29.09.2012 - 29.09.2012
Every beginning has an end, and our end has come.
Vacation started a short two weeks ago and ends tomorrow. I am sad to leave Spain and want to continue traveling, but I'm also excited to sleep in my bed and eat my morning oats cooked in almond milk. The comforts of home are greatly missed, even with such short absence.
Today we woke up late, but not late enough for a full recovery. I don't think that's possible when you go to bed at 5 a.m. We had a 2 p.m. train to catch from Puerto back to Madrid. It was a four hour train ride, and we knew we should give ourselves time to pack, shower, and eat before embarking on our return trip.
We all moved slowly.
Sabine somehow had the ability to make us huevos rancheros for brunch, though I don't know how. Regardless, I was thankful. I needed a filling meal to help me get going, and nothing hits the spot like something topped with guacamole.
I can't state enough how generous and wonderful of a host Sabine has been to us. She let us into her home, put us up, put up with us...no easy feat. We're indebtedly grateful--she made the end of our trip a great time. Zac and I have really enjoyed our time in Puerto, even with uncooperative weather.
I wish we had more time to spend in Madrid before leaving. I was excited to return, and we chose a hotel in the center of the city again. I'd love to wander around the park or eat tapas in the Mercado San Miguel. There is a falafel stand that has been recommended, and we still haven't eaten at restaurants that were passed on our first trip through Madrid that are lingering in the back of our minds. I want to wake up tomorrow morning and get coffee and churros and walk through one of the beautiful plazas and people watch.
Instead our arrival in Madrid didn't come until 6 p.m., leaving us less time than we wanted to explore the city. Our hostel is disgusting, but unfortunately was one of the only available in the city center on such short notice that wasn't outrageously expensive. That's what we get for waiting to book a hotel on the weekend. In retrospect we've both agreed that it would have been worth it to pay three times as much to sleep beneath sheets without fear of bed bugs, take a hot shower, and sleep in a room that doesn't smell like smoke. We do get free porn, though. Really gross porn, but it's free.
We've definitely stayed in worse places--several hostels in Nicaragua come to mind, but I didn't expect something this bad in this price range in Madrid. Fortunately we're only here for one night, and fortunately we're spending about eight hours in the room total. We tossed our stuff down after checking in and then immediately left the place. Our goal was to spend as little time in the room as possible, though this felt to be a struggle since we'd slept so little the night before.
Our low energy was disappointing, but we were super duper excited to return to Madrid because our friend Marni just moved to Madrid and we are lucky enough to overlap for a night! She kindly came to meet us at our dank hostel and we went and had dinner and drinks and she filled us in on the joys of moving to another country, particularly a country as "laid back" as Spain.
Her soon-to-be apartment is right by the hotel we stayed at on our first trip to Madrid, and we decided to hang out in her new 'hood to check out her digs. She will be living in a beautiful part of the city center. Her apartment is on a quiet street tucked away from the noisiness of the centro, but all she has to do is walk fifty feet to join in the chaos should she choose. I love Madrid's tucked away quiet streets, neatly sandwiched between major junctions and plazas. It's amazing how sleepy they can be when just a block over discotecas and restaurants swell with people.
Marni in front of her new apartment!
It was so nice to see Marni, though I felt near brain dead and borderline retarded from exhaustion and the residual effects of alcohol still lingering. I felt to be an uninteresting bore, but Zac was able to keep up a conversation. And of course Marni is witty and entertaining all on her own.
I wish I could have made it past twelve, but as the clock tower literally struck midnight we said our goodbyes and parted ways. Marni had to take the metro back to her temporary residence and we were just so dang tired that we had to give in and grudgingly go back to the hostel. There have been riots here in Madrid this past week and police, news caravans, and surveying helicopters kept the busy plaza under watchful eye. We thought we might see some action as we walked back to the hostel this evening, but we did not. Protests in the crowded streets tonight are peaceful (though not earlier in the week), and near impossible to differentiate from the busy crowd of a Saturday evening.
The room felt even more disgusting upon closer inspection, and I swear it felt like something was crawling on me. Sleeping on top of the sheets seems to be the only option in such situations, and hopefully with some more strength we'll be able to fully close the bathroom door. So far we've been unsuccessful with that.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to Spain and embark on a full day of traveling back home. I'm not looking forward to the long day to come, or the return to reality. I am glad we came, and I've enjoyed my trip very much (and I think Zac has as well). I'd return to Spain, though admittedly there are a few other places we've been that I'd rather return to first. Spain has had some beautiful moments and beautiful places, but it's also had some uncomfortable situations and some annoying experiences. Spanish time is admirable in spirit, but often frustrating in practice. We've made many-a-jokes about Spanish time and failing economy. The jokes feel too easy, but we can't help it.
Still, walking the beautiful and charming streets of a small Spanish city, eating tapas late into the evening, cracking a bottle of wine and sitting on a terrace on a warm summer night--it's hard to beat that.
So onward we go, heading home and dreaming about where we'll go next.