Four hours sleep. That’s all I got last night as I got in after midnight from Porto and then had to wake up at 5am for my 8am flight to Madrid.
Since the metro doesn’t start running until later, I caught a taxi to the airport. My flight to Madrid was short – just an hour and a half. Interestingly I didn’t go through any customs when I landed, so I picked up my bag and headed on the metro downtown.
Riding on a packed metro in Madrid with my big pack was the first time where I was really scared of a potential pickpocket. It’s funny that my senses are heightened here in Portugal and Spain what with all the warnings about pickpockets. I had my backpack locked so I wasn’t worried about someone opening it up and taking something. My jacket pocket with my iphone, wallet and camera in it was more vulnerable, so I held on to the rail with one hand while my other hand clutched my pocket. I was so happy to finally be off that train.
Forty minutes later, I was walking up to my new home for the next few days – the Barbieri International Hostel.
There was a walking tour starting in an hour, so I headed downtown in the pouring rain to join it. My umbrella, by the way, ended up in a garbage bin in Porto the day before, but on the plus side my new waterproof pants and boots worked like a charm.
On the way down to the meeting spot, I picked up a new umbrella from a street vendor for 3 euros and, like magic, the rain stopped. I never even had to open up my umbrella – apparently just buying it was enough to stop the rain. Good to know for the future.
After the tour I headed back to the hostel and caught up on some computer stuff while waiting for somebody – anybody – to come back to the hostel so I could maybe make some plans with them. Alas, no one really came by and the ones who did were kind of keeping to themselves.
Oh well. I headed out myself to try some tapas and sangria, cause that’s what you’re supposed to do in Spain. I went to this little place down the street recommended by the front desk clerk called el Tigre. It had a rustic design with no tables. People, mostly locals, were just standing beside ledges all throughout. I found out earlier in the walking tour the history of tapas and, sure enough, if you order sangria (or beer or whatever) it usually automatically comes with tapas.
And that’s what I got. A huge sangria with a gigantic plate of tapas. I looked at what he served me and just laughed – I mean, he knew I was eating by myself, right? Then he told me the price – 5 euros. How do these places make money?? Shame there wasn’t a vegetable in sight and it was mostly starches but, whatever, I’m walking miles every day – I’m sure it will average out.
Or I’ll just go on another diet when I get home…