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Mostrando entradas de 2004

La nostalgia

I received this Spanish e-mail today and thought I would like to share it with those Spanish speakers among you. Click here to get a reminder of just how much things have changed in so few years. Click here.


Apart from the financial constraints, I never quite manage to convince myself of the benefit of taking driving lessons in a city like Madrid. This feeling hardens when people say to me so regularly, "so and so has had a accident on the motorway", "Juan Pérez has been hospitalized for six months following a car crash, "Pepito's brother was on the news on Saturday in an accident in which he barely escaped alive and will need x number of transplants". Yesterday El País reported that Madrid alone had recorded 9,500 accidents in the first 6 months of 2004. The figures dwarf those of the 11 March terrorist attacks. Only last Thursday I was walking to the Puerta del Sol to meet a friend an decided to take a diversion via the Plaza Mayor. On my way towards the square I saw a number of police cars and a van with the words "Accident Investigation" painted on its back. Inside was a mobile office in which an officer was interviewing a driver while taking dow


Well, it’s been back to work this week following three weeks holidays. Why is it that after three weeks of burning sunshine, the day I return to work it pours down with rain all day? On the news they told us the summer had come to an end however the omens were in fact short lived. On Tuesday the clouds were gone and on Wednesday it was burning sunshine once again. I am not sure what I prefer. My holiday’s were about the most eventful in a long time with three nights in Morocco, two in Ronda and 3 in Montpellier. A lot of travelling, especially on the 15 hour coach journey to France and back again 4 days later however it turned out to be well worth it. Asilah , a small town a half an hour taxi ride from the port of Tanger is a fascinating town and we were graced with the privilege of staying at a friend of a friend’s house in the middle of the medieval Medina. The best places to visit are not clearly signposted so it we needed our contacts to point us to the breakfast cafés with the b


In Summer in Madrid it is polular to drive up into the Sierra for the weekends to escape from the heat of the capital. One possible destination is Rascafría , a small town where there are natural pools for fresh water swimming. Madrid is the only region in Spain lacking thermal spas however this is the best alternative. The river is divided into a number of bathing pools and as you walk upstream, the river narrows and you gradually get away from the crowds. A relaxing afternoon with friends of friends, swimming, sunbathing and having a picnic on the riverbank.

Zum-Zueh in the Sala Galileo Galilei

The Brazilian group Zum-Zueh performed last night at the Madrid music theatre Galileo Galilei . I had already seen this group perform a few months ago at the Sala Clamores . however this provided the perfect opportunity to see them once again at one of Madrid'd best known jazz and world music halls. They perform a variety of traditional and contemporary music styles, ranging from and reggae through to maracatú and samba batucada with a mix of African, Brasilian and Cuban percussion instruments.

Tosca in the Teatro Real

Yesterday I went to see a production of Puccini's Tosca at the Teatro Real . The theatre itself is quite spectacular inside though the rest of the internal installations are more modern and ostentatious. From the cafetería on the top floor there is a view across to the royal palace . Both buildings are perfectly aligned such that if you draw an imaginary line running from the two sides of the opera house, the lines would touch the sides of the Royal Palace. The sheer beauty of it, especially as the sun sets on the palace and lights up the city lights behind it. The view is also spectacular from the street level however from this height you get a real sense of the priviliged position from which royals and dignataries have looked out onto this central position in Madrid. The opera itself turned out to be a first class production with marvellous scenery though from our position at the highest gallery it was not possible to see the full details of the secondary set towards the ba