Day 33: OSSD 

During the very last days of traveling you subconsciously become aware that your wonderful vacation is drawing to a close. This sad reality causes you to spend a lot more time awake than asleep. You want to savor every single second you have left, so you give up on trying to get a full night sleep and wake up early even when you stay up late. I like to call this strange desperate behavior, Obsessive Sight-Seeing Disorder (OSSD for short). A disease very common to travelers short on time. And as a matter of fact these last days in Spain aren’t the first days on this trip that we’ve experienced this disorder. The cities where we’ve only visited for 36 hours caused similar symptoms of OSSD to appear.

OSSD has a good side and a bad side. The good side is that you are so much more aware of how precious each moment is. “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got til it’s gone?” When you have OSSD you’re willing to give all you have left to make sure that you truly are making the most of your experience. Money, energy, and luxury are all pushed aside so that you can soak it all in.

Like I said in a previous post, going out to restaurants and pubs at midnight in Spain is simply tradition. It happens everyday for locals. For the past couple of nights Ari and I have been going out to dance and have a good time with hostel friends. Our OSSD has kicked in and we don’t want to miss anything. It’s certainly has made it difficult to get much sleep. But being up at all hours of the nights makes it possibly to give yourself your own midnight and 3am glucose checks. Besides, in the end we know that we can catch up on sleep on the plane ride home.

The down side to OSSD is that you are not very concerned about rest. This may be a good time to mention that many sleep disorders are linked to OSSD. The other problem is that you want to see everything in such a short amount of time. There are so many beautiful sights to see in large cities like Madrid, but each one has so much detail and history. Fully appreciating all the detail takes time. Just as the old adage says “you can’t rush art”. But that was precisely what we did on our last full day in Europe.

We woke up at 830 after going to bed around 330. We started the day off with a walking tour and then walked around on our own. All in all our day included Plaza Mayor, Madrid Cathedral, Madrid Palace, Puerto del Sol, Retiro Park, the Prada Museum, and a Flamenco show at El Carbonero. We came to the Prada museum at 6pm. There was massive waiting line that stretched down the street and around the corner. Although we were short on time my OSSD made me determined to see the museum. After a half hour of waiting in line we had to rush through the exhibits of painters like Ruben and Francesco de Goya as if we were shopping for clothes and not looking at momentous art. We have had many times where we rushed through a beautiful scene on this trip because we had those short 36 hour visits. Next time we go to Europe, we will try to visit less cities, giving more time to each one. It takes time to appreciate beauty, don’t let OSSD stop you from taking your time while you’re abroad.

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