Madrid to Almería

End of school for now

I probably shouldn’t have used ‘tu’ with the guy where I breakfast but, ‘ustede’. Met a delightful Aussie/Italian, in my discussion class last week. She is at UQ, 3rd year, doing French and Spanish. We discussed when you use ‘tu’, second person, informal. She said that France is pretty formal still and she’d have had to speak to me formally until I gave her permission to use more casual ‘tu’. Just my age, no other reason. Not quite as formal in Madrid in settings I experience but, something to remember.

Hopefully the selfie Kathy took of the discussion group will arrive in my inbox soon. In the meantime, mass, and the crowd keeps getting longer.

Friday night

Washing was dry and I’d purchased enough food to set up a foodbank for a small city! Yes, I know they have food down south in Andalucía too. I just can’t help myself so yes, I have chorizo, cheese, hard boiled eggs, nuts and an apple to take with me. See what I mean? Partly it’s to put off having to eat out most meals and, well, a bad habit.

Me, take a roll and a hard boiled egg from breakfast for later, in some large, international hotels? Seems unlikely…. Anyhow, having the food was a blessing on the train.

Early Saturday

No lights!

No lights inside the building at 7, when I left. Without an iphone the internal stairs would be nasty ++.

Street life

My ‘neighbours’ have upgraded with some nice pot plants in front. Poor buggers. I wonder how often they are hassled and moved on. And, if it’s the same person/people most of the time.

At least it’s not as cold overnight in Madrid now, no longer 3 layers worth. Also, no more gym at 07:00 so my shoulders will be happy I’ve stopped lifting and pushing or pulling things almost daily. Still nothing to see for it although I thought I saw a teres minor last week. 🤓

Train

Within the Atocha station is a mini lagoon with lots and lots of tortoises. Sadly, they are being moved. Hopefully somewhere nice as I’ve always enjoyed seeing them. No, they don’t move a lot but it’s a bright little oasis, just near the loos.And I hope the oasis is staying. Fish maybe?

And, all too soon, the train arrived and I was heading backwards towards Almeria. No choice of seats when I booked but I ended up in the ‘plus’ class. Lucky. Wondered if we’d get fed and watered as it’s 6 hours. Sigh. We weren’t fed but you could buy ‘stuff’.

Swapped seats as lots were empty for the 6 hours, the most uncomfortable seats I’ve experienced. Still, definitely better travelling forwards to Almería and being on a train rather than a bus.

An endless trip all the same. Long flat sections initially, then hills. Many olive trees and gradually high, snow capped, mountains appeared. Snow is down much lower than I saw when in Granada on earlier trips. Guadix, the city with many caves, is near as evidenced by the badlands.

And finally the desolate, bare, stoney and hilly region that is Almería.

Getting out was so nice, into the warmth again. Oh how I’ve missed it.

Almería museum

Three or 4 stories of exhibits covering from the Phonecians, to the Romans and finally the Arabs. What was amazing was how few things there are to see in all those floors! Bet it won an architect award though, for good reason.

So, not my favourite museum in Spain, far from. About the most interesting thing I learnt was that the Romans called this place ‘Bari’ and the sea level was much higher then. I’m guessing the name became something closer to Almeria with the addition in front of ‘Al’ by the Arabs. You guessed it, I’m unlikely to visit that museum again, despite it being good for stair climbing.

Lots of little dogs around town, many on higher floors in behind metal grills. The best was a little pale terrier. Hidden in behind him with his pointy teeth was a cat, just like the eyes of the Cheshire cat. Yup, dog doing all the fierce, tough work and the cat just looking on. Sound familiar?

Castle

The best part of Almería for me remains the amazing ancient Arab fort.

I didn’t walk through it this time, instead, viewed it from an adjacent hill near the statue of..

And on the ground, as usual in Spain, many small, colourful, flowers.

Just near the Cathedral was possibly a practise procession but, with a difference. Don’t know what will eventually be on the cart but the headdresses the boys are wearing are different, more like an Arab one than you’d expect in a usual catholic spain. They were so slow getting going I left.

My room was still not serviced nearly 6 hours later so it was clearly the right time to blog – washing clothes can happen later. I’m still deciding: have coffee in nearby caf before I leave tomorrow or just along the way. Another 1st world issue. Same with when I might leave, at what hour.

And again I’ve decided I’m not walking out through the industrial estate alone and in the dark so, I’ll get a taxi through it. Had I stayed in an albergue I might know how many other walkers are around. Saw one guy with a pack, possibly not leaving today. Who knows what the future will bring? For any of us…..

And

I’ve committed to a booking for tomorrow night in the next town with accomodation, Santa Fe de Mondújar. And thank heavens again for the time I’ve spent learning Spanish. I understood her and she me.

Hooray…..

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