Spain is one of many countries that I love and regularly visit . I always leave with a sense of wonderment as to how so many old men survive into later years to smoke their cigarettes and drink their beer.
A recent short trip to Madrid strongly brought this home. There are few countries and recently I can only mention Switzerland where cigarette smoking is common. Here in Spain most streets smell of tobacco and piles of people are commonly visible outside their places of work puffing away. Even I was caught by surprise and maybe a little horror to find an ambulance parked in a Main Street and some of the paramedics and maybe a medic even openly smoking away.
The alternative way to die young might be through some of the strange fast driving that seems obligatory here. Even the taxi drivers give a good impression of the Indianapolis 5000 and their are plentiful taxis everywhere.
Madrid I am told is a beautiful city but I was reminded that even beautiful cities have urban areas that cannot be described as delectable. My hotel is described as being near the city centre which translates into a 30 minute metro trip I was told . Although this does seem rather long .
Lastly I was reminded of a few of the quirky things that are common in Spain. Serving lukewarm coffee seems the norm brewed for extra strength overnight and lukewarm food. None of the breakfast items could truly be described as hot food.
This is Spain and this is what they do. I love coming here and hope one day to see some of the more beautiful architecture for which Madrid is renowned .
For now some of the more interesting urban architecture will have to suffice. The large office shaped block with an interesting spiral external staircase and the block of flats with colourful balconies.
Making even this urban area look interesting. Finally a Mexican restaurant caught my eye as I was searching for street graffiti and graffiti art of which curiously there was none. The first European city I can recall for some time where these are absent. A large painted mural advertising La CheLinda. No idea what the Spanish version of Mexican food might be like but would be tempted to try based solely on their external efforts.