"It's not much but it's ours"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I guess there is always a certain amount of misery associated with returning home after an excellent and, let's not deny it, well earned break. But, the feeling of coming back to this bleak, dank, desolate island of ours on Sunday was worse than normal.

That is what spending time in Spain does to you. It gets to your very spirit. The exuberance, the sheer enthusiasm for life that runs through the country embedded in the culture, like the rings of a tree, by age after age. It manifests itself in a generosity of spirit that no other country on earth can come close to matching and one that is not hampered by faux cheeriness but is real and often overwhelming.

Sunday morning saw us up at 8am and heading out for one last coffee and juice before schleping up to the airport. We visited one of the bars on the otherwise thoroughly avoidable Plaza Santa Anna which provided evidence about the pervasive nature of the true Spanish bar.

A lot of money had obviously been spent on modernising it to appeal to appeal to a younger demographic in the evening. But, here, on a Sunday morning, it showed all the hallmarks of a typical place

* grumpy barman? - check

* wearing ill fitting white jacket and bow tie? - check

* pretends not to understand what you are ordering then repeats it back to you exactly as you said it in the first place? - check

* unfeasibly large selection of unknown spirits including at least one bottle of blended scotch of a brand we have never seen before? - check?

* at least one person drinking booze whatever time of day? - check

* Orange juice extractor? - check

* huge coffee machine? - check.

* lottery tickets on sale? - check

* at least one ham, partly cut, under a tea cloth awaiting carving? - check

And there you have it, in a nutshell. Spain in a glass.

The journey home was as horrible as one would expect.

The plane was delayed, well of course it was.

We had to wait for 45 minutes until they bothered to tell us which carousel our bags were on. Well of course they did

It then took nearly an hour for the bags to come out. Well, of course it did.

They managed to lose HP's bag which did not turn up until 24 hrs later. Well of course they did.

The taxi journey from Paddington to home cost £20. Well of course it did. About the same as three huge plates of the best Iberico.

All of which served to make us even more depressed.

But, let us not allow any of this to put a dampener on what was a great trip filled with amazing sights many of which I have not mentioned ( the storks and stork nests that sit atop every tower in Extremadura for example.) amazing food from the meanest bar to the best restaurants and fabulous people ( even the grumpiest most miserable of them still offer better service than we get in the UK)

I was very much the passenger on this trip. The real kudos goes to Hermano P whose research and dilligent note taking made it all possible. Let me remind you that this is a man who fashioned his own guide book by taking the best bits out of all the existing ones and binding them into easy to carry volumes which is both scary and laudable in equal measures.

Thanks HP.

We are already planning next year's trip
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see you have been to Spain a lot and obviously love it there. We're heading to Granada soon - our first trip to Spain (bar a brief drive through to Andorra). Have you been there and do you have any recommendations for us?

Thursday, September 21, 2006 9:31:00 am  

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