Saturday, November 18, 2006

Impressions of life in Madrid, Spain

I am about to commit the sin called "American tourismus" - that is, the sin of visiting a city for an hour and giving one's impressions as if they were authoritative:

Having wandered about the city a little over double the amount of time mentioned above, the following are my observations for what they are worth:

1. Surprisingly few Spaniards speak English - even among taxi drivers! That is particularly astonishing when one considers that Madrid is now apparently the 4th-most visited city in Europe - and at least a sizeable number of visitors must be English-speaking in preference to Spanish-speaking (or any other language that might be mutually comprehensible)

2. In many ways, Madrid reminded me of India - e.g. in the relaxed attitude to time and to orgnisation. For example, appointments usually started 10-15 minutes later than scheduled. Further, the air-travel related schedule from my travel agent said that I had to check-in at Terminal 2 and, true enough, the check-in was at Terminal 2, but the flight was not leaving from Terminal 2, it was going to leave from Terminal 1 - which was a substantial distance away. The terminals (as most buildings) are spacious and have lots of marble but, as in India, no one seems to think it worth doing anything about a few missing squares in the ceiling plasterboard or about the long wire lying around.

3. Quality of life seems no lower in Madrid, now, than in Switzerland - at least at the top to middling levels (there are a few drunken beggars about). Being vegetarian, I did not have a lot of choice in terms of food, but there are the usual Turkish small shops which retail Falafel, and that cost Euros 3.30 there (which I reckon to be about a third less than what that would cost in Switzerland). The city has wide boulevards and at least a few large gardens, as well as plenty of museums....And a single Metro ride to anywhere in the city costs only 1 Euro. Sphere: Related Content

No comments: