Monday, September 22, 2008

Home, via Madrid

Well From the jungle camp it was quite a long trip back via Madrid, I was basically 3 days travelling till I got to Madrid. The trip back up the river in the boat was fairly uneventful, likewise the jeep back to Lago Agrio, though I got stuck in a terrible downpour just as I changed over to the car, very glad it wasn't 10 minutes before. There was also quite an aggressive passport and document check (again, it's all due to the proximity of Columbia). When I got to Lago Agrio I had to get my bus ticket back for that evening. Cue a very long and frustrating attempt to communicate with the driver where I wanted to go and what my plans were. I don't know why I couldn't communicate with him at all, as I could communicate with the woman at the bus station (where I got my ticket) and the man in the city bus office (where I left my bag and would catch the bus from) fine, though they had no English either. Anyway,  had quite a bit of time to kill as I wanted to get the overnight bus (you don't want to arrive in Marsical Sucre neighbourhood at 4am). I Internetted and had my tea and so on. The bus left at 1130pm and again we all had to get off for a document check. The story I told about guys playing music videos all night actually happened on this trip, not the way out, so I slept quite poorly, we got to Quito around 630.

In Quito I had a long lazy breakfast and just internetted and tried to shop (not much success, I wasn't that impressed by what the craft markets had on offer, I mainly bought pirate dvds!) until I headed to the airport around 5pm. The flight was via Guayaquil (Ecuador's largest city) and I had quite a long wait there before we could get back on the plane. I actually slept reasonable well on the plane, possibly because I was so tired, but also they didn't actually show any movies on this flight.

I got to Madrid and got the subway to the hostel I'd booked. This turned out to be pretty nice, with a lovely old courtyard and a good bar. By the time I had a much needed shower and ate it was getting pretty late, so I headed down to the bar to see what was happening. There I met Matthias (ze german) and Murray from Australia who knew how to make things happen. He managed to corrupt 2 Canadian girls who'd planned on not drinking into joining us in some card games. From the hostel a pub crawl was run, and being Madrid it departed at 1am. We headed off on this but at this point things do start getting hazy. I'm not quite sure how I navigated back to the hostel, but I did find the right dorm, wrong bed though, at least it wasn't occupied. 

When I surfaced the next day I went for a looong walk all around the city to see lots of plazas and churches. This wasn't so wise as my legs were already fairly screwed up, and dancing and long walks never help. Anyway, Madrid was nice, but it didn't get that certain something that other cities have. I finished the walk at the Prada art museum which has everything up to 1850 including lots of Bosch, Goya, Velasquez, el Greco and othere masters I forget right now. It was good, but vast, and as always with that period you get sick of all the same religious images after a few hours! That night I bumped into Matthias in the bar again and headed out on the pub crawl again (we got for free this time) where I met the same two English guys who I ended up exchanging Partridge quotes with, for some reason. I had a lot of fun, and even remembered most of it this time! Next day I had to head to the airport at 2 so I went to the Reina Sofia art museum for a few hours. This is everything since 1850 and includes lots of Picasso and Miro, Guernica being the centrepiece. Again this was an excellent collection!

Well I'd got this far and done a lot of long journeys, but it was still annoying when my flight was delayed by 3 hours. This meant I didn't get home in time for the Scotland game! It was 930 pm when I got to Edinburgh and my dad was there to pick me up and whisk me of to the house, 350 days after I set off.

At the Grand Place (my camera was dying by this point).


Anonymous said...

shit, dude... can't believe it's all over...


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