Thursday, September 24, 2009

Madrid: Storytelling

Ok, so I had a bit of technical difficulties with the wireless connection in the hostel I'm staying in but it seems to have been solved earlier this afternoon.

To give you a bit of a rundown of what's happened the past 3 days; after a day in Segovia, I basically spent the last two days relaxing on my aggressive touring and spending more time getting to know some of the other girls here.

Segovia was absolutely wonderful and romantic. The cathedral was unique, as many of them are here in Spain and the Roman aqueduct was a gigantic wonder, but the most tempting and enchanting of all was the Castle, Alcazar. Straight from a fairytale, it felt as if Princes and Princesses were surely to come around the corner on their well groomed horses for a stroll around their kingdom greeting us peons a hearty goodmorn' . It was bittersweet to view such a romantic city alone. The houses, streets, and buildings were pristine and lovely, and musicians played in the central squares and being there alone just made me so...miserable. After viewing the lovely castle, I wanted to leave as soon as possible. Sadly, I'm being honest.

The last couple of days after my miserable yet memorable trip to Segovia, I met a few girls, Natalie from New Jersey (who'll be teaching here in Madrid), Sarah from Australia (who lived in London for over a year and has been travelling for 2 months), and Helen from Dublin, Ireland (studying here in Madrid for a year). It's been such a blessing to have made such wonderful companions. There's so many stories and experiences to be shared and I gobbled them all up like candy (or in my case, cookies - which Sarah knows has been an awful vice of mine here).

Helen, Sarah and I spent a better part of the late morning sharing some travelling stories and to my shame, they all made me paranoid. I felt this sick feeling within me knowing full well that I could fall victim to such schemes due to my gullibility and my innate willingness to be so trusting. Hey, I'd like to see and believe the good in others rather than always assuming that strangers (and sometimes even acquaintances and friends) can be so cruel and manipulating. I'd hate to live life in paranoia and it's not in my nature to be so distrusting. I rely much more on instinct and vibes, listening and catching phrases or actions that don't seem quite right. I watch for cues but don't immediately build a wall around myself that makes it hard for others to get to know me. But it's safe to say that Sarah scared the living *poop* out of me. So much so, that a harmless invitation from Natalie to see the wonderful new apartment that she'd just gotten today made me more than a bit nervous.

I went anyway, after we took a stroll around the lovely if not completely devoid of colorful flowers in the Botanical Garden in Madrid. We stopped at a bank for her to get her deposit and we made our way to the apartment. My fears started rising when I noted the late hour, I knew that Sarah would be waiting for me at the Hostel so we could hit the Pub for dinner that evening and I was worried that she may think that I may have forgetten about it. But most of all, I was worried because of the damned story that Sarah told me about a young girl who met fellow lodgers in a Hostel and had gotten to know for the past week. The girl tells the "Father" and the "daughter" of her itinerary and manages to gain her trust to convince her to stay with them in her next intended city. Once in their home the girl is locked in a room, the "daughter" having left and the young girl now trapped in a locked room with a man who is not who he said he was. It seems that the "daughter" had been a hired accomplice to befriend and lure the woman back into his home. The young girl manages to escape through the window, having left most of her belongings in the house and leaving town immediately.

This story made me a bit nervous about seeing Natalie's apartment in the late hour with her and her new Landlord. I felt jumpy and watched them carefully, looking for signs of deceit and kept a wary eye on the open door, always making sure to keep my back to it with the two of them ahead of me. We made quick view of the apartment and my fears were for naught for we went home safely and I retold the story to Helen and Sarah who laughed at my retelling of the situation. We all promised to keep in touch through Facebook and Helen says, "Yeah, if you ever come back to Madrid in the next year let me know!" I respond, "Sure, just don't 'show' me your apartment." We laughed again and she made a devilish grin and remarked on how she intended to lure me into a windowless room and lock me in as her captive.

We shared so many horror travelling stories and it was astonishing to hear them all but good to have a bit of fun with them as well.

Sarah and I had dinner at a Pub where I encouraged her to taste her first Quesidilla and I had chicken tenders and fries (not as good as McDonald's by the way). In case you're curious, we went to an Irish Pub (here's where everyone laughs). We were both missing home and so we sought a bit of comfort from being able to read an English menu and enjoying less exotic and sometimes questionable food, opting for something that reminded us of home.

It's awful in a way, to make such wondeful acquaintences, only to say goodbyes in less than a couple days. But none-the-less I'd rather that we'd met even for so brief a time, rather than not having met at all. Each hostel is different and the girls are varied just the same. Some are quiet and meek and others are openly friendly, instantly sharing a connection with you that sparks long conversations and genuine friendships.

Today should've been a daytrip to Toledo but after having read that its atmosphere is similar to Segovia's (romantic - ugh) and that the walk from the train to the city center was approximately 30 minutes, I decided that it was a fine day to read - preferably on the bed where I would not be walking or moving and where I could nap whenever the desire struck.

Tomorrow is my final day in Madrid and I will be heading off to Granada on Saturday. Tonight is free Sangria night so I'm off to have some coffee (yes, I'm smirking). I'm going to enjoy my beverage on the sofa just in front of the stairs to watch the parade of soon to be tipsy lodgers as they "navigate" their way back to their rooms. Just kidding, I'm only sitting there because I need to charge my laptop. Don't want a repeat of non-sensical hysteria due to a non-operating computer because I'd failed to ensure that it had actually charged the night before...

I've posted some pictures below. Thanks for reading!

The Roman Aqueduct

The Cathedral

Alcazar: The Castle

One of many Churches

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