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
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
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
I was planning to drop my bag at the youth hostel first, but since I
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
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
This often makes the photograph somewhat unnatural, although depends on
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
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
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
the 'famous' Spanish Easter procession began (famous, yeah, like I
First, it started with people wearing masks, holding candles, walking
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
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
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
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
a week, having visited Barcelona and Valencia already.
Lucas was from Brazil, but currently studying engineering in Porto in
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
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
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
And that was how my first day in Spain went.
1 year ago