Due to the convivial nature of friendly poker players, as well as the fact that a hundred people with one common obvious interest are often crammed into a room for hours at a time, it is always inevitable that I meet someone interesting and fun to chill with. One of them was Jen Shahade, a poker player, announcer, author, and apparent sicko at chess. We were able to meet up with others around Madrid a few times which really makes these sorts of poker trips a delight for me.
Thanks to some uncanny connections which involved meeting a fellow SNG grinder who also played the tourney, I was able to meet an additional couple people who actually live in Madrid! They both made time for me out of their busy schedules to show me the ins and outs of "Old Madrid." There are enough neat alleyways, plaza squares, colorful buildings, and quaint shops/restaurants to make most people just want to walk around and explore even before heading towards the popular tourist attractions. I certainly enjoyed these facets of the city more than the standard repertoire of art museums/cathedrals/etc that European cities are known for. Here are some pictures to whet your appetites:
|Typical residential street|
The one and only true negative of my time was the lack of sleep. Before the trip I was taking it easy and getting my 9-10 hours a night. Even during my SNE run in February, I still got 9+ hours per night (but I probably needed all of them!) Suddenly in Madrid, I was averaging half that since I'd get back late each night to the hotel super amped-up from continually getting deeper and deeper every day. After the tournament and meeting my two friends came the ensuing 2+ hour lunches and dinners with drinks along with nightly hanging out at countless bars/lounges around the area. With all that, who would rather sleep! I even rebooked my flight back a 3rd and final time, just to extend the fun in Madrid and delay the inevitable return back and annoying preparations for my move to Australia. I just didn't want to say bye.
|Fire Art @ San Isidro Parade|
Thank you Madrid and friends for a truly wonderful time there. If I only spoke Spanish, perhaps I'd be contemplating a move there instead of going the absolute opposite direction - Sydney, the topic of my next post.