Barcelona To Madrid

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Backpacking France & Spain: Day 18 (23-Dec-2017)

La Flamenco

It was time to pack my bags again. This time to the last city on this trip - Madrid. 

My bus to Madrid was from the main station. When I reached there the notice boards did not list my bus at all. I enquired and was directed to some platform. There was no sign boards or anything to clearly indicate the bus details. Finally, the bus arrived about 30 minutes past the scheduled departure time. That I understand is apparently common with trains and buses in Spain. A crowd gathered around the driver who spoke continuously in Spanish. His speech was very fast and I could not understand it. A kind Romanian passenger repeated the same message to me slowly. It was a message for all Madrid passengers to place their bags on one side of the bus. It was chaotic out there. No body was following a queue. This was somewhat similar to how things might happen in India. I boarded the bus and settled in. Within sometime, the driver announces that we had to switch the bus and move our luggage. Without knowing the language, taking a long distance bus in Spain can be tricky. 

Sitting next to me was a kind African from Portugal. He tried to strike a conversation with me but we could not understand each other so he gave up. Sitting behind me was a very rude Spanish guy. He was overweight and if we reclined our seats, he would bang the seat saying something rudely in Spanish. I turned back and starred at him and then asked him to wait. He did not realise that he was the one who is overweight and thus he had to request us not to recline the seat and not command us. 

Otherwise, the journey was uneventful. I reached Madrid at around 5PM. I bought a Metro card that is valid for 10 travels. My hostel - The hat is in a prime location. Just 500 meters from Plaza Major. The ambience is great there and the staff is super friendly. I checked into my room. Nobody was there. After a while, a girl from Colombia came in. She had Petit prince book in her bag so I asked her if she spoke French. She told me that she was studying French in Marseille and was heading back home for Christmas vacation. We had a good chat about her life in France. She thought that the French had a very closed group of friends and they shared a very special bond with each other and hence, it was hard for an outsider to be accepted by them. Her boy friend was French so, I believe she was speaking from her experiences.

I walked to this really nice place to watch a Flamenco dance performance. The tickets are expensive but believe me, this show is worth that money. I sat in the front row. The show was mind blowing. The tapping of shoes, the music, the singing and of course the dance everything was spectacular. Every artist performed to perfection. I loved the show. I have never watched such a powerful and passionate performance till date. At one point the main dancer, an old lady asked me to repeat something in Spanish which was tricky in terms of pronunciation. Since I had studied Spanish, it was easy for me to imitate the phonetics and I got it right in the second attempt. She and the audience were quite impressed. 

Motivated and pleasantly surprised by this incredible experience, I made my way along the busy streets of Madrid. It was a festive atmosphere as the city was getting ready for Christmas. 

I had some delicious food at a Vegan restaurant - Yerbabuena.

I returned back to the hostel and found the Colombian girl and some South Korean boys in my room. One of the South Korean guys gifted us a pack of tea bags. Though it felt strange,  I saw how this kind gesture broke the ice and we began to chat. They all struggled with English so they spoke with some words and some action. But we still managed to understand each other. At around midnight, we decided to end our conversation and go to bed. The powerful music from the Flamenco show still played in my head. The show really made this one of the best experiences on this trip. I was in love with Madrid.

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