Saturday, August 25, 2007

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain

Madrid - The Bear of Madrid, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The rain may stay mainly in the plain, but Madrid is built more on a plateau and after the coasts had been battered by storms, it was Madrid’s turn to get some rain yesterday. As it happened, after a gloomy cloudy and windy start, the clouds broke, the sun came out and it got very warm… until, that is, I finally got off work and was able to start enjoying what the city had to offer.

Fred had moved to a hostel in the centre of town, which was less than half the price of a room in the Novotel on the outskirts near my office. A nice enough businessman’s hotel with a swimming pool, but one which has the cheek to charge € 16 for breakfast and € 6.50 for an hour’s internet. This place here is four stories up in a building facing the Puerta del Sol, which is the centre of Madrid and where a metal plaque marks the spot where all distances are measured from Madrid. It is a little bit basic, but the rooms are quiet enough and it reminds me of the sort of places in which Richard and I stayed in Cambodia and Vietnam. The only really odd thing is breakfast arrangements, where cold coffee comes in a jug from the kitchen, where one pours one’s cup and heats it up in the microwave.

Anyway, there was still enough good light (or so I thought) to take some photos of people hanging around the square, so after a quick shower I was out with my camera and what should I find, but a big black cloud settled over the city ready to unleash its rain. The rain when it came was heavy and I just happened to be near a Museo del Jamon (it is a chain here), where I treated myself to an early evening ham roll and two beers (again for just € 3.40).

Fred and I had a rest in the room, a sort of late siesta, before going out to meet up with our friend Howard and later his friend Michael, for a few drinks in first a tapas bar and then a drinking bar. I had missed out on Howard last weekend at Hartjesdag so it was nice to hear that he was going to be in Madrid the same weekend that we were going to be here.

It is cloudy again outside, although not raining, the only thing is that half the day has gone already and all I have done is write this a drunken my cup of microwaved coffee. Time to step outside with my camera and find a proper coffee and a croissant, which I much prefer over the local churros, a long piece of fatty fried dough, with almost no taste but a greasy texture. Hmmmm…


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