Blogs from Spain, Europe - page 6


Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Ávila August 15th 2019

Today we will be taking a short train trip to our next destination, the town of Avila, which is about 150 kms east of Salamanca. We’ve got some time to kill at the station so I do a clean out of used train tickets and other miscellaneous redundant paraphernalia. I ask Issy whether she still needs her mobile phone contract for Jordan. She says she doesn’t remember buying a mobile phone contract in Jordan, so I take this to mean ‘no’ as the answer to the original question. The contract has a copy of the front page of her passport in it so I tear this up into small pieces and head off to put it in the nearest waste bin. Issy stops me. She asks me if I realise that people prowl train stations looking ... read more
Looking south from Avila
Church tower - note stork nest
Market stall

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Salamanca August 14th 2019

Issy is keen to lie on some grass in a big park, so we head to the biggest nearby patch of green we can see on the map, which is the Parque de Los Jesuitas. It’s leafy and very pleasant, with a duck pond, some fountains and a section for dogs. We lie on the grass on our Sardinian tea towels and then go for a snack at the park’s cafeteria. Our waiter seems to have a real obsession with the menus, and if we leave them lying down on the table for more than a few seconds after we’ve finished looking at them he appears from nowhere to put them back in their stand next to the salt and pepper. We were probably fortunate he let us look at them in the first place. We ... read more
Prince mural
Local resident, Parque de Los Jesuitas
New Cathedral

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Salamanca August 13th 2019

Issy says she’s run out of clean clothes. I ran out about a week ago, which I suspect is no news to Issy; the bed in our hotel room is very big and I’ve noticed she’s been making good use of the very far side of it. We could spend about 200 Euros getting the hotel to wash our clothes for us and send them back individually gift wrapped, but we decide instead to save some money and spend some quality time together in a nearby laundromat. I think the last time I went to a laundromat was about forty years ago when I first had to travel for work, and the company I was working for was too stingy to pay for the hotel to wash them. I’m probably lucky they agreed to pay for ... read more
Spending quality time together at the laundromat
University chapel
University library

Europe » Spain » Andalusia August 12th 2019

Enticed by the warm Spanish sunshine, in the 8th century the Moors extended their empire into Spain. If you look at a map of their territory, they just kept going north till it got too cold. Having spent four rainy days in Granada in April I can see why they went back home. The last time I was in Granada I could have fried an egg on my chest and, as I recollect, I did. If you plan to perform this agreeable trick, ensure that you have depilated beforehand. When the white of the egg, the albumen, hardens, it tends to get stuck in your chest hair. It takes some gouging with a spatula to get the egg off and onto a plate. Sorry, I digress. We flew to Malaga with Easyjet; Ryanair was a little ... read more
Bridge in the Sierra Nevada
Alhambra fountain
Alhambra water feature

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Salamanca August 11th 2019

Today we travel a couple of hundred kilometres west to the city of Salamanca. It seems that Spaniards aren’t into mornings, especially on Sundays; the breakfast room at the hotel still hasn’t opened when our taxi arrives at 8.30. We walk into the station to a deafening noise which sounds like several forest loads of birds all screeching at once. The man who checks us in tells us that the fire alarm here has been going for more than two hours now and it’s driving everyone crazy. We can’t see any flames or smoke, which is probably just as well, as I’m sure there wouldn’t be too much left of the station by now if there really was a fire. If anyone ever forgets to turn the iron off at home I think we need to ... read more
Plaza Mayor
Salamanca Cathedral
Monasterio de San Esteban

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Segovia August 10th 2019

Issy again asks me to steal some buttered toast for her from the breakfast buffet in direct contravention of the hotel’s strict rules about not removing buffet food from the dining room. The elderly guest who seemed to be awake to my scam yesterday is there again so I need a new tactic; I decide to go with sneaking the toast out hidden under my shirt. I don‘t think anyone noticed, but my shirt is now covered in butter. Issy says I’m being ridiculous. That’s easy for her to say; she’s not the one whose going to get locked up, although I suppose they could still get her as an accessory after the fact. Issy is happy to stay in our room munching on her contraband toast so I go out in search of more churches. ... read more
Cloisters, Iglesia de San Martin
Cloisters, Avenida del Acueducto
Avenida del Acueducto

Europe » Spain » Balearic Islands » Majorca » s'Arenal August 10th 2019

It’s holiday time and we are off to a villa in the south east of Spain’s Mallorca, super excited for a week off from work and life in general, time for a San Miguel, beer us, stat! Preparation time and Narla is not happy at been dropped off at the cattery, our parting words consisted of “bye Narla, see you in a week…. Narla, urmmm, hiss!”. Sad times for the fur-baby. All packed and parked up at Gatwick and looking forward to some Airport lounge champagne and Eggs Royal, we head to the Gatwick Lounge, or at least we thought we were about to... we apparently didn’t book “The Lounge”, we booked, “My Lounge”… oh no… On checking in, it was not as fancy as the other one and was a bit basic on the food ... read more
View from the villa!
Cocktail time!
Balcony with a view

Europe » Spain August 9th 2019

As I leave to go down to breakfast Issy asks me if I can get her a piece of toast with some butter on it. She’s done this a bit over the journey, and I’ve always complied with her requests despite the danger that this has sometimes put me in. This morning is no exception. There’s a large sign on the toaster saying that removal of buffet food from the restaurant is strictly prohibited. I can’t find a paper serviette to conceal the toast in, so I take a bite out of the corner and run out of the restaurant, on the pretence that I’m in too much of a hurry to sit down and finish eating it. I get a withering look from one of the other guests; I think she’s awake to my scam. ... read more
Statue, La Granja gardens
La Granja
La Granja

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Segovia August 8th 2019

After failing to decipher the mysteries of Segovian eating times last night, I enter the breakfast room at about what I would consider to be a normal breakfast time having no idea what to expect. There are people here eating breakfast, but if they’re staying at a hotel they’re probably not Segovians, so I’m really no closer to solving the mystery. Issy is a bit tired after a long day of travelling yesterday so I set off on my own for the Cathedral. As we saw last night, it is an absolutely massive and spectacular structure that towers over the main square and the rest of the town. I arrive just in time for a tour of the belltower. I’m told the tour will be in Spanish, which is fine because I’m now an expert in ... read more
The streets of Segovia
Segovia Cathedral from the belltower
View from the Segovia Cathedral belltower

Europe » Spain » Castile & León » Segovia August 7th 2019

The 4am alarm disturbs our peaceful sleep, and we awake to prepare for a long day of travelling to Segovia in Spain. The man who checks our luggage in at the airport tells us that he has checked it right through to Australia, and we can pick it up when we get there. He then looks up to see our rather worried looks and quickly corrects himself. He says that his body is at work but his brain is still in bed, and that work at this time of the morning should be “illegal”. Our flight to Milan is nearly empty, so the doors close quickly and we start taxiing well before the scheduled departure time. An old lady in the row in front of us turns to us and asks “Milano, Milano?”. A flight to ... read more

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