Monday, April 04, 2005


Madrid: First impressionMios Dios, la chicas in Madrid, Espana es muy bonito. El guapa!!Really got a nice vibe (nice weather, pretty girls, decent vegetarian choices, cheaper prices, etc) from the city upon arrival, but unfortunately that didn´t last long. On the second day lost my credit/debit cards to a crafty pick pocket. There´s a sucker born every second. This one was born 35 years ago. Anyway thanks to a cash advance from the parentals I stayed afloat, but in that situation I decided not to spend any unnecessary cash. Which was a shame because I´m sure I could have had a really good time there. The other problem was timing. It happened to be Easter and in Madrid they take it very seriously. Basically the city shuts down for a whole week. So what could have taken 2-3 to sort out actually took almost 8 days. It was very frustrating knowing that my debit card was sitting for 5 days at the post office. And to add injury to insult I caught a cold. Oh well, I must have accrued some significant negative karma in Madrid during a past life. Hopefully most of it has been neutralized. So I killed time commisorating with Ian (from OZ) who was in a similar situation. His bank card didn´t work in Madrid. Actually the atm ate his card. Fortunately he got it back though. He´s biking thru europe. Good Luck Ian.

On the other hand it was nice that they threw me parades for my birthday and even named it "Holy Day". I felt Sooo Special. The parades aren´t like the thanksgiving parades though. Very slow. Each church congregation has there own little section. In the lead there are people dressed in what americans would recognize as KKK outfits, but of course they are not. Following them are about twenty others carrying their¨"float". A representation of Jesus or their patron saint and pulling up the rear is a band playing somber, yet at the same time uplifting music. They stop the march every five minutes or so and occasionally a round of applause erupts. Not terribly exciting, but I guess that is not the point.
The nightlife is infamous,the city itself is beautiful and you can walk everywhere. Which I did. So much walking on this trip. I´m glad I´m not leasing these legs cause I´d already be way over on my mileage allowance!! The one thing I´d did get to see was the Museo Prado. An Impressive collection inside, but suprisingly boring building architecually speaking. The Durer exposition was there and was very nice and of course many other artists, Spanish, Italian etc. See the pics. The Parque Retiro is a very large park with a lake where people rent row boats. Street performers doing their thing including a very enthusiastic but not at all talented Michael Jackson copy cat. I almost paid him to stop. All in all a nice place to hang and relax which I did alot of...So it wasn´t all that exciting and a bit trying, but it didn´t kill me so I suppose I´m stronger because of it!!
So now I´m in Valencia and not unhappy to leave Madrid behind even if that is a little unfair. Two more pics albums have been uploaded for Paris and Spain. Have a looksy.Adios for now amigos......
PS. Important travel tip.It´s a really good idea to go to the bathroom before getting to the train/bus stations here in Europe. That is unless you like the challenge of doing it while standing up!!! It is however an excellent work out for the thighs :)