First day in Madrid

It’s my second night in Madrid, so here are some initial impressions from wandering around and getting lost (don’t worry, I found my way back).

I seem to have accidentally brought the weather with me from Ireland. Madrid is cloudy, and it actually rained today; it’s also a lot colder than I expected, so I’ve been wearing trousers and a hoodie the last couple of days. I get that it’s early in the year and, by the way Spaniards divide up the year we’re just about into Spring, but still, I would have thought it was called sunny Spain for a reason. Also, speaking of weather, the rain does not seem to fall on the plain particularly more often than anyone else.

Buildings and roads are very similar to what I’m used to. In fact, if everything wasn’t in Spanish, Madrid could nearly pass for Dublin.

The Metro is awesome, great service.

You know that annoying person who speaks broken English slowly? Right now, I am that person. OK, I knew my Spanish was at best fragmentary, but it’s still a bit of a shock to be thrown in among native speakers who talk fast and slur words, and only be able to pronounce a few basic sentences slowly. I have been trying to speak Spanish as much as possible, which led to a bemusing story at the airport.

I approached a help desk, and there was a Polish couple ahead of me. They asked the receptionist some question in English, and she responded in kind. Then I came up and asked where the metro station was en Español. Now, my Spanish was rather dire (I asked Por aquí el stación del metro, which would best be represented in English as What here metro station), but I still think it’s a bit quirky to follow a conversation where both parties speak English as a second language with one where the native English speaker speaks Spanish.

At the moment, I’m the only person in my room at the hostel, but that might change later. I’ve got a good-sized locker to store all my stuff in, and there’s also a shower here and clothes facilities downstairs. Contrary to warnings, my pockets have yet to be picked.

I start work (well, training) tomorrow. Update to follow.

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