Sunday, 4 May 2008


Madrid in 0.5 + 3 + 0.5 days. Dirty, cramped Charles de Gaulle airport. Frisked after setting off the metal detector. I've learnt to pack light. Beautiful, clean spacous Madrid airport. A friendly face; smoking while waiting to meet me at the gate. A clean(er), cheaper metro than Paris. An apartment with a room and a bed just for me. Dirty dishes (bliss). Spain is poor(er), often ugly and run down: graffiti everywhere and the bright warm sunshine illuminates it. A small English bookshop/bar. Tapas for dinner - blood sausage and for dessert: cheese with raspberry sauce. Back to the apartment - supermarket red wine & a film: Death at a Funeral. Talk of religion results in the gift of a hardback.

Up early, the best shower I've had in years - real water pressure and even standing up straight. Hours walking the city: a protest, a speech, a march; plazas, statues, churches, a crypt; red buildings, yellow buildings, pink buildings, painted buildings. Spanish time is all off kilter: lunch at 3pm. A whole chicken, a chorizo, beer & blue cheese to put hair on your chest. A park, a siesta, a calipo. More walking, more beer, more tapas. Spanish time is all off kilter: dinner at 10pm. A giant mound of seafood: prawns, more prawns, crabs, 'turtle toes', flaming firewater, a yellow digestif. Back to the bookshop-bar, a quiz. We won! I can finally forget who played 'Walk the Dinosaur' - it has served its purpose.

Spanish time: up late, churros & chocolate for breakfast, fresh squeezed orange juice, the best coffee for years. A shopping expedition - Spain shows off it's colourful fashions and bargain prices but no luck. A pocket picked and the afternoon is abandoned. I siesta and eat chips/crisps for lunch at 5 - 'peasant' flavour, ham flavour. A barbecue on a balcony: Australians, Americans, Spaniards and a lone Liverpudlian; sausages, steak, salad, sauce.

Normal time: up early. More perfect coffee - homemade tomato sauce on toast, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper all on the table. Giant flea markets, millions of people. A new handbag for 2 euros and a lot of stripes. More perfect coffee, and some grape juice. A picture in front of the bear. Back to the airport, a 'vegetal' sandwich of eggs and cheese. Frisked again. Duty free perfume, a late plane, a bus right to my door cheaper than the train. Postcards on the way.


Elsie said...

Hey Em - Loved your prose. I saved reading this entry to help me through Monday, and I was not disappointed!
Hope you didn't lose much to the pick pocket - A quintessential spanish experience I've heard...

m∃ said...

Actually, it was Luke who got pickpocketed. I would've been totally stuffed since I already lost my debit card last week. I'm attempting to live on a credit card which won't let me withdraw money until I can either open a French bank account or get a replacement card sent from Australia. The latter is looking quicker.

Glad you liked the words - it was nice to do things a little differently.

Molly said...
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Molly said...

Hi Miss Em,
As always, I'm loving your pics. The one with the tv antennas and the angles of the houses is captivating.
And it sounds like you had excellent food experiences! I have food envy :-P
Oh, and CDG if officially my least favourite air port on the planet. If only it wasn't the gateway to such a beautiful city.
xx M

Alice Knight said...

That was cool. And now i know what "prose" means. (well, you know, i always knew it was words and stuff and not poetry in the traditional sense, but now i see what separates prose from other writing). OK English not my strong suit. "Best coffee in years" is quite a call. And yes great photos. Love the fire one. :-)

m∃ said...

Hey Al, haha 10 years later your still crack me up. Actually I reckon 'prose = words and stuff but not poetry' is about as accurate description as you could make anyway. Best coffee CONSISTENTLY in years. Even in the dodgiest cafes. Seriously, I would go back just for that. Although it's probably not helping that the French coffee is so abysmal.

Hi Molly, the food was good, but I think it helped that I had a local to choose the restaurants. CDG definitely sucks - I'm going Orly next time if I can, which is nicer and closer anyway.