The main activity of last week was flat hunting. However it turned out to be the worst possible time of year to have to do so, with the entire student population already on the same trail.
This being my fourth time, I have found that the only two ways to find good rented accomodation in Madrid is by word of mouth or through a well known daily classifieds publication. Using this newspaper I managed to average five viewings per day, but before long it became a very frustrating exercise, as the places I chose to visit were often in no way fit for human occupancy, or were only being advertised as a back up plan for friends failing to move in.
I was looking for a room in an apartment with Spanish people and a salon where you could easily relax. By Madrid standards prices have jumped enormously since I first arrived here, and I was not making life any easier for myself by restricting my search to a few very central areas.
At this stage I have lived with every type of person that this city could possibly offer up. This has made me good at recognising who are and who are not my preferred flat mates. As a result, I was often turning down some great places because I was unsure of the people living there. However as the search progressed without results, I began to question my own criteria and eventually opted for a room with a balcony in the heart of my old Malasana district.
I was more than confident of my decision until minutes before I payed the deposit when wiser friends persuaded me to look some more. As they saw it, I would have been living with french people who would have been of absolutely no benefit to my language learning, aswell as the fact that the price was extortionist (350 euro per month).
But good things come to those who wait and that night, on the third day of my search, a friend rang with news of a room (300 euro) just down the street from my last apartment. On viewing the flat, I grabbed it without a moments hesitation. I think that I have really struck gold this time !