November 1, 2017. Madrid, Spain.
I think I was so enchanted by Barcelona because it was such a cosmopolitan cultural hub. Walking down the street, you’d find eight different kinds of food in the same block and people speaking as many different languages.
Madrid is different. There’s not a lot of culture to see here. There’s a handful of museums (pic related), but nothing really novel, nothing that you’d go out of your way to hunt down unless you’re on a school field trip. For the record, the line to get into the Prada museum seemed to be comprised mostly of school field trips, and it wrapped around the block. I’ve been going to coffee shops to write every morning; this morning, I had to resort to a Starbucks because Spain doesn’t open until 10 AM.
This is breakfast, in a bare minimum kind of way. Dasayuno mediterraneano, which is some bread, olive oil, tomatoes fresh out of the blender, and salt. Bone apple teeth.
The statuary seems likewise confused as to why I opted to spend four days here. I tried assuring them it was for proximity to airport and affordability of tickets, but they weren’t convinced.
After a week in Spain, I finally got my hands on some paella. The hostess assured me it fed a minimum of 2 people, and I assured her “Nuh-uh”. It turned out, I was right. It wasn’t bad, but it was a pound of buttered rice with seafood and chicken bones in it. I feel like the travel writers (including this dude) might have overhyped this one.
The fact of the matter is, the Spanish economy is not doing so hot. That’s why everything costs at least $5 more than it does in the real world and probably why the inhabitants seem to subsist entirely on tapas. It’s not a problem in and of itself, but you can see it in the infrastructure, and how everybody is always coming at me with little grabby-hands, begging and demanding and pan-handling and whoring. I can’t stand grabby-hands.
Rome in 2 days. Staying the course. Gonna try to get belligerently drunk tonight, that oughta get things a little more mezclado. Silver lining, I’m getting plenty of Spanish practice. I think if I got a job where I needed to use it, I’d be fluent inside of a month. My working vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds each day. Hopefully I can skive the same deal with my strictly literary knowledge of Italian once I get to Rome in 2 days.
I also bailed out of the worst hostel in Europe that doesn’t kill you and into a much nicer place called SafeStay Madrid, which is, by the fact they need to put “safe” in the name, somewhat ominous. It’s a huge, clean, pleasant place, though. Hot water and everything! They’ve also got a giant movie room where I spent most of yesterday marathoning Stranger Things. I still can’t believe Sam Gamgee is shacking up with Winona Ryder.