Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Still not cold enough

Well, I made it safely to Madrid. I am currently staying with Natalia and Nacho until probably Friday night and on Saturday night I will most likely stay over at Natalia's mom´s place. I left Barcelona early in the morning so I could arrive in Madrid at a decent time. I got to Atocha station for 1.45 pm. Atocha station is the station where the terrorist attacks occured in 2004, it was a follow up attack from 9-11. Because there was an error with the text message that I had sent to Natalia she wasn't at the station so I ended up taking a local train to Villalba. Villalba is a smaller city (section of Madrid - my understanding is that it's sort of like some of the outer areas of Ottawa such as Vars or North Gower but I could be mistaken). Anyways, that train ride took another hour.

By this time Natalia had to work so she had her mom come pick me up from the trainstation. Villalba is also where I stayed during my student exchange back in 2004 so I am somewhat familiar with the area although it looks like it's changed a lot since the last time I was here (in 2007 with Robynne). Natalia's mother is awesome. She's so friendly and sweet and adorable! She reminds me a lot of my own mother. Not only are they about the same height but they both love to force food upon guests! I mean this in the best way possible. The walk to her house was about 20 minutes and when we arrived she asked me if I had eaten anything. I hadn't eaten since breakfast so she offered me a little something to eat. It wasn't a little something. It was a huge feast. She asked me if I liked salad, pasta, chicken. I said yes thinking it was just going to be one thing. It wasn't. She started by bringing out some bread. I don't mean sliced bread, I mean nice giant loaves of bread. Afterwards she brought out this plate filled with pasta and cubed ham. The salad was sliced tomatoes with sliced cucumbers some olive oil and salt. It was really, really tasty. I absolutely love cucumbers and tomatoes so it was heaven1 She then gave me a plate with chicken, an oven cooked tomato, some potatoes and some backbacon. I still hadn't finished all of the pasta so to see another huge plate surprised me. What surprised me even more is that I managed to finish it all. I was also given a cup of gazpacho. Gazpacho is basically cold tomato soup. It was a little salty but still very tasty. I love tomato soup at home so it was really neat to try gazpacho. Afterwards for desert I was given a huge slice of watermelon even though I had asked for only a tiny bit since I was pretty full. I like to think that I'm pretty lucky that there isn't much food that I don't enjoy. I think I can count the stuff that I don't like on a single hand. Maybe with both if I actually think hard about it but being polite I'll eat most things. There are pretty much two things that I refuse to eat, olives and anchovies. Being open to various foods certainly helps. After lunch her mom left me to vegetate on the couch while she ran off to work. Natalia showed up with Nacho at about 6.30. I fell asleep while watching a very confusing soap opera called Corazón apasionado. I was also given a cloth with cold water to place over the burn to help cool it down. That was so nice to feel! I then went with Natalia and Nacho to see the venue for their wedding.

The date is Saturday July 21st and I'm getting really excited! Their both getting nervous. It's cute. Once at the venue I met Nacho's parents and his grandmother who are all really nice friendly people as well. Pretty much everyone I meet here is. It looks like the place is going to be on a ranch. Not just any ranch, a ranch that raises bulls for bullfights. There's even a bullring with seats for the bullfights. There's also horses and pigs on the ranch. I was told the pigs were for eating. There were also baby pigs were were adorable and a newborn horse. The venue looks absoltutely wonderful. You can even see the mountains in the background! it's so pretty and picturesque. I'm excited to see it with the wedding decorations. I think we'll be going back on Friday to start decorating. I'm not 100% sure. It can be difficult to follow one person speaking so to hear 6 people talking at once it was extremely difficult to follow. I got a few words here and there. After the venue we drove back to Villalba to meet up with Natalia's mom once again and we all went to the doctor's for Nacho's grandmother. I was a little confused since I had thought we were going to see dresses. The doctor came into the waiting room and introduced herself to us and got to know everybody and figure out who was related to who and then chatted away for a bit. I couldn't understand a single thing she said because she spoke waaaay too quickly for my brain to process any of the words. For the appointment itself we all went into the room and the doctor examined nacho's grandmother's knee. On the way out the doctor felt my face and ordered me to put a bunch of cold water on it once I got home. Once I got outside I got the same instructions from Nacho's mother and grandmother as well as Natalia's mom. It was nice to have a bunch of people worrying about the burn. Reminded me a lot of home. After that Natalia and Nacho were given a bunch of food from both of their mothers and then we headed back to their home. They warned me not to look too surprrised when I walked in since their house was filled with things for the wedding. The main hall is filled with dozens of cases of bottles of soft drinks and alcohol and the main dinning table is filled with after dinner later in the evening desert stuff that´s being prepared. I offered to help with the preparations since I have seen most of Madrid and I'm here to hang out with her. I told her that helping out would make me happy. Especially after everything she's done to help me out.

Shortly after stepping into the house I went to take a cold shower. I simply could not get the water to go cold enough. It always seemed to be too warm even though it was freezing but it still felt nice to bathe. Afterwards I had dinner which Natalia, like her mom, forced me to eat, eat, eat! Nacho said goodbye and Natalia and I stayed up and talked, we also partially watched Game of Thrones as it was playing on TV. It was the first episode of the first season. It was pretty neat to see it all in Spanish. Finally at around 11.30-midnight we decided to get to bed. Wednesday morning I woke up bright and early. I asked Natalia if it would be okay for me to stay indoors and watch TV/use the computer since I really don't want to go to Madrid for the day and further roast in the sun. Recovering indoors for a day or two will do me wonders! Especially since I know I'll be outside all day on Saturday and then sun will be even hotter in Tarifa! I don't want to come home looking like a leathery tomato. She laughed and said that it wasn't a problem. I took another cold shower in the morning and used some of the wonderful exfoliate that my mom had bought me for my birthday. I decided that since my face won't produce oil on its own because it's so dry that putting that on my face would help. It burned and stung. Oh my god is was horrible but the after effect was so wonderful! Some areas of my face are nice and smooth while the rest is dry and peeling. You know when you have a really bad cold and you constantly blow your nose and the area there gets dry and irrated? That's what most of my face feels like. I've been applying moisterizing creams and after sun almost every 30 minutes to boost the rehydration process of my skin. So far it's been working wonderfully. The first few times stung like crazy but now it's getting much better. That exfoliate has been so wonderful throughout this trip. Especially after I visited some of the ruins. That's basicaly about it. This morning before Natalia went to work she cooked a whole bunch of pasta for me and she helped me get some laundry started. I'm pretty much washing everything that I brought with me today. It will be nice to have all clean clothing again. Washing clothes in the sink with camp soap can only get you so far. And I've pretty much only been washing my underwear like that since my shirts and pants take too long to dry. I've been airing out my clothes for a few days before wearing them again. It sounds gross but I haven't been smelling bad so it's all good. I've also used today to go through my bag and see what I'll be needing in Tarifa and what I won't need. Natalia said that I could leave some things behind and since I'll only be there two nights it doesn't make sense for me to bring everything especially since I'll be back the night before I fly out to Toronto. When I publish this post I'm going to check to see if I can upload photos to the blog today (after lunch, all this typing about food has actually made me really, really hungry). While eating I'm going to check out to see what's coming up next on Animal Planet. so far I've seen Texas Ranger with Chuck Norris in Spanish, some documentary on cheetas and now there's something on organutans. And here are some images of the ferry and the port, as well as some of the architecture in Barcelona.

Some random boat at the port.

The little cactus garden in the Autostrade del mare station.

the ferry terminal

The ferry itself. Cruise Roma

The pool deck.

The crystal tower that can be seen from my hostel window.

La familia segrada

Another shot of the church...

Some windows of a house

That wavy house with the seaweed.

Closeup of said seaweed.

More wonderful architecture!

The gothic church


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