Lovely bridges

Authored By Brian

As it turns out, haciendo puentes is a big deal in Spain. Such a big deal that not only were there no seats left on the train last night from Madrid to Sevilla, there were also no seats available on trains going to Bilbao, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga… outside of a few first-class seats that cost around 160€ each direction, they were booked solid until 7 tonight. Gabriela and I came back to my apartment, defeated. Then we started looking at plane tickets, because it might be cheaper/easier to fly to Sevilla. We found some fares for 116€ each direction which is a good deal since the train (at its normal price) was going to be 105€.

I really enjoy the surprises (both positive and negative) that I experience every day

Afterwards, we grabbed some tapas around the corner from my apartment. On the menu they had “Rollito Jamon con queso Filadelfia”. I thought it was bizarre that they had Philadelphia cheese in something so I ordered it. It was a racion, the same as you might buy for a piece of tortilla Espanola which I also ordered. What showed up was one piece of standard American-style ham rolled and filled with Philadelphia cream cheese. Although not very filling, I really enjoy the surprises (both positive and negative) that I experience every day. Simply not knowing what to expect not only keeps me on my toes but makes you appreciate things a little more. Habit and routine are really evil I think. Before Gabi left to go to her house, we decided that we would collaborate this morning and figure out what we’re doing for the weekend.

After losing out on the train, I was very unmotivated last night. I just didn’t have any interest in going any longer. The alternative of driving by car to Valencia, after last weekend, wasn’t really appealing to me since Gabi said it is normally 3 hours but with traffic it will be 6. Sounds like Lake Tahoe during ski season and I’ve been through that once or twice.

Spanish Accomodations
  • Hotel – normal hotels, uses the star rating system
  • Hostal – cheap and adequate housing with private baths and rooms
  • Hosteles – Private rooms but shared bath typically
  • Albergues Juveniles – standard youth hostel

This morning I woke up at 11 and asked myself why I was being such a loser? I am in Spain! I’m here to see new things, meet new people and have new experiences! Sevilla is the highlight of the south and is an incredibly beautiful city; why wouldn’t I be excited to go? My pep talk worked, because I IM’d Gabi and said nos vamos. First order of business was to book a hostal. Hostals are in between nice hotels and youth hostels. They’re cheap like a hostel but they have private rooms and baths like a hotel. I think 1 and 2 star hotels are called “Hostals” and 3 stars and above are “Hotels”. If the trains were booked, there was the chance that accommodations would be scarce too.

Scarce is right. Like weapons-grade plutonium scarce. The town is booked solid with Madrilenos and other weekenders turning their national holiday into a four-day weekend. Sevilla has been cut from the slate. So much for pep talks.

Instead, I’m starting to slowly pack up a few of my belongings and put my computer stuff away. I have picked up a few new things while I’m here and my suitcase was pretty full before I left. I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to fit it all in and I want to know if I need to mail some things first. The problem is a catch-22; I don’t want to pack up because I still have four days but until I pack up I won’t know how much I need to mail. Ruh-roh Raggy!

I backed up my laptop one final time and I’m giving my mouse a charge before I put it away. I need to hop in the shower because I’m meeting Gabi for lunch and then we’re going to play padel. It’s a combination of racketball and tennis that is very popular here. I’ve never played but she talks about it all the time so I’m looking forward to trying it. I played squash once in England as a kid and that was fun; I suspect this will be similar. Afterwards I think we’re going to go racing at an indoor kart track in Majadahonda or Las Rozas near her house.

Casa Mingo
Paseo de la Florida, 2,
Madrid, Spain 28008

(Metro: Principe Pio)

Today we’re going to return to a favorite eatery Casa Mingo; a restaurant famous for serving roasted chicken and cider. It’s the only two things on the menu more or less and it’s an oddly fantastic combination. The restaurant is filled with old men doing a long arm pour from bottle up high in the air to glass placed almost on the floor to introduce bubbles into their non-sparking cider. We usually cheat and just get it “con gas”. Speaking of food, I’m hungry and going to eat!

Comments are closed.