Stranded In The Southland

Friday, June 17, 2005

Oviedo Back To Madrid

Well, Oviedo was fun. We had some good meals, some bad cider, and just generally enjoyed ourselves. However, as the time for our departure from Spain draws near, we need to get back to Madrid. This time, we decided to take the train.

Now, usually, the train is less trouble than the bus. This time, however, it didn´t quite work out that way. From that nasty woman at the counter who wouldn´t help M. without a number (even though she helped plenty of other folks), to our seats on the train, nothing quite worked out.

We wound up in a set of four seats facing each other, so we had even less leg room and privacy than we usually do on the bus. Doh. It was a beautiful journey out of Oviedo, through some amazing friggin´mountains (tunnel after tunnel after tunnel, interrupted briefly with breathtaking views down into valleys far below). But once we made it out of the mountains, the seats in front of us filled up, and we were just sucking it up ´til Madrid.

Madrid has gotten hotter in the month we´ve been away. After an endless slog through the metro, we finally surface to find one of the nicest rooms so far (plus it was reasonably priced!). Yow, what a change from a month ago, when the city was in the grip of a big festival!

We were in a neighborhood with some cool food and some fun stores, and we ate and drank and shopped and enjoyed ourselves. While M. looked for shoes, I headed out to the Museum of the Army.

It was a cool museum, but when you´ve gotten your assed kicked as often as the Spaniards have in the last few hundred years, it can be tough to come up with victories to celebrate. Instead they have a bazillion suits of 16th century armor, lots of muskets and rifles, and a pretty nice history of artillery.

They also have a large room devoted to military engineering, with seemingly endless models of castles and fortifications from around the country. Plus plenty of models and photographs of temporary bridges and other combat engineering feats. Yow.

The coverage of the Spanish Civil War was pretty awful, but I imagine some of those wounds are still not healed over. My lack of Spanish skills (and lack of time) made it hard to appreciate the whole thing, but it was definitely worth visiting.

This afternoon, because me feet weren´t suffering enough, we headed out to Segovia for a day. This involved seemingly endless tromping between metro lines and sweltering in the sun, before squeezing onto a bus and getting out to the marginally cooler Segovia.ç