I’m surprised at how quickly I feel acclimated to Madrid. Maybe it comes with having lived in a city almost all my life; maybe no matter how much I love the tranquility of the countryside or the quaint bustle of a town like Salamanca, I’ll always gravitate towards big noises and bright lights.
It helps, of course, that we’re here to do work. I think being forced to venture beyond tourist spots in the name of reporting gives me a chance to really get to know a place: In this case, to learn the winding ways of Madrid’s metro system, to walk block after block on unfamiliar streets, to talk to the people who give this city its energy and life.
In fact, that may be what I love most about this trip. It’s a chance for me to really be in Spain, and not just see all the pretty places. (Not that I have anything against those; more on that in a minute.) I get to really live here, to experience the culture and to let it all wash over me in the hopes that I’ll come out of it a better journalist, and maybe even a better person.
Of course, culture includes all the picturesque, touristy places, and Madrid has a ton of them. Today we went to the Casa de America, a former palace turned sort of cultural center, where important people do important things for the sake of diplomacy between Spain and the Americas (i.e., South and North).
It was originally built in the 19th century (that’s practically the future, in European terms) and still has much of the same ornamental designs and architecture from that time. Pretty cool stuff.
I leave you, as usual, with pictures.