Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Final Day in Madrid

You know the pickpocketing situation is bad when the city government erects signs alerting tourists to keep their purses metaphorically super-glued to their sides. Though I certainly took this advice to heart, I felt that more eyes were drawn to me because of the way I was clutching my purse while walking down Madrid's less tourist-inhabited areas. After paying La Plaza Mayor a visit and dining nearby (which is never a good idea- when you elect to eat too close to tourist attractions, the food is less tasty and authentic and more expensive), my parents took the metro back to the hotel and I once again chose to put the ol' legs to use. I sincerely feel that strolling through lesser-known parts of cities frequented by tourists is the best way to see the good, the bad and the ugly. And I certainly did.

The "good" included the smiles donned by elderly couples strolling arm in arm down a side street, the families laughing and dining at restaurants and the friendly greeting I received from a coffee shop employee who enthusiastically introduced himself and asked where I was from. The "bad" and the "ugly" can be lumped into the same category- the massive number of "for sale" and "for rent" signs adorning apartments, abandoned buildings smeared with graffiti and the scent of garbage wafting out of uncleaned gutters. But this is the case for any city, and it is no surprise that Madrid is experiencing more issues attributed to their economic woes.

Today is our last in Madrid. Tomorrow, we are off to Toledo where upon arrival, memories tucked within the deep crevasses of my mind will come careening back to my cerebral main stage. It has been two years since I spent a semester becoming intimately acquainted with the narrow, cobblestone streets of Toledo. I wonder if anything has changed...

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