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Big City Madrid, Spain

We´ve spent the last couple of days in Madrid, Spain. This is a big, bustling city with narrow, winding streets filled with people out dining, wining and socializing. In other words, a pretty exciting place.

We weren´t so happy initially to see the city. Our overnight train ride from Portugal on Monday was pretty exhausting. Besides the rolling motion of the train, people walked up and down the aisles all night long, and being three in the morning didn´t stop everyone from talking in normal conservsational tones. I finally fell asleep around four, but only for a few hours, and neither of us was well rested. We were pretty disoriented coming into the city, it took us awhile to figure out the metro system. After a nap, we were fine, though.

Even better, we were able to wash our dirty clothes, in a machine, no less. We´ve been washing our clothes in the sink for the last week, which isn´t a big deal. Still, they don´t get terribly clean that way, so when we found we could do a load for 3 euros, we jumped at the deal.

Our hostel in Madrid is nice, a beautiful, modern place. The staff there isn´t nearly as nice as they were in Lisbon, where they actually knew us on a first name basis after three or four days. The hostel here in Madrid doesn´t have the homey feeling that we enjoyed in Lisbon either, but I guess we´ll be experiencing all sorts of living conditions.

Speaking of living conditions, we are spending tomorrow night in Madrid before heading to Toledo for a night, and then on to Sevilla. There, it turns out that we can rent a nice apartment for 50 euros a night, which is more expensive than we would like (our hostel here in Madrid costs 30 euros for the both of us; then again, there are 12 bunks in our room). There are hostels for much cheaper in Sevilla; we will have to decide whether we can splurge or not.

Our budget in Spain is 70 euros a day for each of us, which is far too much so far. However, looking at lodging in Morocco, we are realizing that we under-budgeted badly, so it would be better to save money in Spain to use in Morocco; perhaps we will come out even that way. Still, it is tempting to get the really nice deals because of our budget allowances, even when it is unnecessary.

At any rate, Madrid is treating us well. We spent a good part of the day in the Museo de Prado, which is truly a world-class museum. There were some remarkable paintings from masters like Goya and Valenquez, as well as El Greco, that I actually enjoyed, despite my adverse reaction to the general art world. We walked around the place until our feet were sore; it has an immense collection, of which a high number of them are masterpieces. That is just hearsay, though, I wouldn´t know a masterpiece from a paint accident; really, they would have four paintings by the same artist in a row, all looking very similar, such as portraits done in the same fashion, and one would randomly be called a masterpiece. They were all about the same to me.

Tomorrow we are heading out for a day-trip, to a smaller city called Segovia, where there is a Roman aqueduct from the first century. That is a kind of history you don´t get much in the US.

Until next time, be safe.


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