A Travellerspoint blog

Madrid

Spain

overcast 10 °C

Intrigued to see the landscape rush by through the train window – overwhelmingly dry. Lots of wind farms.

Also intrigued that the train was much more modern and comfortable than anything we have in the UK (and of course cheaper). Rafael tells me that Spain overtook the UK in terms of modernity in the 70s or 80s as it emerged from the Franco era (with a little help from its good old friends in the EU).

Had a very Spanish experience of Madrid so far courtesy of Mr Lloret: gorgeous tapas, red wine, arabic baths w/ massage and lots of conversation. Also a whistle-stop tour of the city by night courtesy of one of Rafael’s friends - authentic death-defying manoeuvres a l’espana included free of charge. Tour recommended; driving seriously not.

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I can hear Madrid bustling away down below through the open balcony door as I type - can’t wait to hear the Spaniards make some noise around midnight!* (from the safety of my balcony) And my hereto ‘friend’ progressed in status to ‘man of my dreams’ - que bueno! Here’s to 4 more months. :-) (and eventually seeing him again when I get back)

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  • ’some’ is of course an ironic understatement. For some reason a few thousand people gathered in the square outside my window last night. I’m choosing to believe it was a practice run. The only other things I can think of are that they’d all got the date wrong (I know Spaniards are crazy but that would be akin to mass hallucination) or that they’d all come to welcome me to the city ‘Spanish style’ (this is of course what I actually believe, but don’t want to reveal the extent of my ego).

Posted by Stevie_A 10:47 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Alicante

sunny 15 °C

After a fantastic Xmas at home with the parents the very first step on the journey presented some challenges. 3, to be precise: train strikes, heavy snow and a broken plane. Grrreat. 11 frustrating hours later I arrived in Alicante to meet my friend Rafael.

I highly recommend waking up to a perfect blue sky and 15 degrees after Xmas in Cumbria. Cumbria has been below freezing, even at midday, for some 4 weeks (and down to -15 at night).

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Had a 2 day tour of the countryside around Alicante, including the biggest hand-crafted nativity I’ve ever seen* – courtesy of the local ‘caja’ – a bank for personal savings where profits are invested in community projects. And Vince told us that separating high street and ‘casino’ banking wasn’t viable..

Southern Spain looks almost exactly like a copy of South America, particularly Havanna. Although I have a feeling the ‘copying’ might have happened the other way round.

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  • ok so it would probably only have to be about a foot long to be the biggest nativity I’ve ever seen, but this was BIG. Like 50 metres wide. Including Herrod´s palace, Gabriel and his crew, Jerusalem...

Posted by Stevie_A 10:43 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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