Road trip to Olmedo

Road trip to Olmedo

Why Olmedo? College Roommate’s family name, so of course we had to check it out!

Our first full day in Madrid, we caught a train to Segovia, where we rented a car to go to Olmedo. This is where our travel travails begin.

Actually, they began in Cordoba, where we attempted to change our train tickets so we could leave earlier. If you buy your tickets in person—which my Loving Husband did—you can’t change them online. You can’t buy tickets online with a non-Spanish credit card. I had forgotten that part until after Elena had entered all of our passport/NIE information – twice!

Back to the car rental…

We had looked online and only found car rental agencies we didn’t know anything about. When we arrived at the train station, we asked at the information center. She gave us a map with the EuropCar office circled. Off we went in another taxi. Turns out, the car rental is just down the hill from the aqueduct on the main street. The Lovely Teenage Girl working the counter told us it was not posible to rent a car for a day; we’d have to return it Monday. This being Saturday, they were closing at 1:00 and would not be open on Monday. A one-day rental was no posible; we’d have to return the car Monday. Then the Grownup agent arrived. No problemo: we could park the car on the street and return the keys to the RepSol gas station up the street. Vale!

I had left my Texas driver’s license (finally arrived!) at home, so Kim had to rent the car. We had both been leery about driving in Madrid, and being of like mind, we had decided that renting in Segovia might be a better option—we could certainly avoid city traffic.

After struggling with the gears for a bit, then smelling that burning smell you never want to smell when driving, we realized we had not, after all, released the parking brake. Problem solved, we continued on our way.

Finally, I saw the plains in Spain where the rain mainly stays:

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While driving through the small villages, we passed a wedding party, complete with horse-drawn carriage. (I wasn’t quick enough with the camera.) In another town, we drove through a fiesta – literally, drove THROUGH a fiesta – locals with drinks in hand directed us through the crowd in the narrow street as we passed through town.

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At last we arrived at our goal: Olmedo. We visited with the girls behind the counter while we enjoyed our café con leche. We toured the Palacio Caballero de Olmedo – my knowledge of the literature of Lope de Vega is woefully inadequate.

Back to Segovia, where we enjoyed a celebratory sangría.

Then back to Madrid, where we took the obligatory city bus tour – both routes – before heading off to San Sebastian

 

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a day trip to Murcia

a day trip to Murcia

We went in search of a bead store. I’ve gotten itchy fingers, needing to do something crafty.

Easy train ride – 30 euro total roundtrip for the two of us. It took a little over an hour each way, with a number of stops, but it was comfortable. As we traveled inland, we saw a variety of crops – not just the oranges close to home. Lots of lemon groves, including my favorite: a rogue orange tree in the middle of a large group of lemon trees.

Murcia has—in my opinion—several advantages over Alicante:

·       Lots of parks, with actual green space and fenced-in areas for dogs (We met Inca, a striped brindle who was happy to take treats.)

·       Flat topography

·       Lots of “new” buildings: houses, apartments, businesses

But it was already hot in May – and no ocean breeze. We’ll keep Alicante.

The cathedral was closed, but we were able to tour the cathedral museum. The splendor never ceases to amaze me.

We caught a display of “street art” at the MUBAM museum – modern art we could appreciate!

 All in all, a most pleasant day – Vale!

up the coast: Jazz at the Parador

up the coast: Jazz at the Parador

After debating about it all week, we decided Friday morning to make the trip to Javea for that week’s Jazz at the Parador program.

Some time spent online, and tickets for the performance were booked. It was a little expensive to stay at the Parador, but breakfast was included, and we wouldn’t have to taxi to and from the concert. There was a bit of concern because the tram line was under construction from Calpe through Denia, so we would have to use the bus to get to Teulada, then taxi to the Parador in Javea.

A quick packing of backpacks and a bag of snacks and we were off!

Tram 1 from our own Plaza Luceros – running uncharacteristically late. A ticket purchase in El Campello to get us the rest of the way. Change to Tram 9 in Benidorm. Switch to bus in Calpe. Dropped off in Teulada at a roundabout. No taxis to be seen:

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We wandered down the street until we found an open restaurant, where we had wine and beer and had the waitress call us a taxi. 20 euros later we arrived at the Parador.

A quick bite in the café/bar, then a quiet half hour or so in our room before we headed downstairs for the concert.

After visiting with a couple from Belgium – retired and spending winters in Benissa – we sat where Todd could watch the base player. Actually, the keyboard player, Richard Busiakiewicz,  had more of the too-cool-for-school persona usually associated with bass players. But the most interesting character was definitely the drummer. He was definitely in his own world, and the audience was irrelevant to him.

The leader of the group, Enric Peidro, was Spanish, and the drummer was French. Okay so far. But the guest tenor sax player, Ray Gelato, and the keyboard guy were English – somehow, that doesn’t make sense to me for a jazz combo playing American jazz.

But they were great!

Back to our room for a beautiful view of the bay. The recent storms had done significant damage to the beach, so they had brought in a truck load (or more) of sand and were spreading it. Kids were playing on the giant sand pile while a bull dozer scooped and spread sand.

After breakfast, we reversed our trip to get home: taxi to bus stop, bus to Calpe station, train to Benidorm, transfer to Tram 1 to home.