Thursday, January 2, 2014

all roads lead to Granada, part III: Tapas!

When I told Christian that I had heard somewhere something like "when you meet nice people, you always meet them again", well, he didn't believe me. I met him in february in Budapest. We met again at the hitchgathering in august and now I was going to stay with him in the center of Madrid.

I kinda had the chance to go to Madrid a few years ago but I decided not to. I don't regret that decision but Madrid it's actually a nice place. People everywhere but still nice. Maybe it was because it was before Christmas but still. The only time I barely saw people was the day I left and it was because it was early. Train station was a bit crowed tho. 

I didn't know what to expect from this city except that I knew it was big. Didn't see much of it, mostly the area of Callao, in the middle of Madrid. There is a metro station really close meaning that the flux of people is huge. But the fact that is in the center and is a very nice area means that there is everything within walking distance: shops, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets.

One thing I really wanted to try was the culture of tapas I heard so much about. You order a caña and you get a plate of snacks that can range from simple fries to pork or steak or whatever other yummy thing you can imagine. I know refer to cañas a "cute beers". Why cute, because they are really small, I think they are about 20cl. If you order a tubo, then you get "the big beer": about 25cl. What the hell? a quarter of a beer? Funny thing is that the other day I had a cute beer and felt tipsy afterwards... don't ask.

Christian showed me around the area. Met his friends, his flatmates. All in all was a very nice stay. I also got the chance to meet again with Oscar, a friend of mine from Guatemala whom I hadn't seen hi in over 4 years. The last time I saw him was when I organized his farewell party because he was off to Spain to do a masters in something. Now, he's going to have a PhD in something. I actually don't know in what exactly but good for him. He's been in Spain for quite a while now. Happy that was able to catch up with him after that long.

I wanted to spend NYE in Portugal with some friends but the work exchange situation changed a bit. I was needed right away in Granada. So I had to leave. If I don't go to Granada I might lose the chance to volunteer over there. I had to take it. 

So many people say that hitchhiking in Spain is hard. This was going to be my first attempt at doing it and it was going to be alone and it's winter. The good thing is that is not very cold. Can get chilly but nothing I cannot handle.

The main issue with many people when they hitchhike here is that they don't speak Spanish and spaniards and not know for their english speaking skills. Spain don't really have a hitchhking culture and people are not really used to do hitchhiking like their neighbors for example. By neighbors I mean both France and Portugal. If you stand on the side of the road be prepared to wait a few hours before getting picked up. What works best is to approach drivers and talk to them so they will see that your mum was right in thinking you are a good boy/girl. One other thing: don't listen to truck drivers that most likely never hitchhiked before telling you that there is a petrol station 5 minutes away where there is more traffic and lots of cars and trucks stop to tank before heading south. DON'T LISTEN TO THEM! I listened to the driver and walked not 5 min but 30, an hour including the return trip. The other petrol station had more traffic, that is true but that traffic was in the vast majority local, like 95%. The remaining 5% was going the opposite direction, back to Madrid. Not really sure how can that be possible as the petrol station is on the side leading south. Anyways, that  's what that 5% of the drivers told me. Oh! and I saw only one truck. And to make things even more brilliant, there were some construction works do there entrance was also the exit causing a traffic jam. Fuck this shit, I'm going back to the other one.

15 min later I found a straight ride to Granada.

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