Madrid with friends.

Madrid Travel Blog

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Sleep when you can -night train from France.

One way of saving money when traveling through Europe (or any other great expanse) is to sleep during the commute.  We always tried to save on a bed by traveling by night train and stack some Zs across any available seats in our carriage.  Not always possible if the trains were full but we usually got enough sleep to recharge the batteries for the following days exploration.

I mentioned that our arrival from the UK into France was void of any official fanfare but this wasn't the case at the border crossing in to Spain.  Not only did we have to wake and show our passports but the French train didn't cross the border so we had to gather up our packs and find a new seat on a Spanish train.  By the time we arrived in Madrid our eyeballs were hanging out from a very distrubed slumber.

Into the snails at a tapas bar.

I'll say right now that I loved Spain.  The history, the weather, the friendliness of the people and the siestas and fiestas every day.  Perhaps the whole country was in party mode for the Olympic games in Barcelona and the Expo in Seville, or parhaps they were in party mode because it was summer.  Until I revisit the place I won't know for sure but the place rocked and everyone was dancing 'till the wee small hours every night we were there.

Having Kate along with us was a very timely distraction for Darryn and I.  We had been living in each others pockets for a few months now and it was great to have someone different to chat to.  She was easy to travel with too and added a female dynamic to our merry band which made it easier for us to chat to others, who may have seen two guys as a threat.
Del Prado Museum

The first night we were there we went out into the city and found that the break in the day, whilst all of Spain shut down in the heat of the afternoon, meant they came out at the end of work and partied well into the night.  Everything was pretty quiet when we went out looking for some dinner.  We found a tapas bar that had a selection of very strange dishes.  Part of the experience of new cultures is of course the food.  We hadn't eaten snails in France but it seems the Spanish enjoy them too so I ordered a bowl of succulent, garlic roasted garden dwellers and Darryn selected octopus tentacles, which still very much looked like octupus tentacles, complete with suckers.  Kate was not up for any of it, being happier to stay safely behind the camera.
Japanese, Arabic, American, Spanish, Canadian and Kiwi. New friends from everywhere.

  Madrid saw us make lots of friends and we broke our "beer on Saturday" rule on our second day there -a sunny afternoon whilst the Spaniards hit the hay from 2.30-5pm.  Earlier in the day the three of us visited the Del Prado museum where there was a fabulous Ribera exhibition.  Whilst enjoying the artworks we collected various english speaking chums and ended up sharing stories of travel and swapping tit-bits of useful information.

As a result of Kate being with us we picked up Kirstin, from America.  Another girl traveling on her own, she hung with us for the next couple of days.  She had just come from Morocco, as we were heading there Darryn picked her brain of all useful info.  Kirstin had suffered a couple of tradegies in Morocco.
Kate and Kirstin. Madrid's bullring.
  Firstly she had become a victim of the skillful traders and had spent far too much of her money on trinkets.  Secondly she had the remainder of her money picked from her pocket so was now making her way back to the US with very few Pesetas to rub together.  We did what we could to help her out of course, spotting her for food and drink when we had ours, but we were hardly in a position to solve all her problems.  I was impressed by how up-beat she remained and whilst we were together we opted to do things that didn't cost anything.

We also missed local bull fights where ever we went in Spain.  We managed to visit some architecturally lovely bullrings but always we arrived at a city a few days early or late to see  the spectacle.  I don't think I was too disappointed really.
Kirstin trapped on the see-saw
  I think I may have been a little disturbed by the violence of the whole affair.  When we visited a tavern for lunch Darryn asked the boss for a nice poster advertising a fight in the city the following weekend though.  Posters of concerts, events etc were items I was collecting on my way around so I was pretty pleased by that.

When we got set to leave Madrid for Seville it was just the three of again.  Kirstin was left to continue on her way back to the US.  We didn't see each other again after that but she and I did write a few times whilst I remained in the UK. 
   Back then there was no internet so it was much harder to stay in touch with people who were in a state of constant flux.  Very few of those many friends I made during this time are still on my Christmas list.  I often think about them and wish I knew where they all were.  I've had a rudimentary go at searching them on the www but 15 years is a long time I guess.  Maybe one of them will stumble across themselves written here and give me a shout -how hard case would that be?!!

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Sleep when you can -night train fr…
Sleep when you can -night train f…
Into the snails at a tapas bar.
Into the snails at a tapas bar.
Del Prado Museum
Del Prado Museum
Japanese, Arabic, American, Spanis…
Japanese, Arabic, American, Spani…
Kate and Kirstin.  Madrids bullri…
Kate and Kirstin. Madrid's bullr…
Kirstin trapped on the see-saw
Kirstin trapped on the see-saw
photo by: vulindlela