Well it's that time again. We're in our third apartment in three school years and so for anyone who may still be interested, I think this one may just be the best yet (the photos are some of the worst, but try to see past the lighting situation we're dealing with here). Our place was about as clean as it's ever been yesterday morning (we'd hosted people the night before) so I seized the moment and the wee bits of morning light we get to snap these pictures.
This year we live on Calle de Alcalá, which, fun fact, is the longest street in Madrid. It begins in the Puerta del Sol and continues to the northeastern outskirts of the city, about 10.5 km long in total. Some of the most recognizable buildings and sights in Madrid are along Alcalá, inlcuding Retiro park. Just like in our first apartment, when we lived on Calle de Toledo, whenever we tell people that we live on Calle de Alcalá, they know it instantly, which is kind of nice (I mean, as long as we pronounce it well enough for them to recognize it - for some reason that's been a consistent problem with this new address).
So, if you're approaching our place, you'll go up some stairs to reach the front door and if the doorman, Sergio, is on-duty, it'll be unlocked and you can come on in, however, he'll ask you who you're here to see, what you're doing, etc. If Sergio isn't working, you can ring our buzzer and we'll let you in - this year we can see who's outside on a video rather than just with the finicky phone/intercom system, which although at first it seemed really frivolous, it has actually been really nice. Come on up the stairs to your left, where you'll pass by the bank of mailboxes, go up a few more stairs, continue straight, and that's us, the door on the right.
Once you enter in, you can basically see the entire apartment, aside from the bathroom, but I'm going to try to take it a bit slower. The front door is directly in front of the kitchen table, and to the left of the door is the kitchen. To the right of the door is our bedroom, and to the left of the kitchen and eating area is the living room and bathroom.
In the pictures below of the eating area, you can see some white drawers. There are actually no drawers in the kitchen aside from these, so we use the top two drawers for things like utensils, silverware, napkins, and trivets and the bottom for household items like candles, scissors, umbrellas, and other miscellaneous things.
Also, outside the kitchen window you may be able to see our clothes line. We've had access to a clothes line in all three of our apartments, but this is the first one we've actually used. I think it's partially due to the fact that we're the only ones with access to the courtyard where the clothes hang (via our windows, but still) so I feel safer about all of our things still being there at the end of the day, and also, Danny can climb out of the window to help, which is especially helpful with items like sheets and duvet covers.
There's not loads to say about our bedroom, except that it's great! We don't have loads of storage, although we do have a closet that has a rod for hangers and some built-in drawers as well. We keep all of our suitcases under the bed in addition to some of my out of season clothing - there's also some other storage over the closet where we keep a few extra things and Danny's seasonal clothes.
You may also notice to the right of our window (to the right of all of our windows, really) a strap. We pull on these to lower and raise the exterior shades on our windows, and although they're not the prettiest to look at, they're all the rage in Spain and also incredibly practical - good ones can make a room pitch black at any time of day. This year is the first time we've had them on all of our windows, and it's really been a game changer for us sleep-wise. Oh, and I poked my head out of our bedroom window so you can get a feel for how far down we are - and why we get so little natural light - our building is nine stories high and I'm not sure about the one next to us...essentially no matter the time of day or the weather outside, it kind of feels like we're living in a cave.
Our kitchen has everything we could really ask for and more - for example, the dishwasher has really been amazing. We had one in our first apartment in Madrid but used it as a drying rack more than anything since we rarely entertained. Now, we have people over at least once a week, and enough dishes to fill it too, so we get plenty of use out of it. Of course, we've also got an oven - highly coveted in Madrid rentals and a non-negotiable for us after we realized our first year how much we really missed it.
We have pretty good cupboard space, but a lot of it is just too high up to be usable on a daily basis, especially since the area over the sink isn't actually storage space but rather a drying rack. You may have also noticed the radiators in the rooms. This is our first year with actual heating in our apartment, and I can't say enough how much we love the radiators and have noticed a huge difference with them. The past two winters we spent in layers, sometimes wearing even more in the house than out of it because we were sedentary inside and thus got cold quicker than when we were outside and moving around. We don't control the heat in our apartment, but from what I've noticed, it's been on almost non-stop since about a week into November, and I haven't had to wear long sleeves in the house ever since.
I know, our couch looks strange. Our landlord insists that we keep a cover on it, and without the armrests raised, it looks liked the backseat of a van (not a bad thing, but just saying), and with the armrests up, it looks really bizarre with the cover on. So, because we're not being featured in Better Homes & Gardens, we just leave it on and rest easy that whenever our landlord drops by we don't have to furiously try to get the cover on in time or face his questioning about why we're not using it.
Also in the living room is what appears to be a built-in bookcase. In reality, it's a door, leading to an apartment also owned by our landlord - it all used to be one big apartment at one point. It's been unoccupied as long as we've lived here, which is just fine by us since Danny enjoys breaking out in song at random times and it seems like the walls in between the two units are unusually thin. As you turn towards the kitchen, you can see a tall cabinet, which is where we keep our cleaning and laundry supplies, Danny's work out equipment, and our recycling, before Danny takes it out about once a week.
The bathroom may be my favorite room in the house. I didn't get the best photos of it because I didn't want to be shown in the mirror (I was still in my pj's!), but I think you can get the idea: the sink with three large drawers in the vanity, a glass shower that never struggles with hot water (unlike all of our previous showers in Madrid), and a toilet to the right of the shower.
Since you've seen everything else, I suppose we'll end in the bathroom! I hope you've enjoyed the tour, and if you'd ever like to see more, know that you're always welcome in Madrid! My parents visited (and stayed in) our last apartment, and our friend Sam came just a few days after we moved into our current place, so we're learning the ropes of hosting in a small space. There's also a rather nice looking hotel just around the block if you're not so sure about it all. ;)