Salamanca to Madrid

I left one of the most comfortable and convenient Airbnb apartments I’ve ever had at 08:30 this morning. Without having set multiple alarms I’d still be in bed in Salamanca. Two or three hours of coughing after going to bed ruined my usual inbuilt clock. 
Consequently, the first, very imperious alarm at 07:45 was a shock! A while later, a second alarm, left me with no choice. Up, pack and GO! 

All packed, me showered, and out on time. A farewell to my apartment, inside and out.


I must include a neighbour from a few days ago. He lives in, or near, my (?) apartment. Looked like a real red dog, miniatured, but so cute.


And past nearby buildings including the Cathedral and the Casa de Conchas. Many work vehicles are around still as its early. Few people otherwise. 


A slow walk to the nearby rubbish bin to dump the remains from ‘my’ apartment.  I like the subtle way even the bins tone in here. Most elsewhere in Spain you choose green or yellow, or blue, depending on the type of rubbish you have.

Few signs of life in the Rua Antigua, looking back towards the Cathedral. An hour or so later the centre of this old street would be full of tables and soon after, people eating.


Few in the Plaza Mayor at this early hour despite the visibly huge influx into town for the fiesta next week. The stage is nearly ready. 

Flight trails are just still visible in the early light. Remember it’s daylight saving time plus, Spain is in an earlier time zone than you’d expect, to keep up with Germany. Franco set the zone decades ago and it’s a regular topic of conversation. 

Then to the station. 

A few huge ducks on the way. Great range of colours.


The station seemed empty at this stage, as the shops are not open so early in the morning. I know, I know, it’s only called ‘early’ because I’m in Spain. Where else in the world is 9ish ‘early’?

Last day at school was ok. I only did Francisco’s class, told the next teacher, Julia, I didn’t feel well and was going. She insisted I took my certificate (of attendance). If I return M will still be there as she is enrolled until late October. I honestly don’t know what to do. School was good. The ambience there is great. I’m certainly motivated as I’m starting to read newspapers more easily. At last. 

Moving on

Train has started and I’m going backwards. You select, or are allocated, a seat. And for the sanity and ease of the ticket collector you must stay in it. They are always old guys, reliant on you being where you’ve been put. It’s an excellent ticketing system though. They can be electronic in an Apple wallet, or on paper. 

The world backwards? Better forwards! 

Surprisingly, a short distance from Salamanca there was no internet reception! Maybe due to my provider, orange, but I doubt it.

Train from Salamanca to Chamartin, in Madrid. Swap to metro and head to Barajas, a station near the airport. 

Airport

Oh dear! Those poor Brits! The two who initially looked a little uncertain but then got off in a determined manner at the Barajas station made a fatal mistake. He was watching me and yes, I look like a traveller again. Pack on and a little one over my shoulder. They got off in the right suburb, Barajas, but that is the station between the 2 airport stations: one for terminals 1,2 and 3 and the other for terminal 4. I thought of asking them if they wanted the airport as they got off but others with bags got off here too so I didn’t. They realised their error as we got out of the station and i heard them asking someone behind me.

Why on earth am I way out of central Madrid you ask? Yes, I’m not flying out until tomorrow but I though it a good excuse to see a bit more of Madrid. So I booked a hotel between the 2 airport stations.

And it is very different. My huge suite of rooms costs heaps less and seems nice. 

The streets are full of places to eat and drink and it’s not busy like the central, touristed, areas. This is very obvious from the views out my first floor room. And, I hasten to add, the hotel is much better than the views might suggest.



Lunch

Hmmm, just the day to eat out. Hotel restaurant looked OK, although empty but, it was only just after 2pm. Worth the risk before I suffer from avitaminosis having lived on coffee, fresh figs, wonderful peaches, bread and cheese as I couldn’t manage eating out or cooking in Salamanca. Well, only out to Zazu’s once and to Mandala’s twice in two weeks barely counts. 

Equal best mixed salad I’ve had in Spain this trip. Yes, tuna is obligatory! 


The garlic prawns were good and the cheesecake, different. 


Except for me and a table of 6, celebrating a family birthday, the place remained empty.

Freddy and Izzy, again

Lunch was very enjoyable. As I was sitting alone I read an article in today’s paper about the Spanish King, Freddy. I should say, Fernando el Catolicó. I’ve always wondered why his wife, Isabella la Catolica, got so much good press and he so little. It seemed to me she must have been the smart one and he merely the beneficiary of being a bloke in the sixteenth century. 

Today’s article on him in El País was excellent and provided a totally different perspective. I should have realised! Many places I’ve visited in Spain make so much of Isabella with statues and memorials and, yes, you guessed it, they are in her home territory, Castile! Given the passionate regionalism that continues to affect priorities in Spain it shouldn’t be surprising. She was from over to the west of Madrid, Castile, and he from the east with family further east again. Hence he was less visible and viewed less favourably in Castile!  That’s what the article argued and that version seems credible.

Now, if my reading of this article (in Spanish 😚 of course) was totally wrong, the story could be different yet again! Makes thinking about history even more interesting and reinforces my earlier ideas and those in an autobiography of Inga Clendinnen. She wrote it over a period when she was about to meet her maker as she had liver failure and a subsequent transplant. 

She is an internationally significant historian of the Aztecs and of early colonisation in Australia. I find her views fascinating. Think in another life I might study the philosophy of history. Not now. Now I need to learn Spanish. 

Next

Heading off overseas tomorrow, late morning. Not a trip I’m looking forwards to much at present. 😒 I set up something I may regret. 

More later…… Today I need to be present here and to stop coughing….. 

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