A little over a year ago, I came to Madrid for the first time, and I had no idea what to make of it. Jenna and I wandered around for a few days, reuniting with friends and eating amazing food, but we never really found our rhythm before leaving for Sevilla on the Ave a few days later.
When we came back for our flight back to Chicago, though, it immediately felt like home. It clicked and it was magical. Our second hotel was cheap and amazing (our first was an AirBNB with a window-facing fishtank as a shower wall?). We knew some places. We were truly upset to leave.
My favorite movie – and maybe my favorite piece of art, period – is Paolo Sorrentino's La Grande Bellezza. It's a longingly beautiful portrait of life, achievement, and disillusionment that begins with scenes from the start of a new morning in Rome.
These are just a few images, but this walk was the beginning of my Great Beauty. I got to see Madrid, a city I quickly fell in love with (after the jetlag wore off), starting a new day just as I really needed to do the same in my life. I found my way on familiar streets past landmarks from our last visit. It was a gift I hope I get to open again and again.