Sunday, 21 September 2014

Week Forty-One: Where Lies the Rain

In Spain, that would be mainly in the plain, or at least that is what I'm led to believe. This week was a crap sandwich, or at least crap bread around delightful filling and condiments. I love Madrid. That place is a lovely crazy place full of lovely people and a language that makes my ears happy.

Day 1 (281): 15th of September
Finally arrived in Madrid this morning. Had to stay overnight in Rome in a lousy excuse for a Holiday Inn. Thank you, Air France and Alitalia for making everything harder. One little pilot strike and the ripple effect means I get 250 euro (eventually) as compensation, two free meals, and a whole load of hassle. All told, I spent nearly eight hours in the Naples airport being jerked around. So really, I could have gone to my Wish I Was Here screening in the end, had I known all this would happen. Then I'd have just stayed overnight in Rome and left on the 0800 flight they gave me. Meant I missed the first bit of instruction, but the Spanish MoD folks were nicely understanding and really helped me out. After work, we went out to explore and have some cañas y tapas. Good Lord, I love cañas. Little bits of cerveza and some free tapas to go with. And all for maybe a couple euro. 

After much indulging in el Mercado San Miguel (ohhhhh so gooood), we wandered and found Plaza Mayor.

Such a gorgeous place. Love the details.

Got the backside of this poor guy. Was too lazy to walk all the way round to get the front view.

Also got the backside of this caballero. Not sure what else to say.

Day 2 (282): 16th of September
Madrid has such unique architecture. It is an amazing combination of old style Spanish, Cold War dictator chic, and modern sleek business. And it does my ears so much good to hear a language I understand. Spanish is so much more pleasant on the brain than Italian, which just grates on the ears. More post-class cañas y tapas and una exploracion de la ciudad. Got down to the touristy area and saw the palace. At least I got this guy's front. Wrong lens to shoot the whole building. 

Both of these poor blokes are just being shat upon. And sat upon. Asi es. These things happen.

This catedral is almost as big as el palacio right across from it. And check out el cielo. Las nubes bonitas.

A skyline from over a wooden wall. Que hermosa cuidad.

A monument to Quixote. Could have gotten a bot more centered, I know.

Day 3 (283): 17th of September
I love an Air Force style Military Hotel. We're in a place that defies my preconceptions of military digs, as the US Navy has never been known for its splendour. The Spanish know how to set things up, and even though the meals are not included, the huge breakfast spread cost me all of 3 euro for a huge amount of food. This city is proof that things do not have to cost an exorbitant amount (Naples, I'm talking to you). Love the little details at streetside bars.

La Policia out in force outside the US Embassy (across the street from the hotel). Not great for a night shot. Must work on that.

Day 4 (284): 18th of September
Not much to say today. Had a huge amount of homework to do and it was a long day of teaching. I really do love the clean streets and gorgeous buildings and wonder how it has taken so long to visit here.

A bit of rain in the skies, but that didn't put a damper on the amazing dinner of seafood done every which way. And great wine to go with.

Day 5 (285): 19th of September
Half day, as the test only takes the morning. Got a few hours to kill before my flight, so a wander was in order. Here, at the Plaza de Colon, another backside shot of a famous person's statue (in this case, Cristobal Colon), because I didn't want to go all the way round the roundabout to get the front shot.

There is no scale on this, but the flag pictured is at least 50 feet on the long side. Probably more, but I have a poor concept of size. All I know for certain is that it is bloody huge. And it did not want to flap just the way I needed.

Another bench (I seem to take a lot of pictures of benches when I travel). This was along a nice park-ish median near the center of town. Also near the Hard Rock where I ate for the first time in over a decade, and had the best bacon burger I've had in ages. Don't judge me. It was fantastic.

Day 6 (286): 20th of September
So the trip back was a bloody nightmare. Both flights (Alitalia) got delayed and were full of turbulence and screaming children, so my ill-timed back spasm in Madrid was slow to get better. Then a rush in Rome to another delayed flight meant another ill-timed spasm. And more turbulence put me in the most crap mood ever. So I didn't get my JFC Oktoberfest visit and was too cranky to even try to make it to my buddie's wetting down (so no beer for Rodeo... sad). Only bed and STILL NO INTERNET. EFF. I have the most useless landlords ever. So a bunch of hours in the NEX food court today for me... Madness makes the edits go crazier.

But the extra smoky sky made the sun go all neat.

Day 7 (287): 21st of September
Lovely (sticky) day, but STILL NO INTERNET. Back to the NEX to get things (i.e. this and homework) done. I love having time to read, but not being able to do the simple stuff is rather irritating. Trying to enjoy a nice morning in the garden with a book and a cuppa. Woo Saahh. Just a little tweaking of light balance, and this came out rather ok.

Roses are starting to come back. Must be getting to be autumn time again. I have a hard time with the reds on this rosebush. Not sure why, but they always come out strange.

Loveliness sandwiched by crap. Like rain on a perfectly good parade. Or really I'd compare it to hail on a parade, because a little rain (unless it is Neapolitan Poison Rain) never hurt anyone. Now taking bets on how long I go without internet in my house...

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