Summer Renovations: Making Changes in Madrid - Spanish Sabores

Summer Renovations: Making Changes in Madrid

Metro Serrano

For some people, January first means setting goals and making changes. Others prefer to wait awhile and do some “spring cleaning” in their lives. And then there are people who do a sort of “back to school fall makeover”– new clothes, new books, new goals.

Not too many people choose summer to make big changes— they’re probably at the beach instead! My summers have always been synonymous with fun, family, vacations, beaches, and barbecues. But not this year. For the first time since moving to Spain in 2009, I stayed in Madrid for the entire summer. While I took a few weekend breaks within Spain I didn’t step foot off of Spanish soil.

But while everyone else was working on their tan and visiting friends and family, we were making some changes. I call them my summer renovations.


June 2012: I launched Madrid Food Tour.

Madrid Food tour

After waiting over six months for my residency card and work permit, I finally received my papers in early spring. But it was too late– I’d been bitten by the entrepreneur bug and I decided not to apply for any job openings. Instead, I chose to balance my freelance writing and blogging projects with an actual Madrid based business.

Madrid Food Tour is only a few months old, but we’ve already given tours to people from all over the world. I love showing people around my adopted city and explaining everything I know about Spanish food and wine. I look forward to growing the business and offering a greater variety of tours and food experiences. If you or someone you know is coming to Madrid in the coming months check out our website and feel free to email us with special requests.

I’ll keep everyone updated on how it is being an entrepreneur in Spain, but so far so good!

Lauren of Madrid Food Tour
Photo by Cassandra Gambill

July 2012: We made a surprise move across town.

We are happily settling in to our new place.

I loved the location of my last apartment. Nestled between Retiro Park and Atocha Train Station, it was ideal for transportation and being outdoors. But the apartment was small, and we work mainly from home. We were feeling claustrophobic and constantly in each other’s way.

When a friend told us that his coworker was looking for reliable tenants for his practically brand new apartment, we decided to take a look on a whim. I really didn’t want to see it because I was completely against the idea of living any farther from the center.

But when we walked in to a big, new, completely furnished two-bedroom two-bathroom apartment, we couldn’t say no (especially since the rent was the same as our old place!). So here we are in Ciudad Lineal, about 20 minutes away from Gran Vía (the center of Madrid) by metro and surrounded by shops and restaurants. I miss having Retiro Park a five-minute walk away, but besides that factor we definitely made the right choice. Just take a look:

Living Room
The living room.
Dining Room
The dining room (needs decoration!)
The entry room.
The kitchen (while still small by US standards) feels huge!
My office and guest bedroom (also Ale’s closet).

August 2012: We adopted Lima.

Baby Lima!

I’m super allergic to cats and love to travel. Adopting a cat was certainly not a logical choice here. But Ale and I couldn’t resist after seeing pictures of kittens at the Rivas Animal association. So I stocked up on allergy medication and we adopted baby Lima when he was only one month old. So far being cat owners has been fun– Lima is really cute and energetic. Besides having to find cat sitters when we travel, the pros outweigh the cons. Just look at that face!

Lima Box
Lima sleeping on his cardboard box (instead of his cat bed).

Three months and three big life events.

As we get closer to our one year Madrid anniversary, I can’t help but think how much we’ve done over the past year. Moving to this great city was definitely the right decision, and while I can’t promise we will live here forever, I’m really happy with things at the moment. That’s not to say that I will ever (willingly) spend the month of August trapped here again– it is too hot and miserable to even describe! Luckily, Spain has plenty of gorgeous beaches for next summer…

Did you make any changes this summer?


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  1. OMG – so many changes and all of them fantastic. The flat´s great and that kitchen is just waiting to be fired up for cooking! And the wittle kitty, gorgeous!

  2. Looks like things are going really well! Huge apartment for Madrid! Such a cute kitty, I am really allergic too, how are you holding up with it?

  3. Have you considered maybe recording one of your tours (the whole thing) and then putting together a sort of highlights video, like maybe 5-10 minutes long, and posting it on YouTube and here so that people can see what it is you do (and how fun/interesting it would be, and how they should really consider booking one, etc., wink wink)?

    I for one would love to see it, and I bet it would help your business out.


  4. “New baby” 🙂

    We were looking in Ciudad Lineal, too, since that’s where Mario’s cousins live, and you can get a bigger apartment for about the same price. But … we got lucky and found ours down south, which does mean a longer commute for Mario, but it’s a great place!

    Many changes this year! Me too, actually!

      1. I get there September 20, but we have (get this!) two weddings, September 22 and 29, in Zamora. So we’ll have to meet up in October — maybe my life will have finally settled down by then!

  5. Love your new place and can’t wait to crash it pasado manana! Have my allergy meds in my carry-on! Way proud of you for making the break and going for your dreams!

  6. I’m currently crashing at a friend’s place near Pueblo Nuevo, where I’ll stay until I return to the states later this month. I like being so close to all of the shops on Alcalá, and Parque Quinta de los Molinos is a great place to run or to visit if you’re missing Retiro.

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