Nov 162009

Said good-bye to Sarah, met Guylène at the airport for a cup of coffee (great to see her and chat) then easy-jet back to Madrid. It is two days shy of being two months since I arrived in September. But even in that time things have changed. Emerging from the metro at Plaza de Castilla enroute to Hotel Caballero Errante I immediatly noticed the wonderful clear sky and lovley evening light (verses rain). I then noticed that the huge section of the plaza previosly blocked off was now a clean and bright new bus center. Also nearly complete and repaved was the torn up, tree lined little plaza out side the hotel. Sadly inside the hotel the fragrant aromas and long tables of the little morocan restaurant were missing. In its place tidy little tables for two for desayuno only. This time I was able to arrange for my room more easily in Spanish, though my pathetic spanish is once more so jumbled with my french…
The Prado is open till 8 so I decided to enjoy what was left of the light by taking the #27 bus to the museum. The driver was insane, and we raced wildy down the boulevard so fast I was barely able to enjoy the dusk, the imposing buildings thousands of white taxis and small new clean cars crowding the streets, masses of pedestrians on the sidewalk. Compared to Geneva it is enormous. However, no sooner was I on the bus than I realised I had left my map on the bed and had no idea where to get off. I finally asked the man next to me to tell me where the museum was. I only meant the stop, but he very graciously told me to be tranquillo, and not only showed me the stop but walked me across the divided boulevard to the entrance to the museum.
Turns out the last few hours the museum are free on Sunday, so in addition to great art it was a great place to people watch crowds enjoying great art. Barely made it through one half of one floor when I found myself being rounded up and out. 8:00
Much more tranquil return ride, past illuninated fountains, and buildings, and the head and tail lights of all those taxis and cars. Beautiful.
Stopped at a bar for vino tinto served with tapas (a yummy variation of potato salad and a roasted green pepper). Smoky, as Spain has not yet banned smoking in restaurants, though I think you are required to post that the establishment allows smoking. Crowded when I arrived about 20:30. Empty when I left 30 minutes latter. Hot castañas on sale from a street vendor for dessert.

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