It’s sunny, nearly 20 degrees, in a Madrid park. It’s cloudless and I’m hiding under what I call Broccoli Trees. They’re the “stone pine,” and look like a stalk of broccoli. They were everywhere in Portugal, too.

I’ve laughed for about 10 minutes now. Two little boys have capes on. Brothers, two and four. Masks and all. The little one is Superman, but big bro is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I’ve cracked up. I might as well be back home in Vancouver, where I’d see the exact same thing on any given day. We’re really all the same, global boundaries be damned.

Night-time in Malasana. A line of motorcycles in Madrid.

Night-time in Malasana. A line of motorcycles in Madrid.

Pressing Pause in the Park

It’ll be a busy work week, I guess. I’m not thrilled about that, but someone’s got to pay the bills. Adjust to working when I’m in cities for a short period of time is brutal. It’s easy to get tired of a city from a travel point of view when I’m around too long, but it’s great for a work groove. It’s the original sticky wicket. I’m left wishing I had more time in Madrid.

Alas, only one week remains. Should be a lovely one, but that bodes badly for work focus. There’s another couple beautiful days expected to grace us over the next couple days. I could get used to Madrid from a cultural and lifestyle point of view, but the budget is killing me. Soon, I’ll have help from other sources via staying with friends.

Madrid from above on the telerifico aka cable car ride that takes one to the center of the city's biggest park.

Madrid from above on the telerifico aka cable car ride that takes one to the center of the city’s biggest park.

Life in Spain

The Spanish culture, I get why people love Spain. Family is big here. There’s a pace of life that’s deeply respected. They’re social, open, kind. I spoke to a guy yesterday and told him how long I’m travelling and he asked me if I don’t “miss my people.” Well, yeah, I do, but not in a heavy, heart-breaking way or anything. I’m chugging along. There’s too much around me most of the time to get too homesick. That comes in waves, sure, but it goes, too. Something tells me that’d be the hardest thing for most Spaniards.

This is my introduction to Spain, but it’s big city Spain – hell, it’s big city Europe. There are only two cities larger than Madrid – Berlin and London. I didn’t realize that before I booked. It means you have the usual quick pace, bustling, shopping-heavy existence so common to large metropolitan places. So, yeah, it’s Spain, but it’s the least traditional part of Spain. I saw a TGIFriday’s yesterday, in what’s arguably one of the tastiest cuisines in the world. An offense against their cuisine, but there it is, on the big shopping/travel-centric Gran Via. Big brands are everywhere here. But you go down side streets and you find neat little tapas joints.

One of Madrid's hipper neighbourhoods, it's a great place to spend a Sunday: La Latina.

One of Madrid’s hipper neighbourhoods, it’s a great place to spend a Sunday: La Latina.

What to Do, What to Do

I wish I could do tapas life here, but places are more expensive than I expected so I’ve eaten out once daily. Otherwise, I snack, have cereal breakfast in my room, maybe jamon, bread, and oil at night with Netflix.

But I know now, for sure, I’ll be back to Spain one day to spend two months here. Probably not Madrid again, because I’d like to see the more traditional places, smaller cities. I’ll need to learn the language more. By then I’ll have experienced Mexico and some other Latin-American countries. Maybe I’ll know a word or two.

I was prepared for my finances to perhaps shift in Europe, but oof! Has it! A main revenue source vanished overnight, part of why I’m in a rush to get home, and why my travels have been so lacklustre. I’m trying to balance seeing the world around me at the same time as hustling to lay groundwork back under my feet. To that end, I’m trying to get other projects off the ground.

Long-term, I’m not worried. But short-term? Every day more that I’m here in Europe, well, it sucks a more out of me. I’m trying to be “good” with money but when food is a huge cultural experience a country offers – I AM IN SPAIN – then the budget suffers.

 

Sunset over Madrid.

Sunset over Madrid.

Lucklily, jamon iberico is one of their delicacies and it’s perfect for snarfing down in my room at night.

Money is a Thing for Nomads Too

Welcome to the life of a nomad. Money in/money out doesn’t always match up, and if you’re in the wrong lodgings – like me with no kitchen – then you’re at the mercy of what you can achieve with hotel-friendly foods while making ends meet.

Meanwhile, the end of the day is upon us with two hours daylight left here in Madrid so it’s time I take some landscape shops, hop a teleferico back to the city, and find myself a snack en route to my hidey hole, where, yes, work awaits me on my Sunday night.

Comments
  • sophia
    Reply

    Great photos! That last one is particularly stunning! Spain is an amazing place- Im glad you’re enjoying the people, food and atmosphere 😉

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