After six months of contemplating this whole blogging idea I finally decided to take the plunge. So, here's a bit more about me and my life as a Brit Abroad (not the lobster-red, mini-skirt wearing sangria by the pool kind though I'm afraid).
As a repressed writer trapped in an editing job who spends her holidays on freelance travel writing trips, I would love to one day earn my living from visiting new places. Until that day comes (let's remain optimistic now), I thought I'd put fingertips to keyboard and share my experiences of (mostly European) travel and life as an expat in Madrid to those who I flatter myself (perhaps mistakenly) are interested enough to read.
In August 2009 I bid farewell to the beautiful city of Oxford to move to Madrid, for reasons which, as I recently observed, 'seemed good at the time'. I didn't feel I was quite well enough acquainted with the person making the enquiry to reveal that one of those reasons was my firm (and incomprehensible to many) belief that I'm going to marry Real Madrid's no.4 Sergio Ramos. More serious reasons for the move included my decade-long love of Spain, which has so far involved two memorable extended stays in and around Seville. The first of these was a nine-month stint as a language assistant in a secondary school in the town of Alcalá de Guadaira, which my mother described as being 'like Salford'. In truth it is nothing like the northern city crime prevention forgot, but it isn't exactly... cosmopolitan. Still, I grew to love it and it convinced me that one day I wanted to return to Spain more permanently. Three months living in the city of Seville – on famous party street Calle Betis no less – only confirmed my suspicions (in addition to driving me to earplugs to drown out the nocturnal noise of the sevillano youth). Rather than returning to the southern city, famed for its sunny streets, laid-back lifestyle and incomprehensible accents, I decided to move to the capital, Madrid.
And here I am. When not working, I spend my time exploring both the city and the rest of the country, eating out (all in the name of research, naturally), learning Arabic and planning yet more trips. So far, I've managed to get to Zaragoza, a casa rural in southern Aragón, Valencia, Bilbao, Segovia, Toledo, Alcalá de Henares and El Escorial. Planned trips for the rest of the year include a second visit to Valencia, the Rhone Valley in France, Malaysia and Singapore. And should my bank balance allow it, knowing me I have no doubt that I will manage to fit in a few other destinations too.