Bangs and bomberos en Dos de Mayo

  My nose twitched briefly then the faint acrid smell of burning made me throw myself out of bed. Something was on fire. I ran to the kitchen and scanned the cooker, the toaster, the coffee machine. Noting nothing untoward I opened the kitchen window. The toxic stench hit me as I saw thick black smoke snaking out of some grates on the edge of the plaza just below our apartment block. In seconds the smoke was thick and belching. I shouted out to Matt, “There’s a fire in the Metro!” I had no idea if the Metro even went under the plaza but I knew there was a fire and it was underground. A few people in the square started to look concerned. The stall holders who had just started setting up for market day abandoned their pitches as the smoke enveloped them. Then there was a loud explosion. Followed by another, and another and more and more. Hoping that someone with better Spanish than me had called the emergency services I started to panic! “Bombs! We need to evacuate!” I shouted dramatically. I was not going to hang around on the fifth floor of a building with bombs going off in the Metro right underneath! Matt was more interested in seeing what was going on so proceeded to casually smoke a fag in his underpants on the balcony ignoring my pleas to stop inhaling the fumes which were sure to kill us if the building collapsing under us didn’t kill us first! I was torn between wanting to watch the drama unfold and the need for self preservation. I ran around manically throwing on some clothes – I didn’t want to be evacuated in my pjs. I grabbed my purse, phone, passport, the essential three Ps, and put them by the front door. I would try to calm down but I decided there was no harm in being prepared. Then I joined Matt in his vantage point to take some photos!

At last we heard sirens, first the police and then five minutes later the bomberos. (I love the Spanish word for firemen!) The police and the firemen stood around, discussing the situation. Red and white ‘do not cross’ tape was put up and passers by gathered at the tape to discuss the situation. Everyone was very relaxed, very Spanish! More bomberos arrived and greeted each other with hugs, police took pictures on their phones. The smoke still belched. Then three brave firemen put on breathing equipment lifted one of the grates then disappeared down into the ground. 

Needing refreshment to go with the action I went to make a coffee. That was when we noticed the electricity was out. OK, probably not a Metro fire then, an electrical transformer or something must have short circuited, caught fire and caused a series of explosions. My fear reduced significantly knowing it wasn’t a bomb but the smoke was still scarily toxic smelling. We agreed to shut the windows. 

An hour later all is calm. The electric people are down there trying to resume normal service, though I suspect it may take some time.  The stall holders have finished setting up the market, the dogs are back barking and kids back screeching. A few bomberos remain, standing around chatting. But as there is still no power the bars in the square will be cursing at the lost business, we can’t get that coffee we’ve been wanting for an hour, the aircon isn’t working, Matt can’t have his bath and I can’t get wifi or charge my phone. How lucky are we that these are our only modern day problems!

11pm – Addendum. After 12 hours of activity the leccy is back on. We have cool air once again, hurrah! We have wifi so I can check my phone and its links to my social media (amazingly I survived without it)! And I can at last post this, the latest of my random ramblings 🙂 

From the 5th floor

It’s noisy at night but it’s great living right on Plaza del Dos de Mayo. I’m still hankering after a bit more outside space, but even though we keep an eye on Idealista (rental website) we’ve not seen anywhere that compares to our fab flat on the fifth floor of an old apartment block which overlooks the square. My favourite spot is sitting by one of the open French windows with my legs in the sun reading or writing and watching the world go by.

This is me, right now, writing this post……


And this is what 24 hours (ish) in the life of Plaza del Dos de Mayo looked like this weekend from my fave spot……
9.30am on Saturday….quiet, peaceful, pretty much empty of life. Hardly anyone is up yet save for a few dog walkers and a couple of kids in the playground.

 1pm….a weekend market sets up. A quick visit and I’m down €4 but have some fabulous hippy trousers and a fluorescent pink top. Cheap chic as always!

 7.30pm and the protesters are out! The plaza is a well known hot spot for political demos and gatherings. The market will go on until about 10pm.

 1am….and the square is full to bursting. It’s summer; Madrileños are a sociable bunch; it’s summer and still very hot; 1am is still early in Madrid! These are all good reasons to not be at home. Every cafe table is taken and the botellón culture is alive and well in Plaza del Dos de Mayo (groups of people partying/drinking in the streets – illegal supposedly!) easily catered for by the guys selling €1 beers from old lady shopping trolleys. The police are keeping their distance tonight so it’s N-O-I-S-Y!

 Midday on Sunday….It’s International Yoga Day and despite the heat the body beautiful are out.

So, all in all, not a bad place to live really. Now where is that suncream??