Madrid life as a foreigner

(Agggh) Disaster?

And then there was none! No power so no lights, no tv, no microwave, no internet …. Dead. Lots of rapid chats with the landlady over Airbnb. Thankfully she answered immediately. I knew the apartment had shorted out but couldn’t reset the switches. She said she’d come, from 45’ away.

I changed the order of switch resetting, yet again, and finally got the right combination. Very pleased she answered quickly, was willing to help and that I didn’t need her. Phew. Heater must have come on as stove and MW were in use. Sigh.


Another woman following my lead and wearing shorts to the gym! Yes, it’s possible she’s just the second most daggy member after me. Cruel!

And 2 more today. Did I mention the mornings are not quite as cold? 😊 Still, doesn’t pay to get there at 7:00 (weekdays) or 9:00 (weekends) as the gym always opens a little later despite us enthusiasts waiting impatiently outside in the cold.

Exploring Madrid

Cold and wet for some of the weekend. At the entrance to an exhibition of drawings in the museum for the national library was an amazing scene.

Pity it was such a miserable day!

Besides the exhibition of drawings by Rosalie Weiss, there was another to do with the development of knowledge of our world, specifically scientific knowledge. Imagine, they showed copies of some of the most important books underpinning our knowledge base: books by Newton, Boyle, etc. And more modern items from a robot to a satellite. Wow.

See this in the context of this suburb. On many buildings are small plaques naming significant writers, poets and artists who lived at that site or extant house. One example was Diego *** who obviously lived out his last years in the Convento before dying there in 1648. This type of acknowledgement is not uncommon around here.


How come some days feel like disasters? I just couldn’t get things going one morning this week. Firing on 2/6 cylinders. It was as though I’d forgotten everything overnight. Slept better than previously. Nothing obvious. Usually go to gym and have the same breakfast before school. So why?

Some days are just not as good. Sigh.

My current morning teacher is Mario, and he’s excellent. He repeats concepts, uses a wide vocabulary and defines words better than anyone else, ever. And the good news is I’m with him for another week. Hopefully two.

The size of the class is ever changing. From 4 to 8 to 7 to… Everyday different. Same people but many don’t come to every class. And they ALL arrived late at least 4/5 days this week. One always comes 10’ late. One up to 40’ late one day. Poor teacher just patiently persists.

Next week? Who knows. Interesting how much harder it must be for the Koreans with a different script and a non-Latin based language to come to terms with spanish.

The afternoon class was good every day. Well, on one, it took 5 explantations of the game we were to play, a simple game made complex by Laura confusing us as to whether we were or weren’t in teams. At least the other 3 students looked confused too.

The best bit was the history lecture at the end of one class. And on Friday afternoon, a local walk to see some of the important features of early Madrid. A couple of the gates from when it was a walled city in the 15th or 16th century are near here. Exciting.

Well, had it not rained and the streets been so crowded, the walk would have been great. It was interesting but hard hearing the teacher even with just 4 of us chickens crowding her. The 4 of us are continuing together next week. Fingers crossed no one else joins us. 😏


The fruit and veggie market near here, Mercado Anton Martin, is not easy to recommend. Many stalls are shut and those that aren’t, sell many products that are not fresh. Tomatoes, for example, just wouldn’t be saleable at home. The asparagus is much better.

By contrast, the Mercado de La Paz, a km or so north, along Paso Del Prado has great stuff. More expensive but, fresher. You can’t select your own fruit and veggies in markets here, just watch carefully and reject any items that don’t look good. Bought more asparagus, a huge tomato, more dried beans and some wide flat green beans. Selecting the dried beans wasn’t straight forward: so many types, sizes and colours.

At the entrance to this market is an old fashioned bar, ideal for a quick coffee before trying to keep the wallet shut inside the market.

Otherwise it’s been too cold, and at times wet, to go the the parks and walking. Maybe next weekend will be better.

Life goes on

In the meantime, house redecorating can sometimes require power +. Yes, a small ‘bulldozer’.

And I love the little, plentiful (not ‘common’) dogs around here. This one was old, 12.

Some of the historical buildings as well as the restaurants and cafes are beautifully decorated. And many have very impressive painted panels.


Why do another country’s scandals, and its source of many inches of press, seem more interesting? Three here at the moment: whether the leader of Madrid did earn a masters degree in law or the paperwork was falsified and if so, by whom; what the release of Carlos Puigdemonte (ex-pres of Catalonia) means for the relationship of 🇪🇸 with 🇩🇪; and how the ex-queen (mother of king) and the present queen (daughter in law) are getting on. Yup.

Best this week though was the photo of Trump with his hair blowing about, looking almost like a flying nun. But, ridiculous.😏😇😏

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