Spain: Madrid by 3.1

We decided to get away for a weekend at the end of last month. Had tickets booked to see Muse at the new Wanda Metropolitano stadium (home of Atlético Madrid), but it was a good opportunity to pace up and down the city too to see all the sights from when Patch used to live here for a little while.

Stayed in a lovely hotel in the heart of Madrid on the Gran Via.

The hotel was ideally situated near a metro station and within walking distance of some of the popular areas like Sol (where you can find a paving slab that shows it as being in the centre of Spain, similar to how all distances in London are worked from a point just outside Charing Cross Station):

Lots of cool old stuff, buildings and quirky shops:

As mentioned earlier, our first evening saw us visiting Wanda Metropolitano to see Muse live (it was a bit Blade Runner-esque):

We roamed into the night (probably because this is the Spanish way, it seems), got a massive paella a some point after midnight, and then finished it off with a walk with churros, only to stagger back to the hotel well after 2am.

For two mornings on the trot, Patch got up early to go out and bring me back churros and coffee so I could have breakfast in bed (which kind of helped after the late nights):

We also visited a railway station with a beautiful concourse that felt like the Palm House in Kew Gardens. Behold, Estación de Madrid Atocha:

As is normally the case in whatever country I happen to be in, I happened to visit a lovely little railway museum just before commuting back to the airpot and flying home:

Gracias, Madrid. Hopefully see you again soon!

Centralised by 3.1

This week, I embarked on my journey on the Central line with mixed feelings. Unlike others who have been unceremoniously despatched to certain locations on a line that is almost as hot as the Earth’s core, my reason for ending up on the line came out of the want to add another to my train driving licence (as if I don’t have enough work-related stuff crammed into my brain).

Yet more safety-related diagrams were added to the various bits of train wiring already embedded into my brain, only this time I had to take into account that line is a hodgepodge of automatic and manual technology, along with one of the most unreliable rolling stocks that London’s subterranean railway has to offer. The 1992 tube stock is dire, (but the train simulator at Hainault Depot even more so) and as I contemplated yet another one of my career choices whilst in a room that barely let in any daylight (with half the room painted black for some bizarre reason), I wondered if I really knew what it was I actually wanted to do and if I was actually going to get there (in the context of work).

Trains, driving them, teaching people how to drive them, the geography and idiosyncrasies of a route one must operate a train on, and all the procedures and technical elements with regards to signalling and rolling stock… these are all my “thing”. I like how to know things work and equally I like to know how they may come apart and how I can fix them (or at least provide a remedy that allows one to move a train to a place where it can be fixed), though I have never really aspired to be an engineer.

I know for a fact that I like to manage my own time to some degree and my current role allows that flexibility, but at the same time, I know that I don’t want to be a manager of people, partly because I can’t stand the incompetence of other people (or the insolence of people older than me that quite frankly shouldn’t be employed, but like to use their ‘seniority’ bragging rights), which probably explains how I came to work in a department called ‘Audit & Compliance’.

Anyhow, I’m back in the depot on the Central line again next week for more of the same, though hopefully I’ll be on an actual train for a bit of defect handling and general stock training. Will be good to get my hands dirty again.