The panic is setting in.

Now that my escape from Madrid is nearly certain, I’m starting to think about everything I still haven’t done yet. It’s amazing the things you manage not to do when you live in a place. For example, in California you can see Alcatraz from the house I grew up in. I was 22 before I visited. (And it was crap, btw, a crumbling ugly building that would probably have been bulldozed had Al Capone not wasted away there with syphilis, yawn.)

So I’ve decided this would be a good place to start compiling a list of things to do before, oh mid-February-ish. They’re not going to be in any order of importance or priority, just in the order in which they occur to me. So here goes:

1. See an opera at The Opera – the Teatro Real.

I tried to take care of this one over the summer. I downloaded the libretto for Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and started piecing it together with my rudimentary Italian (which I can sort of read between my Spanish and rusty French), and got all excited to go see it at the Teatro Real! Waited too long to try to get tickets and the only ones left were over 200 euros. D’oh!

So now I’ve got to do a little more planning. Before I leave, there’s a Rossini (L’italiana in Algeri), a Handel (Agrippina), a Janacek (Janufa), a Wagner (The Flying Dutchman), and a Giordano (Andrea Chenier). I know next to nothing about opera, but I have been told Wagner is not for beginners (which of course makes me want to see that one, just cuz).  Any suggestions on what a neophyte might enjoy would be heartily appreciated!

2. Go to the Top of That Stupid Tower – the one in Moncloa that’s hideously ugly but everyone says there’s a great view at the top of.

3. Eat in Every Restaurant on Cava Baja That I Haven’t Eaten in Yet

So I live at the end of this crazy street crammed full of great bars/restaurants/cafes called Calle Cava Baja. Unfortunately I moved into this awesome barrio just as I became too poor to really enjoy that part of the neighborhood. I dreamed of being able to have the money to spend at one of the places every day, so it would become my local, and the people there would know me, and it would be like Cheers, only “Salud.” ‘Twas not to be. But at least before I leave I want to sample the restaurants I haven’t tried yet, which is almost all of them.