Almond blossom at Quinto de los molinos
When I started to teach here, one of my first students told me that I should make sure to go and see the almond blossom in the park near to where I live. She said it will be in February. I waited and February came and went and there was no sign of the blossom. Madrid has had an unseasonal winter - much like the rest of Europe - and spring has been slow in coming.
The free newspapers that I pick up in the mornings have been running stories about the late blossom and teasing me with pictures from last year. We have been putting our coats away and bringing them back out within days. Then the sun finally came out on Sunday 14 March and I crossed my fingers.
My students on Monday morning reminded me of the park at Suanzes which is across the road from one of the classes that I teach. Monika had been cycling there and said the blossom was on its way and that next weekend it should be perfect - if the rain didn't get to it first!
The blossom was well on its way and I could see why this park is feted. The spiky blackened tree bark is stunning against the snowy blossom and the sky was a perfect shade of blue. There were many business people taking a lunch time walk and a few happy dog-walkers.
It reminded me of my time in X'ian in China when I discovered the botanical gardens and was entranced by the blossom and the tulips. City dwellers need their flowers and we rely on parks and gardens to refresh our hearts and minds.