Today was not as good of a day as yesterday. Also, a warning this post is fairly long and a bit ranty. In case it is not clear yet, this blog is more of an outlet for my barrage of thoughts rather than a polished travel blog.
Most of it was spent in transit. I left Rickmansworth (north-west of London) at 9. I spent about an hour on the tube. Then roughly 45 minutes waiting around at the train station. Then 30 minutes on a train to Luton airport. An hour queuing and waiting around there. A 2 hour flight. About an hour to get out of Barajas airport in Madrid. Yah, it was pretty bad. The airport is huge and baggage took forever despite the carousel being at most 100 metres from where our plane was. Then finally about an hour to find my Hostel. As you can imagine, that was all terribly fun.
I then checked out the hostels facilities by taking a shower and hot water did indeed come out! Considering just how cheap this place is, I was a little surprised. I’m in a 12 bed room. Yes, 12. We shall see how that goes.
I spent some time wandering around Madrid. So far I am a little underwhelmed. I think part of it is that the culture shock here is vastly greater. London does not feel all that different from Vancouver, and that combined with having English grandparents and watching lots of English television made it feel rather homely. Madrid just feels strange. Combined with different customs and mannerisms there is also the language problem. I have a tendency to occasionally walk in the opposite direction of the main tourist areas and I have fumbled my way through ordering and paying for things in Spanish. Overall it is a good thing to be pushed out of your comfort zone a bit from time to time.
I did end up having a great dinner at an Ethiopian place. It was away from main tourist areas and full of large groups of Spanish patrons drinking bottle after bottle of wine so I stuck out a little eating alone and sipping my water in the corner. It was worth it though. It was decently prized and I had never had Ethiopian food before. When I get back to Vancouver I am going to try to find a good place there.
Last night a friend of mine who used to live in Vancouver took me out to what seemed to be the perfect stereotype of a little British pub. I ended up having a “Ploughman’s lunch” which was delicious and really filling. For some reason, ham in Britain seems a lot better than ham at home. Or at least that one chunk of ham.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I think Madrid has a lot to see and do so I will be a little more focused at hitting the interesting sights rather than wandering this time. Also, wandering around Madrid is difficult because for some reason you always seem to end up going around in a circle.