Saludos desde Madrid

IMG_20160515_160808 IMG_20160312_153105Madrid is the perfect capital: big but not huge, cosmopolitan, dynamic, warm. (Well warm is debatable when I leave for the hospital early in the morning!). It has an interesting history, and it always fascinates me to think how old the squares and streets that I visit are, some are almost the same as when Napoleon’s soldiers arrived in the early 19th Century. !). It is full of bars, perfect for sitting and chatting and soaking in the sun.
Another great thing about Madrid, it that the access to the country side is very easy. The mountains surrounding Madrid are stunning. Many hikes start from small villages, like Manzanares el Real or El Escorial that can boast beautifully preserved castles. Over the years, the Manzanares River has been mocked by many famous writers. It does not have the imposing majesty of the Seine in Paris or the use of the Thames in London, but in summer, when the temperatures soar, it is very nice to catch the bus north out of town and spend the day on the banks on the river when it is still narrow and fast-moving in the mountains, and even go in for a swim.
At the same time, I am really interested by the health care work in the two wards I have been to. There is a definite difference in culture: one of the first mornings there, I was quietly going around the room taking blood pressure and heart rates and such, when I heard a lot of very loud voices. My curiosity had the best of me and I went to investigate. There was a nursing aid, armed with a basin of warm water, soap and towels, having a great, animated discussion with the patient about whether the best soccer team is Real Madrid or el Atletico?! Everybody was laughing: the other student nurse and the second patient could not help but point out the score form the last match. It is true that when there is an important match and the TV signal fails, we know the score just by listening to the shouts from bars across the street.
The last thing that I have to say is : I am a total convert to the Spanish way of life: work to play.

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