I got up late, feeling lazy and bored, but then remembered that yesterday I went through a small piece of hell to obtain the popular Madrid metro card. This meant that today is the start of something new; the world (or at least Madrid) is now my oyster!
Let me rewind. For days… even weeks, my friends have been urging me to get the Abono, which is the metro card here in Madrid. But the time never seemed right or maybe I was just subconsciously avoiding it.
In any other country, you would simply go to the service counter at a train station and buy the necessary ticket or card. However, Spanish people love to make things a little more tricky. So here is what I did:
As soon as my alarm went off early in the morning, I got dressed and left my apartment. My friend warned me not to be late, as the queue would be endless, and so I walked with purpose.
I walked until I hit the most random and sketchiest corner shop with a massive mustard yellow sign which read tobacco. This was my destination. I waited in front of the closed shop, and to my surprise a lot more people, mirroring my nervous expression stayed put as time went on.
We waited about an hour until the shop opened. At this point the queue ran all the way down the street. One by one we were allowed to enter the small tobacco place. One by one we came out with the much prized Abono, grinning at the others still waiting their turn.
How do all these people know to turn up at this hour at this place? I had only heard about it through word-of-mouth, as my online searches failed me. I was pleased that other pedestrians seemed as much confused as I was.
But luckily I am in with the cool kids now.
So I decided to take my baby out for a spin, and hopped onto a bus to Toledo, a small and very old town just outside of Madrid (yes, my Abono absolutely took me there for free!)
Toledo, known as the Imperial City, is good for a day-time trip (I only spent a couple of hours there). I was astonished at the amounts of tourists, but appreciated the cobble stones and architecture. The town occasionally reminded me of a smaller and more Spanish version of Edinburgh.
Just like in Edinburgh, I thought that any minute a knight in shining armour would come around the corner. Only this knight would be called Juan or Paco, and would be fighting a bull or something.