As we flew along at over 300km per hour on our way to Madrid, I could only think that this was how trains were supposed to be – faster than cars. The trip was extremely quick and easy and we arrived in the cavernous Madrid terminus under three hours after leaving Barcelona.
A quick metro ride took us to our new apartment on a lovely square in the pedestrian heart of Madrid. The Palace is our neighbor – we can see its rooftop from our balcony – although the royal family don’t live there so there’s no popping round for a drink on our agenda.
Madrid, at least this bit of it, is charming. There are expanses of pedestrian areas, parks and plazas everywhere. A short walk took us past three playgrounds as we attempted to circumnavigate the Palace. We were thwarted in our overall plan through a combination of building works, heat, and getting trapped in a sequence of somewhat strange little parks with only one gate.
It was still a pleasant walk, topped off with beverages in a plaza watching the locals and tourists go by.
We had a tapas dinner with Bob, who lives just around the corner, at the local markets for another people watching opportunity and a chance to get some explanations on accents and pronunciation. Stripped of complications, our assumption and memory that people in the north tend to use the ‘th’ sound instead of ‘s’ was right. So, and this is important, when ordering beer the correct pronunciation is not “dos cervezas” it is “doth therbethas”. The rain in Thpain…