Saturday, May 07, 2011

Chamartin station in Madrid has yet to install intelligent queuing and, in addition, the ticket counters there deal both with those wanting to travel immediately and those wanting to chat about their options for a future trip. This helps to explain why you can be twenty minutes waiting for the two people in front of you to be dealt with. But, this done, the ticket seller was charm itself, as we laughed over his confusion about my single surname. And he was kind enough to compliment my Spanish without adding that I had a Gallego accent.

There was, of course, no indication that the woman taking ten minutes to decide what ticket she wanted was at all concerned about the possibility of causing someone to miss their train. In contrast, my terribly-British mother would be wracked by worry after about thirty seconds.

The train pulled out at the scheduled time but, five minutes later, I was a tad perturbed to hear it was heading for La Coruña, without a mention of Vigo, Pontevedra or, indeed, the station I was hoping to alight at, Redondela. Or to give it its full title - Redondela de Galicia. But all's well that ends well and I'm pleased to say the train eventually split into two, with our bit going to the south coast and the rest to the north. And, yes, although the Renfe site didn't say so, the train did stop at RdG. Before this, though, I'd done something I've never done before in my life - I sat and read a novel from cover to cover. Over five hours. This was the superbly constructed "My Life as a Fake" by Peter Carey. Highly recommended.

My friends, Jon and Elena, kindly met me at the station and it was then straight down to Vegetables Square in Pontevedra's gem of an old quarter for squid and green peppers. 
Then it was off to the Friday dinner of the English Speaking Society to say hello to old friends. This turned out to be a heartwarmingly hug-ful experience. But being of the heart-on-sleeve tendency, I love the emotionality of the Spanish.

Finally . . . I bought a nice new case at TKMax in Leeds. (TJMax back home in the USA, I believe). Its USP is that it has four wheels and can do a 360 degree turn on the spot. This is occasionally useful but it also means that, once you get on any sort of slope or in, say, a tube train that stops suddenly, the bloody thing has a life of its own. Not sure that I'd recommend the feature.

Finally, finally . . . In creating a new Link last night, I managed to delete all the others. I'll put them back one at a time but, if anyone is miffed at being left off, please write to me at

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