Adios Beautiful Pool, Hola Madrid

After returning to the parador from our visit to Cordoba’s Alcazar, etc., I took another luxurious swim in the pool. It was about 100 degrees out, and the water felt heavenly. Later, we went to dinner at the Parador restaurant. By this time, it had cooled down to a lovely temperature and we sat on the restaurant terrace.

The hotel cat came by to see if I would drop some food. This cat haunts the restaurant terrace, scrounging food, but never bothers anyone. She just sits nearby and stares at you with her beautiful, strange, light-blue eyes. If nothing is offered, she quietly moves on. Last night I asked if she had a name–and she does: Rosita. I dropped a small chunk of my excellent steak, and Rosita sniffed at it, but wouldn’t eat it. The server said she only likes fish–but this morning, I gave her some chorizo, and she liked that well enough!

The lovely Rosita

The lovely Rosita

I had thought at first that Rosita was a feral cat, because they are everywhere in Spain. I’ve never seen so many before. But Rosita is too plump and calm and healthy-looking to be a feral–though she may have started that way, because there are certainly feral cats around the parador.

We departed this morning for Madrid. It was a three and a half hour drive on minimally-travelled freeways. It looked a lot like driving in the central coast area of California, except that instead of grape vines as far as the eye can see, it’s olive trees. Every once in a while, there were gigantic shapes by the side of the freeway in the shape of a bull, a Flamenco guitarist, or a donkey. They are essentially billboards–flat cutouts–but there’s no verbiage or other explanation for them. It may remain an unsolved mystery unless we remember to ask someone. If they are just supposed to be iconic Spanish motifs, where’s the Flamenco dancer?

A montage of the three strange "billboards" we kept seeing by the side of the freeway

A montage of the three strange “billboards” we kept seeing by the side of the freeway










Once in Madrid, the traffic became horrible, of course. We had to re-rent the car at the airport, which sucked up some time, and then we headed for the hotel–only to find they had no parking. Tom did find some public parking, but then we had to walk to the car to get the luggage. It’s about 100 degrees here, too, but as they say, it’s a dry heat.

We pulled the luggage out of the car, but then I tripped and landed hard on the filthy floor of the parking garage, hitting my head and bruising my ribs. I was furious with myself. I’ve been so careful on the cobbles, in the slippery showers, going to the cave with the prehistoric pictures–and I trip over a suitcase! After ascertaining that I was essentially OK, we struggled up the steps (later, someone pointed out the elevator). On the way, a very kind man hoisted my suitcase up to the street level. (Now don’t go saying Tom should have done it. He had his own suitcase and a couple of other bags to deal with.)

It’s always hard to come down in your station in life–or in hotels. After the lovely, comfortable, spacious parador in Cordoba with its wonderful pool, this hotel looks several steps below Motel 6 (though it does have an elevator, thank god. We are on the fifth floor–in U.S. terms, that’s the sixth floor.). It’s a cube with a washbasin in the bedroom and a sliver of soap as its major amenity. We had to ask for drinking glasses. But again–it seems clean and the bed is comfortable, which is what really counts.

I am missing that pool, though.

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