Yes, I have arrived. Greetings from Madrid.
My trip itself was, gratefully, uneventful. Interesting seat mate that made the first part of the journey less than comfortable, but that is flying in the modern world for most of us.
The biggest problem I have at the moment is where to have dinner and, oh yes, the fact that I haven’t slept for about 30 hours straight.
I don’t sleep on planes under the best of conditions. And my tried and true method for combatting jet lag is, well, don’t go to sleep until your normal bed time. Make yourself walk and be in the sunlight; eat meals when it is meal time in your new time zone. Oh yes, and never ever forget your No Jet Lag pills when travelling. I swear by them and have used them for four years now. No jet lag, ever, when I use them as directed.
Of course, sometimes the trudging around in the sun can get a little old. Those are the moments that even this non-coffee drinker turns to espresso. I had my first of the trip today at cafe at Museo del Prado, where I spent the entire afternoon surrounded by the creative work of Velazquez, Goya, Rafael, Titian, Rubens, Tintoretto and more. And I had my first meal in Madrid at a wonderful fresh juice and salad bar.
And just for those who like to keep up with my travel tips, well, I’m staying at the Hotel Regina. Just up the street from the center of trendy and touristy Madrid (Puerto del Sol), it is a newly renovated, medium class hotel with a restaurant and rooms that are far away from what I am told will be the busy noisy street later today. The air conditioning is a little weak, but well, this is Europe and to be expected. But the real prize of this room is — I have a patio that is all mine…no view to speak of, but a patio with furniture nonetheless. I’ll let you know what i really think about the hotel after I sample the breakfast in the morning.
But while I recount my many eating and lodging exploits, let not any of us lose sight of the fact that this trip is about music and well, about my journey in general. And even if I wanted to focus on my tapas choices for tonight, I can’t escape. Here is just one small example.
I ended my walk at Puerto del Sol, using what little energy I had left to see the main shopping streets of El Centro. I stopped in the music department and went down to the classical section (why does it seem that classical music is always in the basement these days?)–and, on the video screens in that section of the store there was the most amazing thing — some sort of amazing flamenco show with this woman singing at the top of her lungs (and sounding frighteningly like me). I was totally mesmerized, it was unlike anything that I had ever seen or heard. And in this store there was row after row of flamenco recordings and DVD’s the like of which I had never seen.
I haven’t mentioned this before, but as I worked on the music to prepare for this trip, I found the music a little unnerving — it stimulates an odd part of my soul. I will admit I’m a little afraid of it — but I just can’t look away.
I remember when I first started to work on German art songs. Truth is, when I started that journey, I didn’t speak German and I didn’t know anything about German music as a genre. Well, 10 years and a lot of recitals and language classes later, I’m not a half bad singer of German art songs. I have the feeling that this is the beginning of another such journey.
So, here we go again folks. I’m excited to see new things and have the chance to learn something new. And now, I think I run over to the Museo de Jamon for a little dinner.