Sunday, 22 August 2010
Madrid - a hair raising experience!
Ok, for today's post, we'll be starting at the end of the day and working back and then forward again (just so I don't confuse you, dear reader!)
It's been another glorious day in Madrid - almost (but not quite) too ho. A strange thing for a girl from Scotland starved of summer warmth and sunshine to say perhaps, but true all the same. The photograph above was taken towards the end of my day as I revelled in the glories - and the breeze - to be found at the top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes. From the 7th floor of this wonderful Art Deco building, not only do you get amazing views of Madrid's roofline, you also get a photography exhibition and a stunning deco statue of Minerva to wonder at as well. Well worth the 2 Euros for the lift up!
The earlier (and later now that I think about it!) part of the day was spent pondering the variety of shopping to be found in Madrid. As keen followers of Craft Maneoeuvres will know, yesterday found your brave correspondent with a low camera battery and no charger. So the first port of call this morning was to a camera shop just slightly out of town. And it was a successful trip, no less miraculous since it involved me navigating both streets and the Metro (which I now think I've got the hang of, and actually isn't that difficult) but also undertaking the whole transaction entirely in Spanish - and what's more, coming away with the right thing (that I've since confirmed does actually work!).
After that it was off to (allegedly) Europe's largest flea market, El Rastro. I must admit, interesting though it was I did kind of think that it wasn't that big - York Market is probably about the same size. And alarmingly selling much the same produce - well, maybe not quite, but a fair amount of same old, same old disappointingly. Perhaps it's bigger outwith August (see posts passim).
(Jumping about a bit) Later in the day I surveyed another form of Madrilleno shopping - the High Street, courtesy of Gran Via, possibly one of the most stunning high streets I've seen. It reminded me that it's always good to look up in cities anyway, but Madrid is the place to really prove the rule - as you'll see from today's Flickr crop! To round off the shopping experience, yesterday I bussed through the exclusive bit of Madrid's shopping zones - Salamanca, a place with more designers, stick thin women and haughty expressions than you can shake a stick at. No doubt there are more of them outwith August too!!
The other delight of today was unexpected meetings. At El Rastro, I sat watching the world go by on a wall only to find myself next to a couple who'd not only previously lived in Stirling but had also lived in the next town to where I grew up. And then we were joined by the couple I met on the train from Paris to Madrid (who I bumped into yesterday in El Retiro - as you do). But to cap it all, I bumped into them again - the train couple (Jane and Mark as I can now call them!) - outside the Circulo de Bellas Artes and we stopped for some refreshments. They do say it's a small world but I've been amazed at the chance meetings. (Although to be fair we both have the same guide book so that might account for some of it!)
And finally, before I finish for the night, some musings on solo travelling. Everyone keeps telling me how brave I am to travel on my own. To begin with I dismissed the comments, but I now realise that I am both brave and intrepid. I know this because at times it's a bit scary and quite often I wish I had someone else with me to share the experience. But I don't and so I have to get on with it myself - and I've found that it's really good fun! So I shall carry on being brave and intrepid, and now I'll also allow myself to feel just a bit proud of my successes too!