We are back in Europe! After a delayed flight we finally arrived in Madrid. I have probably spent over 12 months in Spain since I was born, holidays and Spanish studies and a exchange semester at the University. Consequently, Spain is probably the country I know best after Denmark and Norway. But until now I have only walked the longing corridors of the airport before, so saying that I know the city would be a lie.
We arrived to Madrid in the late afternoon after a 12 hour flight from Lima and slightly confused and tired we got on the metro to downtown Madrid. We had reserved a private room in a hostel for the first nights and then a room at a Airbnb a bit outside the centre. The hostel was located in Malasaña, a centric area of Madrid and just stepping out of the metro it felt like we were back home. We were back in Europe after 8 months in Latin America and now even Madrid felt familiar. The food, the smells, the architecture and the people.
After a sleepless night thanks to jetlag we headed out to explore Madrid. The first thing that struck me was the calmness. Compared to many of the main cities we have visited in Latin America the last months Madrid being the third biggest city in Europe came across as very sophisticated, quiet and clean.
We spent quite some time in Parque Retiro, a huge park in central Madrid and just walking along the cobbled stoned streets finally managing to melt in.
After a few days we changed to a Airbnb in another part of Madrid. We had initially booked four nights but after the first I realized that my biggest worry the last eighth months had come true. Not in a shitty hostel in South America, but in a nice room in a private apartment in Madrid. Bedbugs. Fucking bedbugs. I got them in 2009 in Valencia and it was a nightmare. Three weeks in a itching hell. I confronted the girl who rented us the room and she acknowledged the situation and got us another Airbnb for the following nights.
The rest of the day, and the following was spent on washing and drying all our things including backpacks and shoes. I actually threw out the majority of my clothes since I have been wearing the same 2 t-shirts, the same 2 dresses and the same skirt since October last year. Consequently we got to see another area of Madrid, reminding slightly absolut Söder in Stockholm. Even if our brains were still fucked from bedbugs and jetlag we managed to get out and about- and buying new clothes! I got to visit a photo exhibition showing various projects from Magnum photographers and Josch got his fare share of soccer games.
Madrid was a positive surprise and I am quite sure that we will come back another time. On the 16th of June we picked up our rental car and that is what we are doing at the moment- spending in total 21 days on the road, exploring the Iberian Península and preparing to get back to northern Europe in a couple of weeks.