One day before my departure to Spain, I was hit by a lightning.

Why not write a diary about this trip and use it for my photography coursework?

One of the topics I can choose in the exam is 'documenting events' and

Spanish Easter is surely an event, is it or is it not? It is!

I'll document it, with my pencil and a camera during the trip and type it out after the trip and

copy and paste! here it is.

I will enjoy my trip fully and do the coursework at the same time.

Shooting two birds with one stone, bingo!

So I must now excuse myself, that this 'diary' will awfully going to look like my photography coursework (because it is)

So here it begins.

Link to my preliminary research

Arrived in Madrid at 5pm

Took the metro from the airport to Opera station.

Spanish metros are surprisingly efficient and cheap (just a euro in zone 1).

I was planning to drop my bag at the youth hostel first, but since I was running an hour late, I decided not to bother with it.

From Opera, walked to Palacio Real, the royal palace.

The square was already closed for the day and it looked pretty empty.

I wish I had time to go inside the palace, as it looked very impressive in the guide book, but unfortunately I don't have time during this trip.

Any how, there was a cathedral opposite of the palace, called Catedral de la Almudena.

I took a peek inside.

Surprisingly, the cathedral was packed with people, tomorrow being the Good Friday, they were doing a service with TV camera and everything.

I got out of the cathedral and decided to just walk around along Calle Mayor, the old part of the city.

The streets were full of people, all lined up and waiting for something.

I figured myself that some kind of procession (well, got to be an Easter procession) was about to begin.

I kept walking towards the East, taking photos along my way.

Yeah, I had to take lots of photos for my photography exam.

Anyway, as I kept walking up, I found myself standing in a big square, called Plaza Mayor.

There were a lot of restaurants in each side of the square and people were chilling out under the sun.

In the middle of the square there was a statue of Felipe III.

Here, I bought a squid-ring sandwich, the first food I bougt in Spain, a commemorative event.

The taste was alright, could have been better though.

One of my goals for this trip is to photograph the lives of Spanish people as explained in my preliminary research.

I was already at this point finding it difficult to do this.

One of the reasons was that people become conscious when they are being photographed.

This often makes the photograph somewhat unnatural, although depends on the situation.

I've read that Helen Levitt often used zoom lenses in order not to be realised by the subjects.

This enabled her to take great photographs of children, who are the most 'photograph conscious' people in the world (from my point of view at least).

I do not particularly like the photograph directly below, not because of composition (yes, it is awful),

but because my main subject (the street performer) was concious of my presence when I took the photograph.

Plaza Mayor was quite an impressive place.

As the day got darker, people started to line up along the streets.

I found myself a place and decided to wait for an upcoming event.

Having waited for nealry an hour (yeah, I'm telling you, my legs were sore), then

the 'famous' Spanish Easter procession began (famous, yeah, like I knew!)

First, it started with people wearing masks, holding candles, walking very slowly.

I'm not sure what those masks are called, but they looked quite scary in a sense.

Then, more people came carrying big statues of Virgin Mary.

There were also bands playing some music (think it was a hymn) and people were moving in rhythm.

The procession lasted for about an hour and half.

The streets were packed with people, at one point, I couldn't even move an inch.

In the left hand corner of the below four-set photograph, I panned the photograph, yes, it is my favorite technique.

I checked in at the youth hostel at around ten.

The hostel I stayed was only five minutes away from Puerta del Sol, which is pretty much the centre of Madrid.

View from the hostel's balcony.

The owner of the hostel was nice apart from the fact that he couldn't speak English at all.

So I had to use a lot of gestures to make myself understood.

As it was still a bit early (from the Spanish standard), I went out to have a look around the hostel.

I discovered the very interesting aspect of the Spanish culture, that Spanish people are weird...

They eat like mad in the middle of the night.

I was very surprised, because it was nearly 11pm and almost all the restaurants were still open, packed with people, eating.

And they were eating no healthly salad, but hey, they were stuffing big chunks of meat, ham and beer and all the high calorie foods you can imagine,

They're mad, I'm telling you.

I went into one of the pubs next to the hostel (the hostel was located in between two cafes) and ordered a beer,

just to try out how the Spanish beer taste like.

They tasted like normal beer.

But one interesting difference from UK, was that when I ordered a beer it came with a free side dish, which is called 'tapas'.

It was interesting because we do the same in Japan (i.e. serve free side dish with beer), we call it 'otsumami'.

The beer was great and tapas (a sausage and a potatoe) was nice and I was assimilating to the Spanish culture already (yeah right).

Anyhow, I went back to the hostel at near 12pm then there were two people in my room: Jennifer and Lucas.

Jennifer was from Canada, but currently teaching in an elementary school in the most forgotten place of Scotland.

She said this was her first trip to Europe and have been travelling like a week, having visited Barcelona and Valencia already.

Lucas was from Brazil, but currently studying engineering in Porto in Portugal.

Both of them were so funny.

I remember Jennifer saying that the main industries of Canada are 'call centres' and polar bears (I didn't really understood what she meant by the latter).

Lucas was criticizing the Japanese scientists who come to the Brazilian jungle and discover medicines,

to which I explained, 'it is all for human cause'.

I still remember these random stuffs.

Anyway, I went into the kitchen and met few more people.

Nick was from Texas but with a Danish accent, as he studies in Copenhagen.

And Cathia, from France was complaining about her broken camera, which for some reason she thought I can fix it.

I thought it could be a lonely trip, but it was a good idea to have chosen a youth hostel, there're so many people travelling alone like myself.

And that was how my first day in Spain went.

1 year ago