A night in Madrid

A night in Madrid


28th December, Wednesday


Those f*cking Marianistas are having a pow-wow in the corridor near my door. I complained to them once. Since then they have stopped shrieking. They probably think their normal talk is cutting me some deal. I came back too early. I’d have liked to stay in the dark Luna bar on the Paseo, with the Eighties music and the old lads in a back corner, playing Ludo for money, but Juana won’t go there, so B. and I had just the one before reverting to the tapas bars.

They’re even shushing each other now and then, outside.

29th December, Thursday

Update: come half past midnight I got dressed and went out again to advise them all that I was heading downstairs to complain. Porqué aqui, fuera mi puerta? Trenta minutos tras medianoche. Ahora tengo que reclamar, con el jefe. Dondé están las habitaciónes? They all sat on the floor in early teenage silence. At the lift I added a head-shaking “Sin respeto” before pushing the ground floor button. I found the night porter. Hay diez Marianistas fuera mi puerta, trenta minutos tras medianoche. Yak yak yak... I made the international hand signal for yakking. He just asked for my room number. That was the end of it.


B. came with me to Madrid. From my hotel near Atocha we got a taxi to Sol. In trying to get away from the crowds we stumbled upon the royal palace.




After lunch (back near Atocha) he went off shopping before his train home and I went for a nap. At dusk I got up and walked to the top of Paseo del Prado before turning left onto Gran Vía.



After a few hundred yards of that I couldn’t stick it anymore and turned back. The anthill was even more teeming. The park down the middle of the Paseo del Prado is nice, though. I was photographing the many fountains and the art gallery after dark.




Tonight is a night for doing nothing but resting and sleeping before an early start.

30th December, Friday

Another all-Spanish chat with a taxi driver saw me to the airport early but all the cafés down by the departure gates were f*cked up in one way or another – no cards accepted, out of croissants, kitchen closed etc. Luckily the plane wasn’t packed. A mercy.


Córdoba … the Spanish one

Córdoba … the Spanish one

Andalucía 28/12/16

Frosty morning. B. and I headed to Córdoba after ten. The high-speed train from Puertollano was too fast for the camera. I saw a lot of olive trees down south. On arrival, Clonmel’s permanent representative in Castile-La Mancha thought it wise to ask someone how far we’d have to walk. We were then advised to get a taxi from the station to the old town. Córdoba’s charms are quite stunning. The Romans took it from the Carthaginians in 206 BC. The Moors took it from the Goths in 711 AD. The Christians took it back from the Moors in 1236. Perhaps Spain will never be one of my favourite countries but there is something awe-inspiring about the key sights down there. We didn’t go into the Alcázar fortress – the queue was long – so we missed the gardens. That was a research blip on my part. The triangle the Alcázar forms with the Mezquita – the great mosque that contains a cathedral – and the Calahorra tower across the Roman bridge that spans the Guadalquivír is sensational. The Mezquita is the most impressive building I’ve ever been in. You’d almost get religion in there.