InterNations co-founder Malte Zeeck paid a visit to our Madrid Community last week-end – here are some of his impressions from his trip:
The InterNations Madrid Event takes place on a Saturday night, a time that is usually reserved for dinner with friends or family in Spain. That is why the two German InterNations Ambassadors in Madrid, Catharina Schoel and Simone Maier, are slightly worried about how many of the 270 members who signed up for tonight’s event may actually show up and – at what time. The invitation says 9pm, which is way too early for people to go out in the Spanish capital.
Despite their concerns, I am very impressed by the commitment of the two young Ambassadors, who welcome me at the MOE Club, a rock-and-roll venue in the north of the city. Simone is suffering from a cold, and Catharina is visibly pregnant with her first baby. In spite of that, they both welcome every single one of the InterNations members, who start flocking into the venue just after 9pm, with a friendly smile and many with a cordial exchange of besos – light kisses on the cheek. Catharina and Simone seem to know virtually everyone. If there’s a new arrival, they are quickly updated on the monthly events of the Madrid Community.
For the InterNations March Event, the Ambassador Team has come up with something special. They have asked their friend and InterNations member Christina and her band Alta Tension to perform for the guests. When the venue is packed at 10pm, the band begins to play rock, funk and soul covers as well as golden oldies, from “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction!” by the Rolling Stones to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”. Our members seem to enjoy this special treat, swinging and dancing to the beat for almost two hours without any break. After that, it’s time for the usual socializing, when everybody has the chance to mingle with other members from 41 different countries. It’s rather late (or quite early) when the Ambassador Team takes off in a cab to head home. A well-deserved good night’s sleep is waiting for them – and by the time the next event comes around, we may all have the opportunity to welcome an “InterNations baby”.
I’ve decided to spend the rest of the weekend in Madrid, too, but the weather is unfortunately cool and rainy. However, this does not keep me from visiting my favorite Tapas bar in town, “La casa del abuelo” in the Salamca neighbourhood, to taste some pimientos de pardon (green peppers), chistorra (spicy sausages), esparragos (asparagus), patatas bravas (potatoes in a spicy sauce) and gambas al ajillo (shrimps in garlic). If you should ever come to Madrid, don’t forget to stop by and give their delicacies a try!
Due to my tight schedule, I haven’t got enough time to visit the great museums of Madrid, like the Prado, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza or the Galeria Reina Sofia; nor does the city’s green lung, the vast Parque Retiro, look very inviting in the heavy rain. However, Madrid is one of my favourite European cities, which I visit fairly often, and I’m bound to return there shortly – better luck next time!
(Pictures by Malte Zeeck and Wikimedia Commons.)