Apart from the sea of surgical masks everywhere you look, life is seemingly back to normal here. It is remarkable how the widespread fear about a second wave seems to have subsided as more and more freedoms have been granted to us in Madrid. The ebb and flow of normal life has once again filled the city and quarantine routines have been gently forgotten. Similarly, my commitment to regular blog posts has significantly wavered as I’ve made up for lost time by doing all the things that for so long we were forbidden from doing. Weeknights are now spent catching up with friends or lounging in El Retiro playing all the new games that we’ve perfected throughout the lockdown and at weekends we are escaping the heat of the city to go walking in the blessing that is Madrid’s sierra.
Last weekend we treated ourselves with a swim in a reservoir at the end of a particularly sweaty ramble. It was more glorious than the first swim of any other summer that has gone before this one. The plunge in the cold water washed away not only the labours of our early morning hike but the restlessness, frustration and unease of the lockdown. It felt like in one freezing moment summer had begun and we had rid ourselves of the uncertainty of the last few months. To swim a couple of strokes underwater was cleansing for the soul. The momentary tranquillity of the silence beneath the water’s surface was enough to wipe the slate clean. It was an instant of recalibration. The dawn of the new era.
I looked at my friends staring lazily out of the window in the back of the car on the way home. Sun-kissed faces showed beaming smiles singing along to our favourite tunes. This was what we have been looking forward to for so long. This is the reason why we love Madrid. The heat is here to stay now and it looks increasingly likely that we will be able to salvage a much-deserved summer after all.