I love the feeling of a Sunday in Madrid. It’s slow, and calm, and deliberate. Most stores are closed. Cafés that are bustling the rest of the week are shuttered tight, or have just a handful of customers (if it’s summer and there’s a terrace, there may be more people about). There’s not much traffic even on the main drags. On any given Sunday, in 2010, Madrid feels like a village.

La Granja de San Ildefonso

For me, the best part of Sunday is lunch. Sunday lunch is (still) a big deal here, even if you don’t have family nearby. Of course, if you do have family to eat lunch with, you are probably going to eat with them on a Sunday. But if you don’t, you’ll probably have lunch at a friend’s house, or go to a restaurant. A lot of people head out of the city to have lunch in a pretty town. Here’s where we had lunch last week, with a friend who lives nearby. (Not the greatest picture I’ve ever taken, but oh that blue Castellano sky!)

After lunch, we headed back to our friend’s house and Don Pantalones had a nice siesta. We washed the car a little and talked about gardens a lot. We drove back to Madrid in the evening, feeling refreshed.

So here’s my recommendation, dear ones: make Sunday lunch a big deal again. If you’re far from family, build your own family out of friends, neighbors, and colleagues. And have a nap, while you’re at it.