Sydney to Madrid …. again

Dubai, Wednesday 28 March 2018
Local time in Dubai: about 05:00. Lots of orange lights on highways and causeways. Still a short distance to go after about 14 hours flying time. Overnight, so it’s not too tough, especially flying in an A380.

Wheels down. We must be near the airport.

And then we landed. First there’s the wait for those of a higher class to move out. Then those of us waiting behind the closed curtain can escape.

Almost always good having a break in Dubai, especially at mealtime.

Dubai to Madrid
Less than 8 hours flying time to Madrid from here and, today, a very high staff to customer ratio. One actually asked to be asked to do things! Shock and awe!

You are right. I’m off to spain again. This time for a mix of Spanish language school and walking.

Flying into Madrid
Lots of snow north of Madrid and so much more than my rather poor photo shows. More than I’ve ever seen here previously.

There goes the plans for weekend walking on the camino Madrid. An early leg involves walking through those currently snow covered mountains to Segovia. Hmmm. Not so keen now.

I’m in a new hotel for a night as I stuffed up the starting date for my Airbnb apartment booking. Adding an extra night wasn’t an option by the time I realised. So, I’m staying nearby, virtually opposite the Prado. Hotel sounds good but the lift wasn’t working just now so I had 6 floors to walk down.

And my first spanish words today were to say the lift’s not working.

The 4 or so months since I was last here have been great. Except, our much loved Jim dog left this world. But, Charlie arrived. He’s small, old, and determined. Generally sweet and quite sure I’m his best chance for a new life. He’s now going to realise I’m just one of his newly devoted attendants.

And then there were frequent outings in the new kayaks. Plus Spanish lessons, drawing lessons, dogtraining, walking training (me, not the dog whose legs are short and his 11 years too many for more than 4 or 5km). Barely enough time to scratch amidst so many self improvement activities.

Flying out might sound like a rest after an idyllic, busy, summer. Not quite.

Spanish language school
My weeks in a different Spanish school will be intense and I’m a bit nervous. Need to improve my conversation skills. Each day here I’m confronted with the gaps between my english and spanish skills: listening, speaking and reading. Every time I think I’m catching on I find a basic issue that’s beyond me.

One of my first tasks is to join a gym as I’ll be here nearly a month and walking in Madrid doesn’t cut it for me. Not enough high hills. With those outside the city currently snow covered, a gym it is. So now I have to do the joining, make sure I pay for just the one month and don’t end up with a trainer or anything else. In Spanish.

After Madrid and school
Present post school plans are to rewalk the Camino Mozarabe from Almeria. Nothing written in stone so we’ll see. If not now then, later this year. Whatever, I’m also hoping to catch up with Victoria, my companion during the final stages of my last walk in Spain.

Planned first on visiting my favourite breakfast place, a km or so north of here. As it’s a Maundy Thursday lots of things may be shut. Fingers crossed this one isn’t.

You guessed! It opens today at 10:30 instead of the usual 08:30. My other option was shut so down the list to anything open! Yes, ok but its olive oil is from a sachet and the tomatoes were so so. Coffee, fine.

My underlying  preoccupation today is JP, in hospital for a day procedure earlier than we’d hoped. Friends will pick her up but I’d rather it was me. They are good at sending updates so that’s something.

Moving to the apartment: with Airbnb you never really know what you’ll get, if the photos are 10 years old and miss serious problems or the neighbours are mad and very noisy.


Dammit. They’ve changed the app again. And so far doesn’t seem easier or better. So please forgive issues…. For example it’s appended a draft from 2015 I didn’t publish. So, if I’ve not yet fixed them, just ignore oddities.

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