I found the above photograph on my hard drive today. I took it in Madrid—maybe three or four years ago. Vague recollections: I was at a cocktail party and there was a balcony with a great view of the city; on that evening, a fantastic sky at dusk. I recall spending a lot of time outside, in the company of others, but looking mostly toward the horizon and at the traffic circle below. And, apparently, taking pictures. I didn’t remember the photos. Yet I know for certain I took them.
My memories of the city of Madrid are equally fuzzy. I’ve been to the Spanish capital twice —a decade or so apart. It has a quality that is hard to pinpoint. For me Madrid is like Chicago: a big, important city which is also small and a little boring. There are, however, Madrid memories I’ve retained for safekeeping: seeing for the first time Goya’s “The Dog” at Museo del Prado, exploring the exterior and interior of Atocha Station, and visiting—north of the city—the wondrous El Escorial, where deep inside, in golden sepulchers, are the remains of centuries of Spanish royalty.