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International Stumblings of a Moneyless Idle

Lazily making his way through the world

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First stop

Heat, Vodka but a little Down

#Madrid city centre

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The heat continued to soar throughout the weekend in Madrid but this didn’t stop me and Atlas from exploring. On the Saturday we rented two bikes from Mi Bike Rio and raced through Casa de Campo, quite literally racing down the dusty hills and gravely slopes in the 40 degree heat. Needless to say that this made us both red in the face and in need of refreshment. That night we decided to meet some of the friends Atlas had met through Couch Surfing events. We met them in a cool little Russian bar near Plaza Major where you get a free shot glass of Vodka plonked into your pint of heavy, strong beer, a good start to any night. We then went to a nightclub in the Salamanca district of the centre, 15 euros to get in with a free drink which is apparently cheap for the Spanish capital. Now I’m very sceptical when it comes to clubs, I don’t often enjoy myself unless I’m really drunk and at this time I wasn’t. In this respect, I’ve got to hand it to Madrid, on this occasion and on others since, nightclubs have never failed to provide a good night out. There were two professional DJ groups who played that night and both where pretty awesome. Me and Atlas walked the thirty minuet journey home in the early morning, she was barefoot as was her way.

The next day was a lot less active, tired from the previous days heat and booze, a quiet day in was maybe what was needed. We had walked and seen the Sol, Malasana and Salamanca areas of the city and I felt I had a good idea of the atmosphere and aesthetics of the Madrid centre and I knew I would return. I hadn’t been in the best of moods since the latter part of Saturday, Atlas and I had agreed to not be anything in Spain and we had had a little disagreement the previous night. In the morning I was to travel to Valencia and it seemed that I was going to be traveling there for a full new start, but the gloss of the trip had been wiped away a little. How much I had spent on this small stop off in Madrid reminded me that my money situation was pretty dire and the abrupt end to my speculation between myself and Atlas had got me a little down.

We were still friends however and that was important to me, I wasn’t alone in Spain and had friends. In fact the Erasmus three were all in Spain again, two of them in the very hard to reach southern town of Tarifa and Atlas in Madrid. This was just the first example of Spain drawing people back for another go, it has the magic to do that.

#Madrid #Palace #PalacioRealdeMadrid

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Touch Down in Madrid

 

#casadecampo park #madrid

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After sleeping in the airport and shuffling onto the plane, I landed in Madrid sometime before mid-day on Thursday the 26th of June 2014. My journey from the airport into the centre went smoothly as I put one of the three/four Spanish phrases I had learnt over the past few weeks into practice “No entiendo”.

Atlas was on her lunch break when I arrived so she came and met me outside the Príncipe Pio metro station and we had a long embrace. She had been away for less than two weeks and we had talked on Skype everyday but right then it seemed like it had been much longer. After a short walk and catch-up she had to go back to work and I was left with four hours to explore in the 38 degree heat before she could guide me back to where she, and for the weekend I, were staying. Now, Madrid is a big city, and I did fear getting lost in the vast metropolis and not being able to re-count my steps back to our meeting place near to where she worked. Luckily, Atlas’s offices where next to the Manzanares River, near to Casa de Campo; a 4000 acer park that we had just walked through a small part of. I spent much of my 4 hours wondering through Casa de Campo realising just how different a place this was. The park felt very foreign to me; dry, yellow, grassy hills, water patched trees and a dusty landscape. This feeling of being somewhere completely new filled me with excitement and uncertainty in equal measure.

After sheltering from a freak down pour and getting some snacks I went to relax on the bank leading down to Manzanares River where I was going to meet Atlas. The bank was covered in young Spanish people expressing their non-shyness at displaying public affection (seriousluy, watching over that bank was like watching soft porn).When Atlas finally arrived we caught the metro north-west of the centre where she lived in a flat with a large balcony which we spent the rest of the day on, relaxing and talking. She had it pretty good in Madrid, her room and flat was small but it had a good feel about the place. Her fifth floor balcony didn’t only provided a shaded space in the open air but a good view point looking out over some of northern Madrid.

From the little I had seen and experienced, the slower lifestyle that is practiced in Spain was obvious. Even in its big capital the sun forced everyone to walk a little slower and rush a little less. Watching the sunset on Atlas’s balcony, drinking beer and eating mini ice creams in the warm evening air was a pleasant way to end my first Spanish night.

Vista de madrid desde casa de campo #casadecampo #madrid #Spain

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