11 October 2013

¡ Vamos a España !

So, here I am back in the land of paella, sangria and mañana. A land of incredible contrasts, illogical goings-on, blazing sun, proud puffed out chests and ex-pats.

I first moved to Spain years ago straight after graduating in the UK in linguistics with German and Swedish. I’d had enough of Central European/Nordic organisation and precision. I needed to experience something a bit livelier than a debate about the ecological impact of a new car park in some town in the Black Forest. What I needed was the much-hyped, real hispanic passion. From old ladies dressed to the nines while out shopping in a supermarket seemingly arguing over a triviality (normally the price of patatas) to crazy take-your-life-in-your-own-hands festivals involving much wine, tomatoes and fancy dancing. I had decided this was exactly what I needed rather than a sensible teutonic office job. Madrid was on the prescription and it did the trick.

I loved, and still do, Spain, and in particular Madrid, with all its ridiculous lack of reason and lateness. I’ve missed mashed up tomato smeared on toast for breakfast, gallons of olive oil poured on the same pre-toasted bread, sunbathing at five in the evening, eating too much at lunchtime and drinking horchata through a straw. I’ve missed downing cheap chilled red wine at lunch, because you can and it’s included in the price anyway. I’ve missed being able to park badly and get away with it. I’ve missed that feeling you get when for a split second you’re not sure if you’re inside or out, when strolling around a Spanish city at night. It’s good to be back.

My exaggerated, insomniac days in Madrid are however a distant, and yet fond, memory. No, now I’m not living over the road from Plaza Major, above the rather strongly smelling deep-fried calamari sandwich bar. No, I’m up a dried up valley in rural Almeria. Apparently, the sunniest part of Spain (sounds good) and basically the place where Andalucia runs out. I’ve got older, as Spain has too, and now the bright lights and never-ending parties of the capital have been replaced by a rural setting so quiet you can hear your own ears. I bought and did up this farmhouse over ten years ago, and so I’m not exactly new to the area, but having not been here for quite a while and that quite-a-while having been spent in Germany (I gave in to its punctual charms - who could resist!), I wonder what delights are in store for me. Hasta pronto.

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