Off to Spain

Next few weeks I’m going to get some sun light and heat in Spain. I’m first going to stay for a few days at Christian del Rosso’s place in Madrid. Christian’s my neighbour here in Helsinki and he is currently in Madrid together with his wife and little son Emilio doing an MBA. Last time I was in Madrid, I didn’t have much time for sightseeing so this time I will take some time to do that.

From Saturday, I’m renting a car and will be doing my usual neurotic routine of driving too much and seeing too little. The record still stands at around 4000 km in 3 weeks. That was on a trip to Spain where I visited Castilla y Leon and Extremadura. The goal of this trip is to go there again and this time visit all the stuff I somehow missed the last time, which is quite a lot.

I’ve spent the morning packing and (mostly) doing a bit of reconnaisance on Google. A few weeks ago I was considering to buy a travel guide when it occured to me that the lonely planet I have for Spain is mostly fluffy text and really thin on things like what are good places to see and stay. Sure it will cover the big attractions but the interesting stuff where I’m going is small villages and towns. I actually prefer staying in medium sized towns where parking is doable. My requirements are very simple: decent place to sleep, stuff to see, and lots of places to eat & drink. The average Spanish town has a plaza mayor, with a few bars and hotels around it and usually a parking garage nearby.

So that’s easy. So the algorithm is roughly: select town, drive to it, park on or near Plaza Mayor and try a few hostels/hotels. Never takes more than two or three attempts to find a decent place to sleep. Anyway, Google is good to that stuff so I spend the morning copy pasting together my own travelguide. I’ve a top five list of towns I’m probably going to stay in: Zamora, Segovia, Trujillo, Badajoz, Salamanca and maybe Leon again (depending on weather). I also have a few backup options and a long list of stuff to see and do. In the unlikely event I get bored with the area, I have Portugal and Andalucia within a few hours drive.

Still traveling

I’ve been traveling since Monday already. I left Helsinki for a short trip to Madrid to attend a meeting for the European project I am in since January. Madrid is great and I had a opportunity to catch up with Christian del Rosso, my neighbor in Helsinki who is living in Madrid for one year to do a MBA. The meeting was like most such meetings a necessary evil but the dinners were great. I had some nice tapas and on the second evening we went to El Buey, which as the meeting organizer suggested was not suitable for vegetarians or Hindus (beef only). Nobody seemed to object against that and the food was excellent.

Earlier, on the same day, my father had called to tell me that my grandmother had died (93). This was not really unexpected since she was not well the last few weeks and had basically stopped eating and drinking pretty much. Consequently, I had already decided I wanted to be there for the funeral. Luckily, my flight back from Madrid on thursday conveniently had a stop in Amsterdam that I managed to extend over the weekend. So I was able to attend the funeral yesterday without burning extra amounts of kerosine for an extra trip.

I’ll be flying back on Monday and will add some more photos shortly after.