I’ve been starting these reports with a brief weather report, so here is today’s: thunderstorms are predicted, with a high of about 70. On Monday the weather is supposed to be much worse. I hope we don’t find out.
I don’t know how the day’s weather will turn out, because I am writing this at about 10:30 Sunday morning. So far, no sign of bad weather.
There are only 2 pictures for today. The population of Madrid is about 6.5 million and on previous visits it seemed that a significant percentage of them could be found within a few blocks of our apartments. That is, the nearby streets were invariably full of people. Not so now.
I didn’t write yesterday (maybe for the first time on this trip?) because there really wasn’t much to write about. Saturday was the first day of the new Madrid lockdown regulations. When we did go out, for about an hour, we saw them in effect. All stores except grocery stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores (!!) were closed.
We walked down to the Mercado Antón Martín, which is one of those places with a lot of produce, meat, and fish stalls. I was actually a little surprised to find it open because the lockdown is intended to reduce crowding. The market wasn’t bustling, but there were quite a few people there. However, people weren’t crowding up to the counters as usual and I soon discovered why. There were standard signs taped to the booths that told people to keep their distance from one another and just 3 people at a time were allowed to approach the counters. That had the ironic effect of making the aisles crowded with lots of jostling.
I noticed over the past few days that all of the advisories (avisos) were in Spanish only.
The streets were not busy, but also not deserted. We have encountered a new, and somewhat problematic, phenomena since our last visit 2 years ago: electric scooters. They are everywhere and they are quiet and they seem to be ridden by people who don’t think it necessary to warn you when they come up behind. We still had to dodge them yesterday.
We had gone out to get enough food supplies to last us through Sunday. I should have mentioned that bakeries (pastelerías) seem to be in the same classification as grocery stores. We stopped at the Brown Bear, which is close to our apartment and where we have eaten several times. Just the bakery part was open. We got essential supplies: sandwiches, a scone, an apple tart, and brownies.
Then we stopped at a real grocery store (a mini-mercado, sort of like a small, very crowded, 7-11, but for groceries) and picked up water and drinks and a pizza.
On our way back to the apartment, the streets were emptier than when we left. I suspect other people were doing the same thing we were: preparing to be inside for a while.
That’s what we did yesterday. We stayed inside. That’s also what we will do today. It seems to us that changes are happening so quickly that we are not in control of our travel and that we don’t have as many options as usual.
We read early this morning that American Airlines, on which we hope to fly tomorrow, is cutting international capacity by 75% tomorrow. I have our boarding passes for the flight that leaves at 9:45, so I hope that we will still be able to go.
I expect that when we arrive in Dallas the process of health screening will take hours, so I don’t know when we will actually get home. Worst case, we will rent a car and drive. [If we get to Dallas, that is. It would be difficult to drive from here.] Patricia has already advised me—gently—not to cause trouble when I am forced to deal with long, unnecessary, waits and ineffective procedures. That’s always good advice, I guess, but this time I will try to follow it.
A more stringent lockdown will start tomorrow at 8:00 in all of Spain, but we should be at the airport by then.
So, unless we end up spending more time in Spain trying to arrange transportation to the U.S., this will be the last post until we get home.