It’s day 3 and I already like the vibe of Madrid and the relaxed life of the Madrileñas.
What I do not like, is their inability to be efficient and quick.
The best example I can give you, dear reader, was my quest in getting a metro pass for three months. (Horrible!!)
Because I am staying ‘till December and will be using the tube system every single day, I really was in need of a metro abo for three months.
I thought it would be easy and fast to buy one. How horribly wrong I was in thinking that…
There are two ways of getting a pass:
1) You order it online and make an appointment to come and get it.
2) You buy it directly in a tobacco shop.
I know what you are thinking, dear reader: “EASY PEASY!” Wrong.
Option numero uno wasn’t really an option. The next appointment that I could make, was on the 14th of October. So no.
The only option left was option numero dos. I thought the website meant any kind of tobacco shop. But no. There are only TWO shops in all of Madrid that make the cards for you. One was far away and one was very central. So ofcourse I went to the central one.
On the website they advice you to be there 30 minutes in advance. In other words, I was there an hour before opening time. The tobacco shop at Tribunal Metro station opened at 5 pm and there were already 23 people standing in line before me. Being the naive and innocent girl that I am, I was certain I would be out and about in Madrid city again at 6 pm. 6.30 pm at the latest.
Wrong wrong wrong.
Slowly melting away in the sun and getting more dehydrated (read: thirsty) by the minute, the clock already read 6.45 pm and there were still 10 people in front of me… I was about to go on a killing spree.
To make a very very VERY long story short: it was finally my turn at 8 pm.
Five minutes later, I had my precious metrocard.
Never had I actually thought that day would eventually come. Sure, I hoped it would. But in the back of my head I was 98% positive it would never happen in real life. (Those left-over 2% is my non-failing optimism speaking. Ahem.)
So when I was standing at Brussels Airport yesterday, two packed suitcases at hand, looking up at the always changing timetable, I honestly didn’t fully get that I was leaving home for 12 weeks. It got real when I was in Madrid, at 10 pm, speaking in broken Spanish to the cab driver on my way to my first place to stay.But I am getting ahead af myself, because between getting up at Saturday morning 7 am and arriving at Madrid at 9.30 pm….a lot went wrong. And being the optimist that I am, a lot went also very right.
What went wrong was that apparently, my reservation for my 12 o’clock flight never got confirmed. Strange thing is that I did confirm it, but due to internet connection problems, it never got through. So in the end, my reservation got cancelled. After a long long looooong time (35 minutes), the lady at the Iberia info desk finally decided to get some work done that day and looked away from her computer screen to listen to my problem. In the end she wasn’t able to help me out and I booked a flight for later that evening.
Now comes the good part of the day. Seeing that I had an extra 7 hours to kill, my goodbye party (my sister and mom) and I went to Brussels. It was not so much the trip to Brussels that made my day better, but more the person that I bumped into in Brussels. The moment I saw a patch of blond hair in my peripheral view and those aviator glasses, my heart went into premature ventricular contractions. For the non paramedic students among you, it means my heart skipped a beat. I won’t go into to much detail, but let’s just say that after spending some hours with 3 of my favorite people in Brussels, I wasn’t so sad anymore I missed my original flight.
When they dropped me off at the airport (again), everything was kind of a blur. I checked in, got on the plane, slept the whole flight, landed at Barajas airport Madrid, got my bags and took a cab to my first destination. And right in that moment, when my suitcases were put into the cab’s trunk, I realized I was on my own from now on for three months.
As one of my favorite play-writers once wrote:
‘To live, would be an awfully big adventure.’ (J.M. Barrie)
13 September 2014: the day I started living in one of Europe’s biggest capital cities.
Let the adventure start!