Mystery person

Mystery person

At Madrid airport the other day I was waiting at a shop for them to heat up my lunch (which turned out to be disgusting but more on that later) and I thought I saw someone famous. Who is this dude with the curly locks? Should I know who he is? He looks familiar.

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A close-up.

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Madrid airport was dreadful. Just after going through security I was greeted by this:

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I found a shop which claimed to sell vegan food so I wandered in feeling hopeful. It was called Esenza.

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I bought a vegan pasty which looked unappetising – dry and tasteless – but I decided to give it a try. It was just as disgusting as it looked and I threw most of it away.

Most days for lunch I eat porridge with fruit and nuts. Today I added soy yoghurt, chia seeds, and fruit (pear and kiwi fruit).

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Chia seeds are a strange food. I’ve never bought them before but I saw them at Newton Dee today and decided to give them a try. They come as small black or white, hard seeds which you soak in water for 10 minutes. After soaking they change to a jelly-like consistency and look rather like frog spawn.

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They don’t taste of anything but they do add a nice crunch and texture to yoghurt and porridge.

A plate of artichokes

A plate of artichokes

The food situation over the past few days has been diabolical. On Sunday the choice was omelette or meat balls, on Monday night it was steak or fish, and lunch today was steak or pork loin. They look at me with horror when I say I would like something without meat. It seems to take a while to process and they don’t really understand veganism. It’s quite simple really. I eat plants. All plants.

There are 20,000 species of edible plants in the world and when I told the restaurant today that I can eat any plants they brought me this:

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It’s a plate of artichokes. Nothing else; just artichokes. Don’t get me wrong, I like artichokes but a whole plate of them is not particularly appealing.

At the restaurant last night they brought out several plates for everyone to share and every single one had meat on it. First there was ham, followed by prosciutto, then balls with some kind of meat in them, and then octopus. Why is it so hard to produce a plate without animals on it?

There are vegetarian restaurants here and we’ve been to two of them and they were great. But it would be nice if there was something I could eat at regular restaurants also.

Today we went on a winery tour which was lovely. We visited three wineries. Here are some photos.

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This is the royal family summer house.

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This next winery was quite interesting. They ferment white wine in huge century-old clay pots. I’ve never seen that before and apparently this is one of only a few wineries to do this.

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Temple of Debod

Temple of Debod

The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple in one of the parks in Madrid. It was moved from Egypt to Madrid in 1968 to save it from the threat of construction of a dam. It was built in 200 BC. We went and took some photos there at sunset last night. It doesn’t look busy in my photo but it was packed with people. There are people everywhere in Madrid on a Friday night. You can barely walk. I don’t know how they stand it.

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Madrid bike tour

Madrid bike tour

We went on a fantastic bike tour today of Casa de Campo Park which is the largest park in Madrid and absolutely enormous. We barely touched the surface of it. Bravo Bikes provided bikes and a very knowledgeable and friendly guide. I can’t fault them at all and it’s one of the best meetup activities I’ve had. Here are some pics.

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Donncha took this next photo.

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Some photos of our working space.

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I’m having a very nice time here despite my reservations about coming to Madrid. It’s not as hot as I feared and I’ve been managing to find vegan food. I work with a lovely bunch of people and we have a fabulous mix of nationalities. We are Australian, Irish, Italian, Greek, American, Canadian, and French. The accommodation and work space is also very comfortable and I’ve had none of the dramas of my last work trip to Spain, thank goodness.