Being a tourist in your own city (the heat is on).

Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Spain  ,
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's Monday morning again, definitively the lousiest morning amongst the lot. I'm on my way out the door, a bit late for work as usual, a banana behind my ear as usual, stumbling down the stairs as usual...

"Hey Steve, where are you going?"

"Work of course, what did you think...???, that I was heading for the pool???"

"Well maybe, it's a public holiday after all."

"You're kidding right???"

"Nope dude."

"Well, in that case I'm heading into town instead. Ciao bacalao!!!"

What's better than having a Monday off because it's a public holiday? Well, how about having a Monday off because it's a public holiday you didn't know about??? Don't ya just love it!!!

It's mid-May and the temperatures here in Madrid already hover around 30 degrees Celcius. Weather like this makes the Madrileņos long for the beach. Me however..., I am just happy to walk around for hours taking in the different sights, while enjoying the fabulous sunshine and hot weather here in Madrid (while taking the time to stop for a beer or two of course). It makes all my local friends just laugh at me. "Give it a couple of more months Esteban and you'll surely hit the beach with us instead. You ain't seen nothin' yet. B-B-B-Baby, you just ain't seen n-n-n-nothin' yet". Maybe they are right, but for now at least all the sun just makes me smile.

I have been here in Madrid for almost four months now, and realize that I have taken about one photo per month of the city so far. It's quite typical I think. You go on a weekend break to Rome for four days, running around like a "skadeskutt" hyena while snapping about a zillion photos. Being a tourist in your "hometown" however, is typically a bit more difficult. Having an "infinite" amount of time makes it very easy to postpone things. I remember when living in Stockholm a few years ago. I was lucky enough to have an apartment about 300 meters from The Vasa Museum (apparently Scandinavia's most visited museum). But did I manage to visit the museum during the 3,5 years or so I lived in the city? Nope, not before I went back on a short weekend break a few years later, did I go see for myself the only remaining, intact 17th century ship in the world. I am sure it's something most of us can relate to, and of course also improve heavily on. Being a tourist in your own city that is, something I believe most people are pretty poor at. But it can be pretty fun, so you should try it out one day! So this public holiday Monday I bring my camera and head for the famous Prado Museum. Being a Monday, the Prado is of course closed, so I head over to the botanical garden instead. In my early twenties I never ever thought I would pay money to go look at some green plants. For me a botanical garden was the ultimate time waster. Nothing moves in there, it is so dead and quiet. What's the fun and action in this place you sad suckers??? I could think of nothing more boring, except maybe the old people wasting their time in there while smelling all the roses. That was about until I went to Kew Gardens in London some years ago. Once again I found it quiet, but also very peaceful. "Hey, this is pretty cool actually" I thought. I decided I quite liked it. Since then I have been to a few more botanical gardens around the world, and although they typically don't rock my socks off, I actually quite enjoy strolling around in there while smelling all the roses now. I am not off to the retirement home just yet, but I guess it's all part of growing a bit older (you sad sucker ;-). Well enough of that. After having visited the royal botanical garden, I end up spending the rest of my Monday running around town snapping photos of some of the more touristy sights. And while Madrid maybe isn't a classic beauty like Rome, at least it doesn't have the same amount of famous landmarks, I still really like the city and it's atmosphere. It's such a lively place with so much stuff going on all day. It's kind of hard to describe the place in fact, so why not just come down and visit me. We can maybe even have a beer or two!!!
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