by Alfie's mother...can you say "Momma's boy" in Spanish?
The beautiful Crystal Palace, once used as a greenhouse for imported exotic plants, is now generally for temporary art exhibitions (photos of which can be found on my Facebook page)
After a day full of escapes, eating, and park-dwelling, we made our way back to the hostel, preparing ourselves for the next morning. Hot chocolate time.
And by hot chocolate, I mean heated, thick, delectable chocolate. No powder here, just melty melty goodness.
We became friends with the owner of the best place for hot chocolate in Madrid, Chocolat, perhaps because we went there at least four times.
And what do you add to hot chocolate? Liqueur? Whipped Cream? Sugar? Coffee? All of the above? Yes?
And after another day of city meanderings, we prepared ourselves to set out toward the Devon coast the next day!
Madrid wouldn't be complete without introducing you to this Le Tigre employee, where you will find the most generous drinks and tapas in the city
Nor would my recount of Madrid be complete without introducing you to this dog and her tongue.
Farewell Royal Palace! Farewell Madrid!

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Views from the march of Semana Santa (these drums go on for as long as six hours--maybe more!)


  1. You definitely went from worst to first. I cant believe you even stayed at the cathedral after 1 day. Mercado San Miguel was one of our favorites in Madrid. That city is such a contrast to Barcelona and they're both awesome in their own ways.

    1. Yeah i must say that it has been the most bazaar experience yet! Madrid and BCN have been our fave cities on the trip so far, except for maybe Istanbul, but def fave EU.

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