Our last major stop in Spain is Madrid
Thursday, March 15
We spent about 5 days in Madrid last year. We had spent time here before, but hadn’t really enjoyed the city. This year we will be here for 8 days and are really looking forward to our visit.
In Córdoba it rained hard Wednesday night and early on Thursday. Everything was wet Thursday morning, but the rain had stopped. We had another great breakfast at Patio del Posadero. We like the couple, Lisa and José, who own the hotel. We think that they are a large part of the reason that the other people who stay there seem nice and friendly. Some sort of self-selection, I suppose.
We stayed in the newest room at the hotel, and found it to be very comfortable. José has a real sense of design.
The distance from Córdoba to Madrid is just about 400 kilometers. The trip takes just under 2 hours, so the average speed is 200 kph or just about 125 miles an hour. I worked that out because we were going much faster most of the time. There are no stops on this trip, but we had to slow down a few times because of what looked like weather damage near the railroad right-of-way. And of course we had to slow down a lot when we got to Madrid’s outskirts. All the way from Córdoba to 30 minutes outside of Madrid we saw many flooded areas. Roads, fields, and at least one farmyard/house were all flooded. Each stream we saw was full or running out of its banks and the irrigation canals didn’t seem to be working well.
We haven’t come north to Madrid on the train before and found the countryside to be interesting. In many places it varies from hilly to low mountains. The weather was such that there were areas of mist/fog to increase the beauty. The wind blew the entire way and by the time we got Madrid, all the clouds seemed to have disappeared. It was, however, colder than in Córdoba. This leg of the trip was one of the nicest we have had, and we have been on plenty of nice train trips.
From the Madrid train station to our apartment is a 6-7 minute trip by taxi. Because we stayed in the same apartment last year, we felt quite comfortable in the neighborhood. Calle Leon has lots of shops that we recognize and there are many “locals” on the streets and in the shops.
The apartment is even better than we remember. It suits us well. In less than two hours we had unpacked, settled in, and even done a batch of laundry. I even finished up my previous post. It helped that the internet is so speedy here. Then we went out to buy some groceries and supplies. At a wine shop I was asked where we were from. [It’s pretty obvious we are not from here.] When I said “Somos de Estados Unidos, Nueve Mexico, Santa Fe,” there was a short consultation in the store and they asked, in English, “Where the whales are?” So I described where New Mexico is and we agreed no ocean, no whales.
Then we went to a shop to buy cheese (you go to different shops for each type of food) and when we were asked again where we are from I answered the same way, but this time the man surprised us by saying Santa Fe is the capitol of New Mexico. Albuquerque is close. He said he knew all the capitols because he liked geography. He had not visited the U.S. He said “Four Corners; Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico.” He was justifiably proud of his knowledge. I couldn’t even come close to doing the same thing in Spain.
I mentioned that the clouds had blown away. We decided to go to the Hard Rock Café for an American-style hamburger. [Hamburgers in Spain apparently have no similarity to hamburgers in the U.S.] We chose to leave our umbrellas in the apartment. No sooner had we stepped outside than we encountered a shower! But 5 minutes later the skies were clear again. We did have a good meal and were back in the apartment fairly early.
The waiter at the HRC also wanted to know where we were from. I said Estados Unidos and he said, in English, “I had figured that out.” We had a short conversation with him. He is from Argentina and has been travelling around Spain for the last year, mostly in the south.
It rained during the night, and the forecast is for cold and windy. We still expect to have a very good visit. We have a couple of flamenco shows scheduled and plan a day trip to Segovia, weather permitting. Lots of museums within walking distance.
I took no pictures yesterday and forgot to turn on my mapping too, so nothing for either of those in this post.