Thursday 8 January 2009

The first view

I live on the fifth floor of an apartment block in Madrid, Spain. Madrid is a fine city with some wonderful vistas, but my actual view of the city is not one of them. Living in a "Jungla de Cristal", which means "Glass Jungle" and signifies the same as "Concrete Jungle" in English, the view from my apartment is - of other apartments!

Despite its high rise towers my barrio is named after a "Parque" (Park in English) in its name and its a bit of a misnomer; There is a "parque". I often go there to read or study a few more Spanish verbs. It's pleasent enough: Shady, liberally strewn with benches to sit on, never crowded and, if I choose my time of day, enough pretty girls to improve the view no end.

And I will admit that the urban planners have done much to soften the blow of concrete and asfelt with many areas of trees and green, with children's playgrounds and relaxing benches. But it's still a city suburb.

But this blog is not about the actually view I can see. It will be about my views and my opinions as a "guiri", a foreigner, living in Spain.

Today is the seventh day of the year 2009 and is approximately my one thousandth day of living in Madrid. Spain is a wonderful country and Madrid, for me, in the jewel in its crown. I am no longer a young man. I have lived and worked in many countries and always looked forward to the next one. Then three and a bit years ago I landed in Madrid. Within a very short time, and I mean hours rather than days, I felt at home, that I could make a home here. And so it has proved.

Without a shadow of doubt, Madrid is the friendliest city and I have made some very good friends here. In posts to come you will meet some of them and, hopefully, will appreciate why I love it here so much.

A word of warning though. The rose tinted spectacles with which I first viewed this city and its country fell away a long time ago. There are aspects that annoy me, that make me mad, that make me think the people who run this place are sometimes idiots and occasionally crazy. The fact that I continue to enjoy living here is testament to the fact that the pros far outweigh the cons. But it is not always going to be sweetness and light and uncritical .

Spain has a long history and an curious present. There is some very good and very bad, but all of it is fascinating. I hope you find my view of it just as interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Richard, congratulations on your blog!
    I am Spanish and my partner is Welsh, We'll probably move to Madrid at some point this year so I am looking for some groups that my other half can hang out with every now and then.. I think it's good to make an effort to integrate in the local culture but I enjoy my time with other Spanish here in the UK so I understand sometimes you need a bit of me time with other british,
    I can't find anything on the internet, so I wonder as you've been living there quite a while if you know any group of English or Welsh speakers that like to get together for Rugby or Football matchs (Liverpool and Wales)
    If you could help it'd be much appreciated,
    Thank you!
    Un abrazo
    Blanca (