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Archive for the ‘Spain’ Category

Life is super just now, quickly turning on the trials at work last week. Lots and lots of good news, V-fans:

1. London is a hub – of visitors and friends

Lots of text book quality time this weekend, trying new things and catching up with favourite people – a good goss on the phone with Damien and Dad’n’Rose, a trip to a new market (Exmouth Market, in EC1) with Beck on Saturday morning, my regular Marylebone High Street Markets with Elizabeth and Louise, Andrea’s rock-star sister on Sunday morning and then (the real pièce de résistance) Alex to stay last night, and a girls night in dinner party with Kate and Beck too. Hooray! And Mum arrives tomorrow for a week, and the visitor calendar is continuing to fill! Lucky me, and lucky London to have so many awesome guests and residents.

2. Magical weather – novelty and a good attitude can turn shitty to schweet

I got up rather early this morning (5am – aka hideously early!) to take Alex to the tube (she flew to Paris – sigh), and we walked through some sleet. But instead of being what one would expect with such an ugly word, I like to call all not-rain-not-quite-snow a snow flurry, as it was more like rain flirting with being snow in the darkness. Yes we were cold, but it really was magic and a little bewitching.

Bizarrely, it turned all gorgeous today around lunchtime when I was coming back from site to my office (I stopped and ate my lunch in a little park in the sunshine, in just shirt and mac!) – and the only downside to this was that I was worried I will miss out on some more snow! To think I’d be lamenting sunshine already! But now that I’m safely at my desk, we’re back to good looking sleet stuff (that just might clear up if I go out tonight. Yay!) Looks like any snow is off though, for the time being, so should see more from the London Eye.

3. Sporting results roughly reflect my wishes

Despite the heart-break of the 6 Nations for Ireland (good quality time with John, my only housemate not on holidays over the weekend), they had success over Pakistan, and other underdogs, including giant-killers Bangladesh, also doing well. England not doing well in cricket or rugby leads to less teasing for me, plus my Australian cricket team are really getting it together at the right time, with the Victorian in fine form, even if the selectors will probably still leave him out. Bless – including a win for my Toffees over Arsenal, the football team my neighbour at work supports, sport is almost perfect just now. Ahh.

4. Madrid – and perhaps a sneaky sidetrip to Segovia??

Am off to Madrid next weekend for lots of jamon, sangria, real Zara, tapas, art, walking, sunshine, churros, some Spanish conversation practice and general adventure with Mum. If I can get to my favourite structure in the world, Segovia’s stunning aqueduct, then my life really will be perfect. My week is already flying by.

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The good people at Lonely Planet (hello Amy!) have been running a “132: Seize the Days” campaign for a few weeks here to inspire UK workers to travel, where 132=52 weekends + 8 public holidays + 20 days leave. So with my current contract of 25 days leave, as well as some time in-lieu if I work a Saturday, I’ve got at least that many days off until my current visa runs out. With my 6 days to date (an alarming 5% already !) I’ve been to Camden and several other markets, a day trip to Greenwich and my share of nesting/battling British bureaucracy.

A few things are motivating me to get with it:

  1. Nat, Aidan & I were out having tapas in Clerkenwell last night – all the sangria made me think Spain and I are overdue for a reunion (possibly eating jamón serrano in Zara…) – so am planning a trip there with them and some others soon,
  2. the number of emails you all keep sending me asking where I’ve been so far, (all fair and reasonable, but a little anxiety-inducing)
  3. this cool map from Visited Countries, a cool site that lets you select from a list all the places you’ve been and then generate your own for download. As of today, 23 February 200, I have covered:

Countries I’ve visited

[Clearly, living close to Asia has been a thing – my neglect of the Americas (despite years of studying Spanish) is woeful – I’ve only been to San Fran for a few days and Philly to change planes (and give up biometric data to the US Government), so it seems unfair to colour such a large area. Especially when I’ve been to lots of Australia (every state and territory) and a few places (NZ and Singapore) so many times. Also, a weekend in HK makes the colouring in of China a bit rich.]

  1. plans that Emma and I have to have a night out for her birthday in April (perhaps in Antwerp – see this article that was in the London Lite last week) for an all-night party in another country, and
  2. the fact that I will never live this close to Europe again, so it is time to stop nesting and get amongst it.

Off to do some research – but thinking of travel opportunities like this (even if LP are using the 132 days concept to sell guides) is a good way to look at my year. I think I will stay here longer than a year (on a different visa) but this could easily become a reason not to do anything now.

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