Friday, July 29, 2016
Two down, three to go
I'd gone on the train for a bit of a lark. It was one of the mid distance trains so I was a bit surprised when the TV monitors revealed that the train was doing just a tad over 160 k/h. My ticket was on my phone. The lad next to me was watching an episode of Vikings on his laptop whilst he whatsapped to his chums and those rolling Manchego plains slipped by. Most of the passengers were doing something with their phone so that the woman with a paper newspaper seemed a bit out of place.
I have an English exercise I use with students on the subject of Spanish stereotypes pulled together from a series of travel guides published in Russia, Japan, the UK etc. The cliches aren't the bulls and sangria type but things like body hair on women, particularly underarm and on legs, being socially unacceptable or that nobody gets drunk in public. One of these supposed cliches is that RENFE trains are clean and efficient. Both my trains were dead on time and clean.
Maybe I'm on a bit of a Munro type mission to bag all the provincial capitals of Castilla la Mancha - Ciudad Real last week and Albacete this. The city has a bit of a reputation for being boring and it's true that there's not a great deal to see but it seemed very clean and tidy to me with lots of open spaces and a lot of greenery. It's not the first or even the tenth time I've been there but it was still a pleasant enough day out.
Part of that was down to the tourist office. I really appreciated that, after the question as to whether I could understand his Spanish or not, the man talked to me like any other tourist rather than as someone who knew nothing. He gave me a map with some tourist routes on it, explained what was open and what was closed (nearly everything) and sent me away.
That's it really. A bit of an empty post. I didn't even buy one of the knives the town is famous for. I actually meant to but a queue at the bank machine left me a bit strapped for a while and, by the time I'd monied up, the shop I went to had closed for an early lunch because of the reduced summer hours. It certainly was warm enough, around 36ºC and sunny which is a nice temperature for a city hike