It’s a bigger deal here than NZ. There were loads of people out and about and dressed up on the weekend, and all the clubs were charging entry fees for Halloween parties. We got into the spirit.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Bet you already knew that. I knew as soon as it happened. Yeeeeeeah, cos I got up at 8am to watch it in a pub in Putney, South London, with a bunch of mad NZers. See?
I don’t actually know who anyone is in any of these pictures except for Richie Macaw, myself and Grace….
I know this has been a long time coming but I was waiting on photos (my camera battery died on karaoke night and I didn’t take ANY of the city at all!) But, still only some photos of me in front of the palace so I will plough through and maybe add some in later.
So I housesat for Reg in La Latina for two weeks, and had the quietest holiday EVER until she came back with her sister, best friends and Susi from their roadtrip to Portugal. I spent everyday wandering the city, eating tapas and drinking huge amounts of coffee, and visiting every art gallery under the sun. There are MILLIONS in Madrid, and they are amazing. I love Madrid so much, I think I told you that last time, but have decided it is not the best city in the world to be alone. Or maybe I’m just not very good at not having people around, I don’t know. The language barrier was intimidating, but ok, and I kept trying to speak French (I guess in reaction to “this is not English.”) Almost two weeks was quite a challenge since I actually am a wee bit shy. It’s funny how different places let you travel alone. Kathmandu was easy, and London will let you dissolve into the city, but Spain is so lively and everything is centred around the social – Madrid isn’t built for an observer.
The weather was FANTASTIC the whole time, and I came back with a lovely tan that London summer had declined to give me. I read a dozen books, and lay in the sun in the stunning Parque de Retiro.
El Rastro Flea Market is on every Sunday until 3pm just round the corner from Reg’s and I’d heard it was one to tick off the list. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to go to be honest – it was mainly imported cheap junk from China, some fearsome looking knife displays and then a handful of leather stalls selling beautiful bags and sandals, but which can be found all over the city on any given day. Maybe London’s markets have spoilt me, or maybe flea market doesn’t quite translate, but it’s fairly average and absolutely heaving.
The Thyssen was amaaaaaaazing, huge art collection ranging from 6th century to post-modernist pieces. I was really hoping to see Antonio Lopez’s temporary oil exhibition but alas, it was sold out until the end of its run.
The Reina Sofia is housed in a fantastic building – an old 18th century hospital. Huge vaulted ceilings and smooth flagstones on the floors.The collection is impressive to say the least. All the temporary exhibitions were closed for some reason, but the extensive Spanish art collection was open, including a great deal of Spanish civil war works. And best of all, I got in free! Madrid is great for student discounts and under-25 concessions. I spent hours wandering the four floors admiring or ignoring Picasso, Miro, and Man Ray. (I think I offended someone who asked me what I thought of Guernica… note: don’t shrug.) The fourth floor was my favourite – a veritable maze of 20th century artwork from a collection of international and Spanish artists. Other pieces that took my fancy – Benjamin Palencia’s collages, Man Ray’s Indestructible Object, Lumiere’s film The Serpentine Dance, and Lygia Pape’s Magnetised Space.
I actually skipped the Prado this time. I went last time and spent hoooours there. I went a couple of times to get tickets then changed my mind due to the vast braindump the other galleries had performed on me.
Everyone returned for my last weekend in Madrid, and Beth moved from London too! Beth and I checked into a hostel for the weekend – Cat’s (a great, big, friendlyish but slick outfit.) It was all go – straight to the jamon shop for cheese, ham and cava, via the bar for a quick beer (3 euro for a a bucket of 5.) Then on to tapas bars in La Latina for a quick bite and wine, and karaoke – the most unlikely of Spanish evenings. Saturday morning spent quietly reflecting on the joys of alcohol and hostel awakenings. Beth moved into her hostel for the next few weeks, mad jealous Fabrizzio Guesthouse overlooking Plaza Mayor. Definitely my next hostel if I can’t crash at friends in Madrid!
Sunday brought amaaaaaaaaazing paella at Costa Blanca in Quevedo, and last but not least, a bull fight.
I have lots to write on the bull fighting. Will leave it for another day so you aren’t actually reading a novel. I promise to put lots of photos in my next posts to make up for this one!
La vida loca, besos!
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Though I’m sure you’ve noticed. I get bored and play with things I don’t understand, like SETTINGS, and have lost my original template, which is fine, change is good etc, but it’s made all my old posts a bit discombobulated. So I guess I either go back through and change all the photo arrangements, or just have a brief growl and forget about it for a rainy day. Stooooooooopid programme. I blame the fact the I don’t actually use the website to actually post anything and just use the blog writer on my computer. Or something.
So there’s been a wee bit of upheaval in my life recently. I finished housesitting for friends in North London, and that very day received a call asking if I needed somewhere to live! Having made no plans whatsoever except another trip to Madrid the following week I happily accepted an offer of lodging in a wonderful, busy, grand old house next to Hampstead Heath! I’m lodging with Eva and her overly-energetic pup Alfie, who I go for long walks with everyday, and look after when Eva goes away.
So now I’m a North London gal! And very happy to be – it’s very green and feels COMPLETELY different from East London (though I’m still down there every week:))
Aaaand, secondly – I finished up at MetaBroadcast last month! No plans as of yet, I’ve started flicking my CV out again, making enquiries around the world and generally looking to see what’s about. I’m pretty happy to plod along and see what happens. I had originally thought I was heading for Australia and warmer winds but as the year marched on so fast I’ve suddenly found myself less and less ready to leave London. I’m very aware that this is possibly the last opportunity to do this visa wise, and London is the place to do anything under the sun you might wish to. (Actually, blatant lie – no sun, and I’ve discovered forestry workers are a bit out of luck here too.) So! Watch this space! I’m going to be a tourist for a few weeks and go do all those things in London that people who live here never do. Can’t wait!
I’ll try write up a Madrid blog post sooooon, but the weather came back to London with me (the weather reporter did make me looool – “A scorcher of a heatwave, highs of 27 degrees!”) and I’ve been making the most of it knowing it’ll turn to crap next week.
Love from me, will try to reply to all your emails, sorry for being slack.