In September I flew in from Turkey. That country is now very near the top as far as favourites go, so I guess it was a hard act to follow. I was also staying in a party hostel, a very big and very loud party hostel. Obvs I didn't put much time into that accomm research ... although it was very cheap and you could buy homemade paella for dinner for €2!
I spent my first visit to Madrid playing tourist. I visited museums, checked out palaces, churches and loads of fancy buildings. I tasted tapa and drank sangria, dined on chocolate churros too often and enjoyed the odd seafood paella.
I liked the place but it was all a bit vanilla really.
I'm back in town for a few days, it's mid November and at least 10 degrees colder. But I'm loving it. I haven't played tourist, I've lived like a local.
My guest house is very cute and in a good location. Brekkie is down the road with the locals. No one can speak a lick of English, its great.
On my first morning I wandered outside to the sound of sirens and much noise. The city was shut down and everyone had joined in a 24 hour protest. It was an amazing site, thousands of people of all ages marching the streets, and thousands of police in riot gear trying to keep the peace. It was generally a happy protest ... I didn't feel at all scared when I got caught up in the middle of it. There were a few hairy moments when things looked like they might get violent but I didn't feel like it was going to turn in to a riot ... but really, what would I know!
This hippy dude was staging his own one man sit in. Everyone ignored him. It was very humourous.
My view from Starbucks where the bars were put over the windows, the roller door was pulled down, lights off and we were locked in for a few hours. At least I had coffee and wifi ... not much else needed really.
The police blocked so many side streets to try and keep the protestors on the main roads. But they let me through, obvs I don't look like a protestor, or look spanish for that matter.
I understand that the people of Spain are trying to send a powerful message to the government. And Lord knows, this country needs help. But walking along the streets this morning I could see the damage that had been done. Shop fronts had been spray painted, hundred of thousands of stickers were plastered on every surface and banks were covered in red paint with ATMs burnt out. This wasnt just on one street, this was all over the city. I'm not going to judge but it was very sad to see.
This isn't such a good pic, but I clicked quickly and kept walking ... just in case!
During this second trip to Madrid I walked ... a lot.
I'm not sure why but I saw the city very differently. I think I just enjoyed hanging out with no big expectations on what the city should offer.
This city really is very cool. The people are friendly, the architecture is amazing, the museums and galleries are fab and really, any city that has macarons at maccas has to be a standout.
Links to albums
|Spain part 1 - Madrid|
(shoes pic for Kathryn, dogs for Anita)
|Madrid - Part 2 Nov|