Saturday, February 9, 2013

We've Built a Nest in Madrid

At long last, this past week we found a nice apartment in which to move for the duration of our time in Madrid.  There are millions of people in Madrid and THOUSANDS of apartments and with the economic hardships and people leaving the country we thought it might be easy and cheap finding and apartment.  Wrong on both counts.
Of course we needed one furnished (more on that in a minute).
Here, first of all, is a shot of our dormitory room at the Madrid MTC.  It had 4 beds, but thankfully we didn't have to share with anyone.  And we even had our own bathroom.  However, we had to be out by 12 noon last Wednesday because new missionaries we arriving.  The Madrid MTC has a capacity of 82 beds.  They are receiving 85 new missionaries in March, and the next batch is something like 96, not counting the North American missionaries, if their visas come through.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to do the math and realize they won't fit.  President Sitterud is frantically looking for additional off-site housing.  We went to look at one place with him that could probably house 20 or more.  It's about 1 mile away.  Missionaries would have to walk back and forth; not too bad really unless the weather is foul.  We did not unpack our suitcases in the MTC; just wore what we had on and unpacked our personal care items.
 These photos are not in any particular order, so this next one is of the elevators in our new apartment building.  We live on the 6th floor of an 11-story building that's probably about 30-40 years old.  Thankfully our apartment is newly refurbished.  The elevators are so small; they only hold 4 people that are of medium build; it's a good thing there's 2 elevators.  This is looking from our apartment door.
 Here's looking from the elevators back into our apartment.  There are 4 apartments per floor.  Our address is 27-6D on Calle Valdebernardo ( I know, I wish I could have found an apartment on Calle Lopez, or Garcia or something.  Good luck pronouncing it).  The door has 12 dead bolts.  I think it's more secure than the vault at Ft. Knox.
 A peak inside the elevators.  Believe it or not, the Elders (2 of them) got our new bed and themselves in one of these.  It was like the old exercise of cramming people in a VW Bug.
 The living room.  Actually quite nice; except of course for the bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling.  We could buy fixtures, but it would come out of our own pocket.  Apparently "furnished" does not mean with light fixtures, OR, in our case, with a bed.
 Nice leather sofas though, and a dining room table for 6 with a nice china cabinet (behind wall to the right).
 Looking down the hall from the Living Room.  First door on right is into the kitchen.  First door on left is Vivienne's study/laundry&ironing room.
 Sister Sullivan in her little kingdom; the kitchen.  Granite counter tops and new appliances.  Well, except for the dishwasher and washing machine.  No dryer.  They kind of don't have those in Spain.  Go figure.  There's almost room enough for 2 people to pass each other in the kitchen.  It's "L" shaped, goes to the right where.......
 there's a tiny table that folds out for use.  The chairs actually fold up and slide underneath.  Nice oven and microwave with a gas stove.  Takes some getting used to cooking on gas, but today we had lovely grilled cheese sandwiches cooked on it.
 Anther shot of Sister Sullivan.  It was Saturday morning and we had been up until almost midnight with the Young Single Adults in the institute building on Temple Square.  They have a get-together every Friday night and many of them don't get off work, on the subway or bus, and on to Temple Square until after 9:00.  We feed them refreshments at 8:30 (after 1 1/2 hours of institute class for those who can make it), then they go into the classroom for another hour or so for help from the Church Employment specialist, Brother Serrano (who, along with his wife, is an absolute RIOT; the kids love him), then they come back into the activity room/kitchen just to fellowship and talk, etc.  They are really great kids and we had a blast with them.  But getting home at midnight and then up at 7-ish is really really hard at our age.
 Vivienne'e room
 Vivienne's armoir (full of books and stuff)
 Our bathroom.  If you think the kitchen is small, you should have the experience of being in our bathroom.  Tiny.  No shelves.  I really don't know how they do it.
 But even though it's tiny, the shower is awesome.  3-in-1; hand sprayer, vertical out of the wall shower, and overhead.  Each with their own controls.  The only problem is that the apartment only has a 10-gallon water heater.  I've had to learn to shave in the sink.  Even that was with cold water this morning.

Above is the extra bedroom for those who actually make it to Spain to visit us.  We have a 3-bedroom apartment.  This trundle bed actually sleeps 2, but were not sure how clean it is.  For now it's just our luggage and overflow room.
Below is our bedroom and our new bed.  Our pride and joy.  Michelle, this bedspread is really a beautiful spread with matching pillow covers that we found in a little Chinese shop about a block away from the apartment.  Lots of stitching.  I think you would like it.
 Main bedroom closet.  We have lots more shelving and storage than we thought we would.  It's nice.
 The night stands and dresser have beautiful pink marble tops.
 Home Sweet Home, or as they say in Spain, "Hogar Dulce Hogar"
 Main entrance to the apartment.  One really sad thing in Madrid is all of the graffiti.  It is everywhere.  Except on the Temple Grounds.  I guess since the unemployment rate among the youth in the country is over 50%, they must not have anything else to do with their time.  To me though it's ironic; they don't have jobs or any money but manage to buy lots of cans of spray paint.
 The view from our living room window looking southwest.
 The view from our living room looking northwest.  A nice little park below.  The other side of the building faces the Temple, which would have been nice, but much hotter in the summer.
 The courtyard of the main entrance into the apartment building.  Most of the buildings I have seen around the city look very similar as far as graffiti.
 Sister Sullivan and the main door.  Keyed and locked 24-7.
Looking from the main entrance of the Temple on Temple Square towards our apartment building.

So, the bottom line is, we feel extremely fortunate; the apartment is right across the street from the Temple!


  1. It feels like I'm there, except my feet are still cold!

  2. good to see where you will be living. Hope it will feel at home real soon. Just having another snow storm here today. Doug and I will be heading south tomorrow for a week trip. Will definitely be warmer there.

  3. Hi sister Viv, so wonderful to see you all settled in in Madrid. Love reading your blog. I wish you and your husband all the best. My mother, sister and I will be in Spain walking the way of St. James Dom 3/20-4/27. If we finish ahead of schedule we might be spending sometime in Madrid. I will try contacting you then. All my love and prayers, Ivelisse

  4. Good to see where you're living. We feel your pain on the tiny bathroom! And is that a half-deflated beach ball in Viv's room?

  5. Looks like a nice home to me. Mom, we have the exact same slippers!

  6. If I showed you pictures of some of the places I lived in in Mexico,you would realize what a palace you have.

    Also, Liyara wants to see more pictures of Bubba. But she waved a lot to Nana.

  7. Cute little digs. We are glad you are safe and settled. Haven't had home teachers since you got released from the burden. We really miss you!