Sunday, January 28, 2018

#598 : ¡Muy bien! - Spain Diaries - An Introduction

It's been a little over two months since I landed in Madrid. My time here has been nothing short of fun. Exploring a new place and adapting to a new culture is certainly fun and is also slightly daunting. I plan to chronicle my time here in Spain via a series about the food, the people, the culture and various places I visited.

An introduction is in need before I go on - I'm here in Madrid for a short term project based assignment for my employer. I'm put up in a hotel minutes away from my work place. I typically work 5 days a week with the 5th day being shorter than the rest. I get to explore Spain during the weekends and other public holidays.

Chennai is quite well connected to Spain, particularly Madrid with a lot of flights by various carriers like Emirates, Ethihad, British Airways to name a few. I took an Emirates which had a 2 hour stop over at Dubai. The Dubai to Madrid leg of the journey was operated by Emirates and Qantas jointly. Madrid is 4.5 hours behind Chennai. Thankfully I traveled on a weekend making it easy to manage the jet lag. I had 2 other colleagues travelling with me in the same flight. We landed in the Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport at 7.50 PM (UTC +1:00). Given it was November, the winter had just begun. Thankfully we came quite prepared to ensure we didn't freeze before we could board the cab to the hotel. Paid EUR 40 for a 24 Km ride from the airport to our hotel.

  • DXB to MAD - Its an 8 hour flight. Prepare to be tired and dehydrated.

  • Madrid is  quite a dry place - My skin went from dry to super dry in just about an hour. It is wise to come armed with a moisturizer and a lip balm. Preferably a strong one. However, it is best to use the ones locally available ones as those are made for this kind of a climate. More about this later!

  • The people are quite friendly, but they don't speak English well. After all Spanish is the third most spoken language. Be ready with a snap shot or a perfect address of the location you want to reach once you land.

  • November and December - Cold, January is Colder and the wind makes it even more difficult. You can really notice the days getting longer! - If you are here for work like me, Inner thermals aren't really needed. You need a decent sweat shirt and a good jacket. I purchased my sweatshirt here in Madrid from Decathlon. Chennai isn't the best place to go winter shopping. A good pair of gloves and something to cover your head is also a must.

  • Shoes - Best solution to wade through the cold. Also, I'd recommend using a good foot spray to ensure your foot stays moist.

  • EUR is the currency. I carried some cash and the rest as a Forex card given I am here for a long time. Most of the cabs accept cards, but it is best to carry some cash in case of emergency. Also, it would be wise to carry coins since most of hotels have a coffee vending machine.

Stay tuned! More about the food and people soon!

PS. This post is strictly for people like me who haven't been abroad before for work.

PPS. This post will be updated as I add more posts to the Series. 

1. ¡Muy bien! - Spain Diaries - An Introduction

2. ¡Buenos días! - Spain Diaries - The People

3. Paella - Spain Diaries - The Spanish Food

4. Madrid - Spain Diaries



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