10 ways I have spent my lockdown days in Madrid


It has now been 7 weeks since I set foot outside the building where I live here in Madrid. Spain and its capital have been among the areas suffering hard during the current corona pandemic. And I feel for all those that have been hurt one way or the other.

The Spanish government did right by applying strict lockdown-rules and making us all stay home for our own safety and only allowing us to venture out to do grocery shopping, to go to the pharmacy or the posthouse or to walk the dog. And naturally also to go to and from work, if you still have to. That is until tomorrow (May 2nd) when the rules will finally be loosened slightly.

I’m lucky that my partner has been taking care of our shopping during this period, but this also means I have been staying inside the same building for almost two months by now… a scenario I couldn’t have imagined a couple of months back when we returned to Madrid from a trip through Portugal – just before the lockdown.

SEE ALSO: 15 tips for travel lovers to cope with the corona quarantine

So, what do you do when being stuck home for so long? Do you fall into a lazy routine of lying on the couch and watching Netflix all day? Or do you try to come out stronger on the other side?

It was a bit of a leading question, I know, but yes, I chose the latter. Here’s how I have spent my days of confinement so far…

*The images are from my ‘sketchy lockdown’-story on my Instagram profile.


Spending quality time with my partner

I’m hopefully among many who have taken this sudden opportunity to spend more quality time with their partner or family. In normal workdays, it’s not always easy to fit in enough of Q-time, but now we’ve got fewer distractions and more chances to enjoy a quiet coffee break, to watch documentaries, to play board games and to practice our geography skills together.

My girlfriend has even done two “emergency haircuts” for me while I haven’t been able to go to the hairdresser. As it turns out, her degree in dog grooming pays off 😉


Working with what (material) I’ve got

When working as a freelance travel journalist, this isn’t exactly the ideal situation – just as a ton of other people are affected workwise by the situation, I am too. It’s uncertain times for most of us, but we can only take it day by day and see how things turn out. Meanwhile, we can prepare mentally for possible scenarios.

I’ve been lucky to have been locked down with fresh material from my recent trip through Portugal and a batch of orders on my desk. So I’ve been working with what I’ve got while also contemplating new projects.

SEE ALSO: 10 pros and cons of pursuing a career as a travel writer


Diving deep into my travel photo archive

I like structure and not at least when it comes to the files and photos on my laptop. But in a busier day-to-day work schedule, it can be hard to find the time to sort everything out, like my large archive of travel photos from years of holidays, adventures work trips.

Therefore, I’m using the extra time for diving deep into my archive and getting it sorted out and categorized while re-discovering inspiration and unused material. It has also made me cherish my travel memories all over again.

SEE ALSO: Love squirrels? Then you will go nuts for these photos from around Europe!


Improving my Spanish

My girlfriend is madrileña and I live in Spain and therefore I’m trying hard to improve my Spanish these days. I’ve never taken any classes, but I’m self-educating on-the-go by using books, apps and websites.

While the lockdown has cut me off from practising in real-life scenarios (other than with my girlfriend, of course), I have put more focus into my Duolingo-app and my books and made it a daily routine to start the day with some language lessons.


Staying in touch with friends abroad

No matter where we live, we’re all in the same boat these days and it’s a great time to catch up with friends from abroad to make sure they’re alright, to hear how they’re coping with lockdown and how their countries are dealing with the situation.

I always like to keep up with my foreign friends and now it’s more important than ever. I’m just looking forward to being able to visit them again once it’s possible.

SEE ALSO: Travel Thoughts: Foreign friendships – keep them going


Enjoying the views from our rooftop terrace

Lockdown days mean time to enjoy the little things that might not always make our priority-list in our daily lives – like enjoying the views from our windows, balconies and terraces.

Luckily, my partner and I had just moved into a new flat here in Madrid before we got confined, and here we’re blessed with wonderful views from our terrace to both mountain peaks and the skyline of the city.

It’s also from our terrace that we applaud the medical workers of Spain every night at 8pm. A chance to see people from across the street and feel part of a community for a few minutes.


Travelling through literature

I’m one of those people who love to buy books but sometimes “forget” to read them, as I lose myself in my work or simply don’t take my time to disconnect in busy days.

Well, now there is no excuse and I love it! Also, this is a great time to “travel by literature” and I’m currently taking daily train journeys through the pages of Amazing Train Journeys by Lonely Planet. And I’ve just received my latest batch of travel literature: Paris Was Ours by Penelope Rowlands and Seaside Donkey by Hannah Engelkamp. They should keep me entertained for a few more weeks.


Meditating… or trying to

It’s a mad world at the moment and more than ever we need mental escapes from reality from time to time. And while we often find escapes through literature and movies, I’m taking this opportunity to try my hand at meditation.

I’ve found some useful apps and I’m trying my best to fit in a daily session of mindfulness. It’s not as easy as you would think and I’m starting to admire people who are good at this.

SEE ALSO: 12 places in Europe to ‘get away from it all’ – once the world is back on track


Keeping in shape

Whether I’m travelling or not, I always love walking and do it a lot, so one big challenge of confinement has been missing that – as well as not being able to take my rollerskates for a spin.

That said, we live on the fifth floor without an elevator, which is a welcome opportunity for some step-training and I’m trying to fit in at least 8-10 trips (down and up) a day as well as doing some home-gym sessions – just to get a minimum of exercise. With all those steps, I’m pretty sure I could have conquered Mount Everest by now! 


Supporting small businesses

I feel really bad for all the passionate people and small businesses that have been hit hard by the current crisis and I think it’s nice if we can all support a few small or local businesses in these struggling times.

Personally, I have been able to place a couple orders at small businesses in my home country of Denmark as well as here in Madrid, and I hope that it can make a little difference in their fight to survive.

Please do the same if you’ve got the chance – either by treating yourself with something you like or by surprising other people and brightening up their lockdown days!

Stay safe, dream away – travel later!

How have you been spending your lockdown days at home?
Please share your story in the comments below…


By Brian Schæfer Dreyer