Chronicles of one girl's journey to London - from conception to eventual migration.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Having turned into somewhat of a slacker when it comes to updating the blog, I have a new resolution to blog at least once a week. I don't want to forget anything about London, in all it's strangeness and difference. For example, no one here seems to wear sunglasses! Even on the sunniest day, there's a serious lack of sunglasses across this city. Everyone just walking around bare-eyed.

Anyway, I have recently been to Madrid! And what an experience! Ste and I went to see his sister for her birthday. She is currently in Madrid with her friend Matt while she immerses herself in Spanish. This weekend was special as they used it as an opportunity to celebrate their birthdays (though neither was actually this weekend). Sair's boyfriend Keith and another couple named Jim and Gem were also there.
Our trip happened to coincide with gay pride weekend as well as a World Cup Spain win and, so, we got to see Madrid at peak party time! Red and yellow Spanish flags intermingled with rainbow Pride flags, everyone was ready to celebrate and the city literally roared with energy.

Here is the summary as concisely as possible:

Friday July 2: Arrive after midnight due to delayed Ryanair flight and go straight to Sair's place. Drop our stuff off, freshen up a little and out to a salsa bar with Matt, Sair and Keith! Come home, pass right out.

Saturday July 3: Once awake and ready, we all head to Parque del Buen Retiro and rent boats. After, we stroll around the park, get an ice cream as it is sweltering and then we take cable cars across Madrid and see the absolutely breathtaking expanse of the city. In the distance, you can see the Palace and the Cathedral, both famous landmarks in Madrid.

In the evening, we go to Plaza San Miguel, an open buffet style market that seems to specialize in seafood. I grab a few sangrias and then Ste and I head to Plaza Mayor. It's a square in the heart of Madrid, a little quieter than the other places (especially Sol!). This is the same night that Spain wins their game against Paraguay. They are only 2 steps away from World Cup victory! The streets are wild and the parties go all night!

Sunday July 4: Keith, Sair, Ste and I head over to the palace and the cathedral to see it up close. Unfortunately, we miss visiting times so do not get to see it from the inside. We spend the day walking around the main city. We head home and, that evening, head out for dinner in Plaza de Santa Ana. There's an amazing fireshow from a street performer as well (video below)! The only sad news of the day is that Keith has gone back to Zurich.

Monday July 5: Ste and I decide we need some water! There's a waterpark in Madrid in a town called Villanueva de la Canada so we mission on over. It takes so long to get there that we only get 2 hours in the park but it really is enough for the day. Jim and Gem head back to the UK in the afternoon as well. That evening, we look for a flamenco bar but cannot find an open one as we have left it till too late. We eat at Vips, which is about as American as you can get and then back to the apartment.

Tuesday July 6: Having had our previous attempt at entering the palace thwarted by our ill-timing, Ste and I head over there on our last day to see it inside. We are not disappointed! It's a grand palace and we have decided to buy it! This is our last full day in Madrid so we head back the house early to spend some time with Sair before we leave. Our flight home is delayed by about an hour and so I am back at my front door by about midnight.

Two things about Madrid I found interesting and both are related to garbage:
  • They trash the streets at night and then clean them up by morning. And when I say trash, I mean TRASH! EVERYWHERE!
  • They collect recycling and garbage everday . . . at 6 am!!
And that's it! Barcelona and Paris are next when Sara gets here in 3 weeks.

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