October 7, 2005

Writers Block in Madrid

I had a episode of writer's block while in Spain. I brought along my journal fully intending to document all the sights and sounds at the end of each day...but when I sat down to write anything, I found that I was a bit...well....stuck.
During one particularly acute episode in Madrid, all I could muster were banal notes like "Went to the Reina Sofia today, really enjoyed it". After a half page or so, I read back over it and realised I hadn't captured anything even remotely close to what I was experiencing. In the end, I gave up, resolving to get down to it properly when I got home to Ireland.
The conclusion I came to was that when you are travelling with other people, you really just don't have the time to write, because you're too busy chatting and planning what to do next, and even when you do find yourself with an hour or two of your own to spare, it's difficult to really settle down to the task at hand because you're wondering what they are doing and looking fwd to hearing about what they've been up to in your absence. Travelling solo affords the sort of time that is more conducive to stimulating the creative process.
Since I've returned home, I still haven't managed to actually write anything much about my time in Spain, due to being back at work and evenings being taken up with giving piano lessons. At least, that's my excuse. Maybe I still have writer's block..
To make matter's worse, I arrived back to work to discover that my boss sneakily moved me from my advantageous back-to-the-wall, birds eye view of the room position to a new desk right beside him. Fan-bloody-tastic! My blog entries will be few and far between from now on, it seems. My dossing days are over!
Anyway, back to the trip itself. Brian and I never actually made it south to Ronda or Seville as we'd initially hoped, but it was a pretty ambitious plan to begin with anyway. We ended up doing a city tour of Spain with one or two stops in smaller places along the way.
I fell in love with Madrid and, if I wasnt committed to my round the world trip now, I might even consider moving there immediately! It's supplanted Rome as my favourite European city. The city is absolutely alive, and what was even better about that was that it was not thronged with tourists.
One of the best nights we had there was meeting Steff (another TP member who've I gotten to know over the last few months). We arranged to meet her outside on of the main Metro stations near where we were staying. Had no idea what she looked like, and there was one or two almost funny/embarrassing moments where I nearly walked up to random people and asked them if they were Steff.
You always feel a little weird when you meet people for the first time, but after 5 mins with Steff you felt like you'd known her all your life. We had a great night, spent most of the night in stitches laughing. First, she took us to a little bar (I forget the name..) where they served this yummy white Basque wine.
Later on, we went to another bar in La Latina which played flamenco music and we had a few beers and some tapas. We got a fit of giggling at the barman because he had red-hair - he looked more like an IRishman than a Spaniard.
More bar-hopping ensued, and we eventually met up with Steff's Spanish friend Eva who was great fun! Steff ended up as an interpreter for the rest of the evening, but it didnt matter. We all managed to make ourselves understood, and most of the time the conversation just descended into riotous laughter.
One of our better nights out in Spain, it has to be said.
Anyway, I'd be here all day if I tried to tell you everything that was great about Spain, and none of us really want that. And what with the bad dose of writer's block, and the boss looking over my shoulder, and the laziness, it'll just have to wait. Lol!

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