Return To Iberia

As if everything in the last post was a lie, the blog is not dead. I have woken it up. Hear it yawn after its Russian hibernation.

I am writing from a fifth floor flat. There is a fig tree standing out in the sun on a terrace that it shares with a Victorian lampost and scattered chairs. I can see the Royal Palace gleaming over in the distance as cars honk in the roads below. Andres Segovia and his Spanish guitar are trickling out of some speakers as little puddles of yellow light filter through the open windows and doors of the room I'm lodging in. I'm staying with Anna, a friend from my time in Madrid two years ago, and her wildly attractive Canadian housemate Jenny. My plan is to come back to the city and country I love so much and live and work; tired of constantly uprooting my life. Holidays are fine, but year in year out total change takes its toll. The differences between Maidenhead, Moscow and Madrid couldn't be more marked.

Packs of clueless tourists wander round the Puerta de Sol, clutching at their maps and guidebooks; remnants of the recent protest/sit in - the Movimiento de Indignados or 15-M - pepper the square and people take photographs; bars sit purring in the side streets, doors flung wide, with young friends and old men gesticulating, eating tapas and drinking; the air is hot but the wind, this week anyway, finds its way through the little lanes. I thought I would be excited coming back - 'oh, there's that!' 'and, oh my God, there's the plaza de Cibeles!'. Instead I walked the streets in a comfy daze. I was at peace. I was home. It felt like some natural resting place. I met friends, drank, ate, went swimming, cycled along the river, visited some towns outside of the city - the mesmorizing romance of Segovia and the geographic unknown that is Manzanares el Real - and generally let Spain once again lay it hands over me and have its sultry way.

I know it can be as infuriating as any country. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Jenny, Anna and I walk out around the Templo de Debod and see the lights of the city and the Royal Palace.
'Yeah, this is where I want to be'
It's a shame Anna won't be here when I return, hopefully, in September. My Spanish friends will though. It's quite scary to finally think, 'ok, so this is where "life" starts'. There's still the little coward in me telling me to just stay in the UK. But at the age of 24, with potentially a flat on arrival - with some friends of mine - and an instant job - I could return to Talking Point while I searched for the job I really want - it seems silly to not press ahead with Spain.

Spain is in. Rick Stein has just filmed a series of cookery programs about the country. Jamie Oliver's been there. It's still sunny there and tourism is alive. Now is the time to go there. This blog will be more about Spain itself rather than just 'this is what I've been up to'. So I hope you are ready to learn.

As the sun continues its fiery tirade against the world and the gutteral strums of Andres' guitar float around the flat, I sit, in my shorts, hoping that I'm making the right choices. I hope I'm not just being blindsighted by blue skies and sanguine Riojas.

A final word.
My book is finished. Its title is 'The Sun Struck Upwards' and it should be available for purchase in the coming couple of weeks.