helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

Notes from Madrid

1. Madrid is tiny. The central Madrid area with interesting historic sights, big department stores, embassies and tourist trap shops is about the same size as central Brussels. Which surprises me a lot considering that Brussels is the capital of a very small country, and Madrid is the capital of a very large one. Certainly, I have been constantly surprised by how the scale on maps compares to the distance on the ground. Restaurants I thought would require travelling by Metro for several stops turn out to be a 10 minute walk at my speed.

2. Tourists walk very very slowly, and have no peripheral vision. Some of them even lack focus on what is immediately in front of them, because they're too busy gazing into the middle distance at some old monument. I walk quite slowly because I have a mobility impairment, but even I get annoyed at tourists in London for their lack of speed. But I always thought that was because I'm a local and know where I'm going. Here, I am most definitely not a local and Richard & I are both on our first visit - yet we're overtaking virtually everyone else on the pavements!

3. The locals are strange. It has been the promised 15°C with much sun during the daytime on both days, yet people from Madrid are walking around in the thick winter coats and scarves that I would consider appropriate wear for London at 5°C, and that the majority of Londoners wouldn't need until 0°C. Granted, I don't have the ability to cope with 40°C in the summer, but it's still surprising that people could consider it cold. Actually, this weather reminds me of Iceland in June - a comfortably warm 15-16°C in the sunshine but slightly chilly in the shade.

4. There is much art - in museums, on the streets, outside and inside shops. Most of it is tasteful. We have seen famous paintings by Picasso, Matisse Magritte, Dali, Bosch, Bruegel (the elder), Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian and lots more. I will probably write a post about art (!) for those of you who've ever been interested in what I like.

5. We need to come back to Madrid soon to see all the stuff we didn't have time to see. And to go to the two theme parks that we didn't have time to go to. One of them is easily accessible by public transport and is minutes away from the city centre.

6. Today was a Sunday, Richard was in a foreign country, formally on holiday and it's his birthday. He got a phone call from work at 5.30 pm. Ye-es.

7. Firefox keeps telling me I've spelled things wrong because I use British English. I'm sure I've downloaded the British English custom dictionary and installed it 5 or 6 times now. Grrr.
Tags: spain, travel

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