by Erin Elaine
Today I rented a bike (5€ for an hour!) and rode along the Río Manzanares in Madrid with my friend Raquel. About 5 years ago they moved a freeway (autovía – I learned a new word today) underground and transformed 10km worth of riverside land into a giant park. There are trees, flowers, fountains, playgrounds, cafés, and more.
Best of all, there’s a really wide paved area just for bikers and runners. Not to mention the periodic water fountains, the great people watching, and the view of the Royal Palace, the Cathedral, and the football (soccer) stadium.
The weather was great and I had a really nice time. I’ll definitely be doing this more often. The 70F spring weather is perfect for it! (Speaking of which, I’m definitely becoming accustomed to Madrid’s weather. 70F now feels like delightful spring weather, rather than boo-yah summer’s here let’s go swimming right now! weather.)
The cutest thing I saw all day was a guy who was running with his dog (some type of bully mutt) and stopped at one of the water fountains while we were also stopped there. The man made his hands into a cup shape and filled them with water so his dog could drink out of it like a bowl. So the dog laps up a few mouthfulls, then rubs his face all over the guys pantlegs. Then the guy goes to refill his handbowl with water, and the dog starts drinking the water out of the puddle on the ground. Then the guy brings his dog’s attention back to the handbowl, and the dog takes two tongue-fulls and then licks and slobbers all over his human’s face. The whole time, the dog is wagging his tail and full of energy and obviously loves his human a ton and doesn’t give a shit about the water. It was hilarious and so adorable.