I’m finally in Spain! It is an odd feeling, and something does feel different about being in Madrid this time.
Of course, I had to start with a little drama. I asked in Brussels if I needed change for the luggage carts and they assured me that I wouldn’t. And of course, I did. For some reason, the machine wouldn’t take my credit card and I knew it would take me forever to find somewhere to get change. So I was lucky when I returned (after a quick illegal walk back into the luggage area), that my luggage was still waiting there for me. I was probably 5 minutes away from having it confiscated and wandering around for another hour trying to find it. But I grabbed it and set off for my new AirBnb home for the next 30 days.
My place is adorable. It has everything you could need…in about 80 sq. feet…that includes the bathroom! Don’t get me wrong. I did see pictures ahead of time and I knew it would be small. I guess I thought it would be attached to the rest of a home. But I was wrong. Now, I have heard of bathrooms like this, with the toilet in the shower, but I think I’ve only seen them on HGTV, as part of the trendy tiny house movement. And I’ve been on cruise ships that know how to make use of every nook and cranny. But they could learn a thing or two from my place. I have a shower, toilet, sink, shelf, mirror, desk, chair, and shelving complete with dishes, glasses, cups and utensils. There is also a toaster oven, a microwave, mini-fridge, mini-dresser, end table, bedside lamp, bed, coat hooks, rug and the most extravagant item, the 30(?) inch flatscreen tv, complete with remote! There is nice artwork on one wall, as well. A new acquaintance mentioned that this might have been a storage closet before being “renovated”. I concur.
But I love a challenge. And on a new adventure, everything seems fun, at first. So I will work on trying to see what I can get out of my five suitcases and what will have to stay packed. And more importantly, where to put the suitcases! Maybe I can create a new coffee table out of them….
The real selling point to this place was the fact that I don’t have to share a room with anyone as I save money for everything else; more travel, keeping my home in the U.S. for now, and build up my freelance writing income. And the terrace. To have a terrace in the middle of Madrid is a great thing! I’m on the inside of the building, so the evenings are quiet. And yet, I can see the tops of other buildings as I sit at the outdoor table and have a glass of wine and bread and cheese and chat with friends. Now I just need to make the friends and buy the food and wine! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate. I am only here for a month as I search for a more permanent address. But I am in the middle of Madrid and everything is close, so this is the area I want. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to book an apartment for a year that I hadn’t seen in person. Turns out, my hunch was correct. Just like the camera makes me look a lot bigger, apparently, the same can be said for apartments!
Of course, space is at a premium in the city. Everyone would like to be close to the action, including foreign students. Many live in this area, so roommates are common. (So common, it’s not unusual for people to be in places more like dormitories, as many as a dozen in a place, male and female, with two to three people per bathroom). Just like large cities in the U.S., the inner city apartment buildings are older and rooms are smaller. Sometimes the layouts are really funky, as the landlords try to balance the best rental rates for them, and the most space for the tenant. So once I get more settled, I expect to start my house hunt. It would be better to have the help of a Spanish-speaking friend along, as the best deals will be had by renting from a local individual. Other than not starving, my Spanish won’t get me far. I will add that to my ever-growing list of things to do…make a new friend that can help me find a great apartment.