Just another Monday…or is it…?

Just another Monday…or is it…?

It’s a Monday here in Madrid. No big deal, right? Well, it may be just an ordinary weekday for some, but not for me! As a teacher, I’m privileged to have the day off (woot woot!). Easter Monday. That means a number of things. I got to visit my favorite and only embassy (Canadian) this morning, go to my city hall and get some info regarding parking in my neighborhood, and well that’s it. In terms of getting errands done that is. Do you know how useful it is to have a day off during the week? An unfortunate thing as a teacher is that I’ve got to wait for days like these to run essential errands. I need to go to the bank? Well too bad, I gotta wait till the next “reading day” when teachers get the day off. Need my passport renewed? Guess what? Gotta wait for that weekday and get myself over there before the office closes midday. Same goes for banks. I find it unbelievable that they close as early as 2:30pm. Hey I’m no Einstein but I am positively sure that they can afford to stay open till at least 6. We mere civil servants don’t got the time to leave our work in the middle of the day and go to a bank. Anyway, it’s not my favorite thing to do if you know what I mean. Unless I’m cashing in.

Besides running errands I’m reminded by the beating sun on my head this very minute that I can spend the rest of my day off enjoying my day off at coffee shops. Sitting outside on the terrace of one coffee shop makes me remember all the good things life has to offer.

As I’ve stressed in previous posts sunny days all round has made everything worth moving to Spain. ūüôā

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3 Canadians in Valencia

3 Canadians in Valencia

Where would 2 Haligonians and a Quebecois go for a 3 day vacation? My cousins and I decided to meet up in Valencia to have a good time at the beach and see the city. Two of us live in Spain- Barcelona and Madrid. The other came down from Halifax, NS, to cover some soccer games in Madrid (he’s a sports journalist). Read my post for a larger than life experience.

A tip: DO rent bicycles if you like cycling. We got to see the entire boardwalk from coast to coast, the marina full of boats and even some country/farm life outside the touristy parts of the city. There are bike trails and the scenery is amazing, plus it felt exhilarating to let go of my hair and cycle away without a worry in the world. We rented our bicycles from a kiosk at the beach, which is the only bike agency there. 9 Euros/ day or 7 Euros/ 4 hours. We chose the day. We hauled our bikes up the tiny elevator in our Airbnb to leave overnight. Soooo worth the bike rental.

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Our Airbnb was cheap and point on value because of its central location. We would have paid at least 20 Euros more had we gone to a cheap hotel in a similar type of location.

For food we ate at Casa Monta√Īa. Typical Spanish food – good – and the service our waiter gave us was much better than any other Spanish restaurant we’ve been to and he spoke good English. It’s the type of place where you pay a little bit more than average in exchange for slightly small portions of food, but it was good quality food and since it was rated high with many reviewers on Yelp we let it go. The potatoes were quite fresh and from a “good” farm. The bar is located in a nook a few minutes walk from the beach.

The other place we liked is called Restaurante Alma. It’s located on calle Franca 58. We Yelped “paella” and we found that restaurant. It’s known as L’azud on Yelp. We telephoned them and ordered 3 paellas for takeout. When we arrived we had to wait 15 minutes longer than expected, but when they brought us our food, to our surprise they added real knives and forks because they didn’t have plastic ones. Our host also gave us free cans of Coke. The hospitality was out of this world. I’ve never experienced such detailed attention to costumers in Spain, ever. We took our paellas to the train, and after our knives were confiscated from us at the police control, we scarfed down the grub. It was delicious.

There’s an ice cream shop called Grasol on Calle de Mediterr√°neo next to the beach. I haven’t had ice cream this good as far as I can remember! The two flavors I asked for were Banana split and chocolate.

We didn’t forget to go to the City of Arts and Sciences on the last day. It’s worth going there if only to see the exterior part of the buildings.

On the way back there was a train strike which meant the cafeteria was closed and the tv nor music was working. So, I happened to have extra water and an extra can of coke with me. When one of my seat mates found out about the strike she almost dropped her jaw to the floor and didn’t know what she’d do with her life without water. I offered her my extra water bottle and she took it gratefully. I also gave my extra coke to what looked to be a university student and he opened it and took a sip in an instant. Glad I could be of some service during this untimely train strike!

All in all, us 3 Canadians enjoyed our stay in Valencia. Everyone needs a little vacation at some point!

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani

A Canadian’s experience at a Madrid Derby football match, VIP style

A Canadian’s experience at a Madrid Derby football match, VIP style

I always wondered what the point of going to a football match was if you can’t see the players’ faces or even just be able to read their jersey number to make out who they are. It pretty much doesn’t matter where you sit because all you’re going to see is heads with what may be their bodies attached, running after a ball, which looks like a speck in the field. I don’t even know what my eyes are following most of the time when watching a match because it’s all so far. I’ve been to several football matches thus far and this is the experience I get in exchange for big bucks, rather, big Euros, since I live in Spain.

However, yesterday¬†something out of the ordinary happened. My husband and I got to sit not two meters from the main level of the football field and enjoyed seeing larger than life players and actually keep track of the ball. I could clearly see their expressions whenever they came to¬†wards us.¬†Even the press was as clear as the sun sitting right there on the border of the field snapping their cameras away. If I wanted to I could have jumped and made it into the field in one swoop (and then also made it to prison just as quickly). We also had the perk of having food and drinks in the VIP lounge, which, if you’ve ever been on a tour of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium you’d recognize it, because it’s one of the rooms¬†where some of Real Madrid’s trophies are kept.

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We were ever so fortunate to be offered two VIP tickets¬†to see the big Derby match, which doesn’t happen often. A “Derby football match” is referred to two teams that happen to both be from Madrid which play against each other. They’re called Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid. Why these tickets¬†happened to reach our hands is beyond me. Anyway, the real story¬†it¬†that my cousin, Kiyan Sobhani, who is a Canadian sports journalist from Halifax, asked me if we wanted these tix¬†because one of his friends¬†offered them to him because he wouldn’t be able to make use of them. As I’m married to a Real Madrid fan and I pretend to call myself a fan just to be a participant in the fun craze of football, we immediately accepted them. The master behind the tickets is¬†Anton Hakberg. Thank you, Anton, for being such a nice person, for letting us appreciate your star seat tickets for you.

The featured image is courtesy of Shamim Sobhani. I took the photo myself from our seats. We were so close to them I could smell their b.o.

Signing off-

Shamim Sobhani