I had a lovely day merely wandering around Madrid today and being lost most of the time, thus finding even more interesting places and sights than intended.
The temperature is slowly dropping to perfect, cool mornings and then bright and sunny days with temperatures of about 23 degrees all day even late into the evening, just perfect weather. Because it is still daylight saving and Spain is incorrectly set on the European time zone instead of the African time zone, it is light until about 9 pm which is great for me being able to stay out so late on my own.
I have been to the three major museums in Madrid last time I was here and was intending to go back to one of them, however as Lorna and I have a 2 day stopover on our way back home, thought I would wait until we are together.
The Spanish people are easy to live with, I loved interacting with them all day especially as I was well off the beaten tourist track at times and had lunch in a dear little cafe where there were no English menus. They were pleased to see me and made allowances, I’m sure my age is an advantage, they see this old scruffy lady wondering about, no tour guide in sight and are happy to involve themselves in my life, especially the women, the same could not be said for the French.
I loved travelling through France, the customs, the quirkiness of the French, ohhh the food and wine, loved Paris in so many ways (who doesn’t) but enjoy the sheer ambience of Spain, the people always make the difference. I love how casual and down to earth they are, lively and noisy, they make me feel comfortable and welcome. I’m having fun in Spain.
I found this amazing open air library in the prettiest part of Madrid, in the Prada area, amazing about 30 or more little cabins in a row, each cabin with a different book theme, hundreds of books new and old. You would’ve loved it Cameron, if we were travelling together I could’ve left you there all day and spent the day in a Jewish museum,
or somewhere else. I love the fact that regardless of where I am in the world, there are Enid Blyton Secret Seven books and Tarzan comics in the local language, wish I could bring them home for Maddie.
Meanwhile I am still ploughing through my Spanish comic though Spanish is easy, just use an English word and add ‘ito’ on the end and you are right, exacto, fantastico
Last night I hit the town for a tapas tour, lots of fun and the tapas are really different to the Pinxtas we so enjoyed. The Pinxtas were more complicated and often less of a finger food.
We learned how to drink out of a wine bag (however Mum and Wendy, you will remember that we all learned that trick with Jenny Simmonds when Alec introduced us all to the wine bag many moons ago) and as important, how the tapas evolved.
Apparently, a long time ago, the workers would pop into the local pub at lunchtime and as they could not afford both a drink and a meal, naturally being hot and thirsty, they would opt for the drink.
As in todays Insurance Industry, they either wouldn’t make it back to work or would arrive back inebriated and useles. The King thought he had the solution and ordered bars to provide a slice of ham for free with every drink, the workers couldn’t believe that they were given an expensive slice of free ham and were not keen to accept it, the tavern owners were not happy to lose money in this manner, so to cut a long story short, tapas ended up being potato croquettes and potatoe omelettes or frittata as we know it. Although today they serve all sorts of amazing and tasty tapas.
The word tapas came from an experience the same King had one day, the waiter served his wine with a slice of ham draped over the top of the glass to prevent dust infiltrating it as a dust storm was about to hit, he loved the idea and so tapas which mean lids developed into a very popular ritual. Or this was our particular young tapas guide interpretation which was a fun story to listen to anyway.
In Spain you rarely get served an alcoholic or non alcoholic drink without a free tapas, even if it is just a bowl of olives, yummy ones. I don’t think the free tapas come with spirits, my Spanish let me down a bit at this point of the explanation, Margaret Niven would know more about this subject as Chris spent so much time in Spain.
It was a fun night, visiting various bars, trying out the different Spanish drinks and tapas.
We had a fun bunch of people oh and Cameron, would you mind making up a spare bed at Laurieton as I met this lovely young Australian couple (he was a Vietnamese refugee, interesting, hugely fun and totally dinky die Aussie having the time of his life in Europe for the first time with his equally fun Philippine wife) and invited them to stop by for a couple of nights sometime. If we are running out of beds you may need to live at Lane Cove for a while to make space for all my new besties.
I believe Lane Cove is a little over occupied at present, try Evan and Rachel’s place for a bed.
Last day in Madrid today, oh what to do, what to do? Hmmmmh. Gone wandering!