Sunday, 14 December 2008

Recent visits to Spain...

after so many years of conscious neglect due to dislikes of bullfights,dishonest cabdrivers and a general state of chaos in the big cities, produced a new vision of the country and her people, for the better.It all started in Barcelona a couple of years ago, then Madrid last year, Ciudad Real this spring and finally an afternoon in Cartagena just a few weeks ago. On each trip one pleasant surprise after another. There are no better , cheaper and more efficient connections between airports and city centers.The intercity trains are spotless and comfortable, and fast.
The most unexpected event that will stay with us for a long time happened in Cartagena.Our ship stopped for a few hours and we took off to visit the old town, walking for hours. Near the ship's docking we looked for a supermarket to buy a case of mineral water to take on board. But there wasn't a store in sight, so one of our fellow travelers (not the political kind)stopped a middle aged lady on a bicycle for directions. A long discussion followed in Spanish accompanied by arms and fingers pointing to several directions, but all target stores apparently in far away places.
Finally,the kind lady of Cartagena jumped on her bike and indicated to our little group to stay put for a while, she'll be back.Realizing this complete stranger's intention, we ran after her and literally forced her to take our euros, as our bona fides
Within ten minutes she was pedalling back where she'd left us, carrying several sacks of bottled water!
We were in a such an awe at this wonderful gesture, that her tight hugs to each one of us didn't register with us even while she was getting back on her bike and soon disappearing in the port's traffic.