In one week, as of July 25, 2013, I will have spent an entire year on my leisurely exploration of Planet Earth, as experienced in the Southern Hemisphere. Now, I have crossed the equator and arrived in exotic Spain, leaving the South African winter behind with a bang. Not that winter was so bad in the balmy climate of Cape Town where I had a delightful three-month stay in the suburb of Parklands, taking care of little Pip, a Teacup Yorkie, while his owner was on vacation.
Housesitting is such a great way to experience a location, while surrounded by loving hearts of friends, neighbors and sweet animals, and I hope to find another post somewhere in southern Europe. I’m currently in Madrid, overcoming jet lag and learning my way around, but am only a train ride away from the right possibility. After all, I was in Australia when I learned of little Pip, awaiting me in Africa.
In the meantime, I’ll enjoy being a tourist again, sampling hostels in new cities. Musas Residence Hostel is on a quiet street near a tree-shaded square, very local and comfortable. Yesterday, I needed to find a bank and the post office and found myself roaming around a very imposing downtown Madrid, only ten blocks away. Each place of business is an Edifice of grand proportions. Very few people speak English, so I can’t complain of being still in my comfort zone, language-wise, as I did in the Southern Hemisphere.
My travel between Cape Town and Madrid included a three-day layover in Istanbul, Turkey, a city I had loved in 2005. It hasn’t changed a bit. But that meant two different night flights and my brain is still catching up with my body. Soon, however, I’ll figure out my short-term future and will know what lies ahead until October when I finally conclude this second around-the-world with a flight to my family in Denver, Colorado. I am already looking forward to the happy conclusion of this momentous trip.