It is Tuesday, October 20 and we awoke to the big news of the Liberals winning a majority in Canada! A new era has begun (????)…. Let’s hope so!
A few photos from Cologne….
It has been a few days since I have had time to write, what with all the visiting and partying with Toni’s family and then the travelling by car, airplane, bus, taxi and train to get here to Salamanca from Madrid. It was very very fun to meet so many members of Toni’s family and to speak with them as so many spoke perfect English! His Mother, Hildegard, had her 75th birthday party at a castle (complete with surrounding moat) in Gladbeck. It was a grand affair with a delicious and interesting meal and poems and songs performed by the youngsters. The party continued Sunday morning with a huge breakfast buffet provided by Toni and Lisa. Toni was kind enough (again!) to take us to the Dusseldorf airport where we caught our flight to Madrid.
As we were sitting on the Airport express bus riding into Madrid, there came a huge black cloud which literally dumped torrential rains into the city streets turning them into rivers! Of course our rain gear was packed at the bottom of our bags, not that it would have kept us dry in such a deluge. The miracle of it all was that when we got off at the Atocha station, the rain completely stopped! However the streets were still flooded and if you dare step off the curb you were over the ankles in water! The city work crews were out in full force and cleaning the storm sewers so that the water quickly subsided and we were able to walk to our hotel without getting our feet too wet.
We had such a short time in Madrid we were only able to see a few of the wondrous buildings and monuments. What we noticed was that everything seemed to be built on a very grand scale…extremely wide streets with green boulevards, huge decorative buildings, and every roundabout had a beautiful sculpted fountain. Lots of traffic and hundreds, I might even guess, thousands of taxis!
Monday afternoon we caught a train to Salamanca…a word of warning to anyone wanting to get a ticket at the station….get there a few hours in advance because there was a huge queue and not many ticket sellers! The train ride through the ‘mountains’ and across the plateau provided some interesting scenery…. everything from Canadian Sheild-like rock formations, to pine forests, dry stone walls, roman ruins, walled cities, huge monasteries, and very dry looking fields of tilled rocks with little soil… Not to forget the sheep and cows along the way.
Finding our way from the train station to our apartment was easy, as Maria, the owner, had sent us a very good little map. The apartment is in the ‘ suburbs’ about a 10 minute walk to the Old City, with lots of little fruit/vegetable shops, bakeries and butcher stores lining the streets of the neighbourhood of mostly low rise housing. We are on the 5th floor with a balcony overlooking the rooftops to the fields beyond the town. We have all the amenities including a washing machine! (A load of laundry was first on my list of things to do when we got here!!!)
Time to go explore the city…..Hasta Luego!