A trip to Madrid

A trip to Madrid, or, how I will someday move to Spain.

Lemme just preface this entire post by saying that Madrid is flippin’ AWESOME.

Americans use the word awesome too much, but I’m gonna own it. MADRID WAS AWESOME.

The morning after Gola camping adventures ended I was on my way to meet some of the derby girls to grab a bus to Dublin, and from there to Spain. We were going over to play Roller Derby Madrid. As I’ve mentioned before travel is like crack to me, and this time was no different.

I’ve never been to Spain before but know a couple awesome Spanish peeps, so I couldn’t wait to get there. Plus, I heard a rumor that it was warm there and I wasn’t ready to give up the sun just yet!

We got to our hostel on Friday in time to explore the city a bit and orient ourselves. The first thing we found was a packed food market, which is always a good sign! I had my first tapas and it was delicious. Could keep eating forever.

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Gotta love a neon beer bottle wearing a hat!

Spain is great because people are out and about until all hours of the morning. They’re out with their families, eating, drinking, laughing, dancing, socializing. There was an incredibly open vibe to the city amplified by wide open streets, bars that don’t close, and something happening no matter where you look. For us who are used to last call being at 1am, this was a welcome treat!

We didn’t enjoy the Madrid nightlife too much the night before the game, but woke up early enough the next morning to get some exploring in. Turns out our hostel overlooked the palace and was close to a few cathedrals and the Madrid opera house. Pardon the many pictures of buildings I took- they were just so pretty!

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Walking through the streets gave me, the avid people watcher, the chance to have some really good things to look at. Living statues, flamenco dancers and this guy who played songs on the water glasses abounded. Tourists and locals flocked around. I realized that, while I understood some things, the majority of my Spanish is entirely irretrievable.

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Give me some cafe con leche any day. It was delicious!

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I’ll save you a long description of the roller derby game we played because it was crap. Completely the worst game I’ve ever played. I think our team did fabulously and played well together, however, the floor was ice-rink slippery and none of us were prepared with a better set of wheels. Madrid kicked us over and then skated over atop of us.

It. Sucked.

And here everyone is trying to remain positive and I can’t even stand it. I’m PMSing and flew all the way to Spain to look like a total asshat, unable to move, unable to skate, unable to grip, unable to move forward. I haven’t skated since 2010 to look like that in my first real team game. I haven’t tried as hard as I’ve tried to be foiled by a goddamn gym floor.

I cried in the bathroom during halftime. More than losing I hate losing it, especially in front of my teammates when they’re relying on me to score points and I can’t.

Sorry not sorry for all the swearwords. I was seriously PMSing and losing that game (by an extraordinary number) was awful. I also have no pictures to offer of this moment in time because the ones taken of me were flippin’ awful and I look gross.

The after party, once we’d showered and somewhat composed ourselves, got better as the night went on. A ten euro cover charge didn’t prepare us for a dinner of finger food (not whatcha need after playing a derby game!), but, as it turns out, if you eat enough of it sometimes the waitress will just start handing you platters of food and you can munch all night long.

Yeah. Winning at the afterparty.

We drank. We danced. We watched horrible things on the bar tv. Irish songs were sung in the toilets and in the street after the bar closed at the early hour of 4pm. My feet hurt but, hey, I had some delicious margaritas.

The next morning, sans hangover (no idea how I avoided that), a few of us meandered to a local flea market and spent the day basking in the sun and delightful shops. I got a couple cute tank tops and found an earring shop that sold all sorts of things for one euro each. Woo!

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Creepy goat thing!

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My favorite Madrid moment was after the flea market, walking back near our hostel and finding an adorable outdoor cafe with food we couldn’t resist. I was on a mission to drink as much sangria and eat as much Spanish food as possible, and the paella was calling me!

Note: I get that some Irish people, for whatever reasons, don’t leave their island that much. However, this is no excuse to mispronounce Spanish words. Paella does not have audible ‘l’ sounds in them. The double ‘l’ in Spanish makes a ‘y’ sound. Insert the words ‘calle’ and ‘tortilla’ here. My teammates realized this bothered me and spent the weekend using it to their advantage.

Additionally, because of the lack of travel experience of the majority of my teammates I was surrounded by people who were scared of planes (I don’t blame them) and/or didn’t realize some specific things about air travel that I’ve come to take for granted. I can’t give them too much shit because I’ve been lucky enough to get to travel bunches, but still. Kinda funny and kinda aggravating all at the same time.

Back to paella! This delicious dish finally made it to our table and I joyfully scarfed down my half.

And then used the shrimpies as finger puppets. I should have taken a picture but my fingers were covered in shrimp goo and I was laughing so hard I cried and couldn’t have taken a picture if my life depended on it.

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I’m drooling just looking at this picture.

I also had sangria. Day made.

All too soon the vacation was over and we’d checked out of our hostel, winging our way back through the outskirts of Madrid to the airport. Mild mannered Irish teammates also didn’t enjoy how fast the Spanish taxi drivers drove, which was still nowhere near as chaotic as the same situation in Jordan so I just had to laugh. I cannot wait to go back to Spain and am seriously considering moving there… I hear there’s great rock climbing!

However, I may have to stay in Belfast until Madrid rolls their way into town on our turf. I am not getting stomped on twice…

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