I had arrived in Madrid and, after some delay located my cousin, Jenny. After hugs, hellos, and I’m-so-glad-I-finally-found-you’s, Jenny explained that a cab would be about fifty Euros and that the subway was about five. Somewhat to her surprise, I opted for the trains. I was not that tired in spite of getting little sleep on the plane, and I had just the two small bags, so the train wasn’t a big inconvenience.
At Jenny’s apartment we dropped my stuff off and went out to get a snack. She was in what seemed like a cool part of town. We went to a restaurant and ordered beers. Jenny had only recently turned 21, so it was the first time that she and I had consumed alcohol together at a restaurant. Our bad Spanish resulted in many pounds of tasty fried food to be brought to us. As would be the case for the week we were together, I ate much more than I should have. We were mildly miffed that the snack we had envisioned ended up being piles of food and something like fifty Euros (that’s something like 70 greenbacks), but I had just saved that much by not taking a cab.
After I got a little nap we went for a walk and saw some stuff. In this shot you can see the shadows of me and Jenny.
Jenny took me to this promising-looking beer bar that she and her friends had never been to, but called the “hundred beer bar.” I was not going to let this opportunity pass by. They had a couple Belgians on tap and a wide offering of bottled beers. With our first round of beers came a little plate of nuts.
In Europe they are very civilized and often serve beer in the proper beer for the glass. In Paris, a decade or so earlier, I was drinking beer someone who had spent part of his youth in Belgium, and spoke French pretty well. We had ordered three Kwak beers, largely because he very much liked the Kwak glass. When the beers came out with plain pint glasses my friend said something to the waiter, who seemed to dismiss whatever the request was. My friend responded, this time a bit more forcefully. The waiter, in turn, responded a bit louder, still apparently not giving in to whatever was being asked. Finally, my friend said something that was punctuated with “Pssshhh!” and his hand waiving across the table. We monolinguistic onlookers were alarmed, wondering whether we were about to be involved in a fight or thrown out of the bar. Instead, a minute later, the waiter appeared with two proper Kwak glasses. The story was that since he didn’t have enough for all three of us he had opted to deny all three of us the joy of the Kwak glass. Here in Madrid, I was elated to see Kwak on the menu and have it come in the proper glass, without a fight.
When our nuts came, the waitress asked whether we wanted tapas. I started to ask for a menu, wanting to know what it was we were getting. Jenny just said “Sí” or, more likely, “Yes.” A few minutes later, something tasty involving ham and bread arrived at the table. I was starting to like Spain.
Another great thing about this bar was this decorating idea. If I had a house, I would be tempted to use this decorating tip. As I think about it, though, I think I might wait until I also have a spouse and do it when she’s not home.
On the way home we stopped at the grocery store half a block down the street from her apartment for some provisions before returning home. It turned out that I was to stay in the living room, and that people were soon coming over to hang out. The lack of sleep was starting to catch up with me. I crashed in the living room while a fairly raucous party transpired in one of the girl’s rooms. At midnight, the appropriate time to begin an evening out in Madrid, the party left. I still didn’t sleep very well, though. Perhaps part of it was that the couch that I was sleeping on was somewhat shorter than I was. It was interesting to again live like college kid.