October seems a perfect time to visit this lovely city. It’s still warm enough to stroll around in light clothing even at night. The early mornings are crisp and perfect for a nice, long run to investigate the city as it’s waking up. (I found neighborhoods near athletic fields and the university that I never would have come across in my normal walks through the centro.) The summer crowds have gone home, so there are no lines at museums and restaurants. And it’s not blisteringly hot as I’m told it is in July and August. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and, once we got settled at our NH hotel on Calle de José Abascal, we walked south toward the Prado, which offers free admission on Sundays as well as on weekday evenings. How civilized. In a park along the way, these two madrileñas, chatting and smoking under the watchful eye of a señorita on an exhibition poster. Inside, we decided to find just one painting and enjoy it: Las Meninas by Velasquez. Then on our way we went, lured by the siren song of fried calamari sandwiches at one of our favorite places, El Brillante.