Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Plains in Spain.

Sunday, September 11th (but posted on the 13th since I've been staying at a friend's sans internet.)

In 1562, when Phillip II moved the capital to Madrid, it was a sleepy little place. It’s smack dab in the middle of the country, on a slightly rolling plain (do plains roll?) It’s where the rain is, mainly, I suppose (actually, it’s not. Galicia, to the northwest, where Santiago de Compostela is, is so humid that moss grows on the sides of buildings.) It drizzled the other day. Apparently, though, Spain is having a big drought.

The river that runs through Madrid is more of a trickle (not just because of the drought), and there’s not really any sort of natural boundary to contain the place: it’s not a peninsula (like SF) or an island (like Manhattan). Instead, like Atlanta, it’s just there. Unlike Atlanta, Madrid is a city of five million people, and it oozes seven-storey brick apartment blocks into the landscape.

I went to see two pisos today, both of which were at the farthest reaches of line seven (you’ve already downloaded the Madrid metro map, yes?). The first was a smoke-filled hash den, inhabited by a couple of early-twentysomething hippies who were intently watching some sort of automobile race. There was no bed in the room, but I was told that a mattress would be produced.

The second place that I saw, just a couple of blocks from the Avda de Ilustración metro stop (but I walked there from the first place, two metro stops closer to the center), had easily the nicest room I’ve seen so far on my search. The room was a medium size, with a full-sized bed and a window. It was a full forty minute metro ride outside of the center, though, and in the middle of miles of apartment blocks. The couple renting it out was Jordanian, and other than the distance from the center, the guy smoked (not like at the first place.) The one major catch was that they didn’t want the lessee to ever have guests over. Not that guests would ever visit somewhere that inconveniently located. The search continues.


Anonymous Sarah Syed said...

I am sending good housing vibes your way, AV! don't compromise for any puritanical smokers!

8:48 PM  
Blogger AV said...

Thanks, Sarah! It worked! I have a place that's beautiful, conveniently located, and where nobody smokes (the woman's ad had specifically said non-smoking.) Yay!

7:57 PM  

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