What is a 'guiri', and why Madrid?

The Real Academia Española, the authority on anything to do with the Spanish language, simply defines a 'guiri' as a 'foreign tourist'. Normally though, Spanish people tend to apply it to those who look really touristy, that is to say the blonde-haired northerners wandering around with a camera around their neck, an inappropriate sunhat, sandals, pasty white skin, not speaking the language very well and generally sticking out like a sore thumb. Like me, basically, although I don't go in for sandals, and I carry a sketchbook instead of a camera.

I've lived in London for around 14 years, so I was ready for a change, and my Spanish girlfriend was ready to go home. A city boy at heart, I wanted a similar feel of busyness, excitement, history and grandeur. Madrid has all this in bucketloads, of course. But I really became hooked after my first few visits; the variety of things to do, the more relaxed lifestyle, the better weather, cheaper cost of living, all the usual things. But it's the people in Madrid that made it an easy choice.

It's been a gradual easing in to Spanish life for me, as I spend less time in London and more in Madrid. On this blog, I'll be sharing some of my experiences in the form of cartoons or drawings from my sketchbook, and any interesting bits of information I discover along the way.