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The view from my hotel room, originally uploaded by Adam Tinworth.

Airports are depressingly similar wherever you are in Europe. Sure, the iconography of the signs is different, and the language varies, but it’s not until you get outside that you really start to feel the cultural differences.

In Madrid today, the differences started the minute I tried to catch a taxi. There was a queue, as you’d expect. Except, well, it wasn’t actually a queue: it was a starting grid from which desperate travellers would hurl themselves forwards trying to grab a cab. There was no order or reason to it. You just threw yourself at a cab, accompanies by good-natured horn blowing from the cabbies, and hoped that one would take pity on you.

Of course, being British, I watched this in horror for about 10 minutes before realising that I had to join in if I wanted to get to my hotel. Initially, my chosen cabbie rejected me, but after it became clear that he wasn’t getting a better offer, he begrudging let me into the hallowed portals of his cab.

I don’t want to talk about the journey. The sight of a fat man in leather, riding a motorbike at 150 kilometres per hour, while fondling his exposed privates is not something I ever want to think about again.

The hotel, though, is fab. Stylish with good-sized rooms and WiFi throughout. Perfect, really. Oh, and the view. The view is stunning. But you already knew that, didn’t you? It’s at the top of this post.

Technorati Tags: madrid, spain, travel