21 January 2009

First Impressions

I’ve been in Madrid for about a week and a half now. I’ve had a chance to wander around my neighbourhood and check out some of the local landmarks. I’m living quite close to the city centre, so my neighbourhood is full of little cafés and bars and restaurants and strange establishments which are sort of a blend of the three. I’m still getting finances in order over here, but once I can get all that fixed then the process of sampling them all begins.

It turns out that what they told me about Madrid is true; it’s not the prettiest city in the world. But then again, I landed in the middle of winter. Add some springtime colour or some summer sunshine and the place will no doubt perk up a bit.

Speaking of winter, it’s a lot colder here than I was expecting. Apparently it’s a lot colder here than the locals were expecting as well, which makes me feel better about it. In fact the whole of Europe seems to be having an unexpectedly cold winter. I blame Kevin Rudd. He’s always on about how we have to stop the planet from heating up. Now look what he’s done.

I did a walking tour around the main tourist attractions in the city. The royal palace and its associated gardens would look awesome in spring I think, although they were impressive enough in winter. The gigantic cathedral next door whose name I’ve forgotten was well suited to winter though. Cold and uncomfortable, but very pretty. And the crypt was just plain creepy. A giant chapel with a marble floor with dead people interred in it. It’s just crying out for a zombie invasion.

They really really like building statues of horses over here. Every plaza has one. To top it off, it’s currently time for the Madrid cow festival (what?) so the city centre is full of model cows painted in different colours by various notable Spanish designers.

I’ve started teaching my first English classes over here. Hopefully I can string together enough hours to cover expenses while I’m here, otherwise this whole episode could be over very quickly. I’m looking forward to getting out of Madrid a bit if I can manage it and seeing some more of the country.

Far from home

Garry with 2 Rs
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