August 31, 2012

night walker

Its pretty common while traveling for my best-intentioned plans to slip later and later into the night; its also pretty common for me to go through with them (even if in somewhat altered fashion) anyway. So my last night in Madrid ended up being mostly some pretty late night wandering (even through one of their parks - just like your Mom told you never to. And honestly, I wouldn't have if it hadn't been full of other people, too.) With it so warm so late into the night, its easy to understand why the city stays alive so late.

August 30, 2012


Madrid's late schedule has definitely put me back in my "normal" time schedule of staying up late and sleeping late, especially when traveling. After dealing with a lot of things at home online yesterday, I finally made it out to do some wandering, taking off through the city in the direction of the Royal Palace. Not knowing anything about it, I was a surprised how vast and beautiful it and its gardens were, much like I would expect to see in France (though I would guess that Spaniards wouldn't appreciate that comparison). From there it was on to a palace of another sort: Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. It was the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The game started at 10:30pm, which seemed unusual to me (too good to be true?!) I kept having to check different websites to be sure I hadn't read it wrong. I ended up getting a ticket at a much higher seat level than I would have liked, but that came from not knowing the levels and language well enough. It was also a lot cheaper than I had planned, so at least that was a bonus. The ticket situation frustrated me a little only because the website had good tickets available right until game time, but it doesn't accept American credit cards, and trips to the box office and various satellite ticket machines around town had also not worked. But so it goes. The stadium was massive. It holds 85,000. It has a lot of history, but kind of like (the previous) Yankee Stadium, it has been rebuilt so many times that it just feels like a large modern stadium without personality. I probably let things I had read about their supporters group being neo-nazi/pro-fascist bother me more than it should, because it made me feel strange about cheering the team on. Aside from some of the obvious words I know, I really couldn't tell what their chants were saying anyway, so they may have been perfectly harmless, as their (slightly malfunctioning) tifo was. All in all, it was still a great experience just to be there.

August 29, 2012

turned around

Naturally, as soon as I lower my expectations, something comes along to turn them around. After a frustrating day on many levels yesterday (and yesterday's blog post), the airbnb host that I'm renting from texted to see if I wanted to grab a beer. That's a first for me (and he later said it was for him, too). I was afraid he'd just tour me through the touristy highlights of Madrid, but I decided to take him up on the offer anyway. It led to a great night of wandering the city streets and popping into places here and there for beers and bits of tapas. It was more the insider locals tour of places he liked - just what I like to experience when traveling. He also introduced me to Vermut, a vermouth that is typical here, but not the same as the ingredient we know and use in Martinis. Served out of a tap over ice, its sweet and dark, and dangerous! It was a fun night. I'm just glad I didn't have to be up for work in the morning like he did.

August 28, 2012


A few from Madrid... Madrid is everything I like: warm, busy, and late. So it surprises me that I'm having such a hard time getting along here. So it goes...

August 26, 2012


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've scheduled some of my travel in order to make certain events, creating a bit of a criss-crossing itinerary. Like in Munich, I was in Manchester for a street fair (I guess maybe more of a village fair since it covered several streets?!) I was able to hang with my friend Daz, who I met in London before the Olympics, as well as some other friends I met a couple years ago in Berlin. As I told is typical for Manchester (though maybe not always for the fest), there was plenty of rain. It didn't seem to drown out the crowd, who was determined to have a good time no matter what. And seemed to. I made an early night of it (well, at least compared to many who continued well into the morning) knowing that I had a morning flight to my next and current stop: Madrid. I hear the Spaniards keep a similar schedule to me... time to find out.

August 25, 2012


A few pics from Manchester... been a bit of a weird stop here where I've found myself in the apartment more than out and about; or dealing with stuff like replacing the phone or booking next stops or dealing with a hacked credit card and bank issues, so don't feel I've experienced the town much, but at least I have met up with some friends and gotten to hang out with them, so not all lost... but with heading on to the next stop in the morning tomorrow, it just seems like it came and went faster than I had a chance to deal with.

August 22, 2012

change of scenery

I've moved from Munich to Manchester since my last posting. For those that missed it on Twitter or Facebook, after spending the last day in Munich (one of their hottest) at the Englischer Garten with friends, I took an unintended (and slightly scary) dip in the Isar River around Midnight. Luckily the worst damage came to my iPhone and camera and not to myself - except for my pride. The whole night was a bit surreal, especially taking the subway home dripping wet and then having the sky open up in thunderstorms about two blocks from my apartment. The whole story is far too much to explain or tell on here - some of you may be lucky enough to get all the details out of me in person. Manchester seems great, but I've allowed myself to spend too much time in my apartment booking the next stages of the trip. I'll just post this now so I can get myself out into it.