Miscalculated my arrival at the Florence airport. Rather than 3 hours before departure, I was there 3.5 hours before. So, a lot of time to practise patience 😌. Hmm, even 1.5 hours would push my capacities. Phew, thank you to the god of priority checkin as I got through about 2.5 hours before departure. Better than expected.
Oddly, the airline lounge is before security. Very odd. And it was only just a lounge with barely enough space for all. Well, so I thought until I found the crowds hoping for a seat at the gates. Very busy out there and it’s already a little after peak season.
Quick train trip from the airport to the city centre. Each train I caught was absolutely packed. Sardines in and smaller squashed ones out afterwards. I was eyeing off a new iPhone 7 poking out of the pocket of one newest and very close acquaintances. Very identifiable. I’ll go to Apple in Madrid but after a quick look in Florence I’m sure I’d prefer the matte black. 😋. Yes, matte black. Apple in Madrid had a line in the building for the new iPhone 7s. Popular!
Groups of guys, possibly subsahara African refugees, still clog the main pedestrian areas in Madrid illegally selling ‘leather’ bags and other such items from sheets laid in the streets. I saw 4 looking very tentatively around them as they laid out their goods on a central pedestrian area today in Madrid. Two minutes later a police motorbike arrived, siren and flashing blue light both on. The guys hastily packed up and moved on. You can see groups of such men with much the same goods in Florence, Rome and other Spanish cities but that was the first time I’ve seen them moved on. Later found an item about it in today’s paper. Obviously local retailers have initiated police action.
Well, autumn is starting today, 21 September, at 16:21. I kid you not. The paper, El País, told me, p44. Makes more sense relating it to the solstice or equinox than our starting seasons on the 1st day of a month.
Planning for Malaga
Booking for Malaga was very difficult. Four different Airbnb places and none available for the 3 nights I wanted. So, I got two nights in a booking.com apartment with wifi and a washing machine.
Big job in Madrid is to brutally reduce my luggage for the walk. I chose my current hotel as it’s central and I can leave a bag there until late October when I fly home. Everything that’s not essential – out. Will be wearing my trail shoes as they were so comfortable when JP and I walked the last few hundred km of the Via de la Plata. Accidentally bought a ‘pair’ of two right socks so they will probably be out as they are heavy. Even my sleeping sheet will be out for once. Umbrella too. Brutal excisions. My electronics will all remain safely with me, except my bose headset. That’s out too. So is my solar powered sunhat in favour of my lovely new panama. Remember it?
I’m a little worried about accommodation in Almogia after my first walking day, Saturday, with Malaga apparently so full. I’ll taxi out if the small Spanish town also has no acommodation. Will put more €€ on my phone in case. (One phone call in Florence + 5′ searching = €13!!! Cross country roaming is expensive.)
Farewell to Allan
I am sad today. A much beloved uncle of mine, Allan, died 24 hours or so ago in Australia. I was the flower girl at his wedding 60 years ago this week. Thanks very much JP for contacting my aunt as I couldn’t get a message to her from here. I will be philosophical about it in a few days as my aunt apparently already is. Today, no.