21 September 2015: It was about a two hour drive this morning to Madrid. Unlike the roads in the North of Spain though, this one had a rough and noisy surface making for unpleasant driving and Deb had to concentrate a lot more. You’d think a road between major cities would be a good one, but this one was just horrible.
I relive last year’s fantastic holiday by bringing posts over from the trip blog. This doesn’t aim to be identical to the trip blog, but an improvement, with text edits and more / better photos. Find all these posts under the tag: Spain2015.
Soon after we set off someone in a hang glider sailed across the road. I tried to snap some photos with my iPhone but they just show a blurry dot in the sky.
At one point we were travelling at the 120 Kph speed limit when a motorcyclist with pillion flashed past us, as did numerous other cars. Motorists here seem to have a different approach to speed limits than we do in New Zealand.
Most of the trip was across plains with endless fields of crops — olives, wheat and other things. We saw plenty of farm vehicles, people harvesting, and a few stalls on the country roads that ran parallel to our highway.
This was Man of La Mancha territory so there were a handful of old-fashioned windmills scattered about, along with some more wind farms and a couple of large arrays of solar panels. A lot of fields of crops had a single large solar panel in the middle, presumably to operate a watering system.
Somewhere we stopped for lunch — probably a truck stop. I had a very Spanish version of ham, eggs and chips.
As we travelled north though, we could see thick air ahead of us. We did pass a few smoking chimney stacks, but also it was obvious the farm vehicles were throwing up dust. We don’t know whether it was smog we could see or just dusty air.
We’d decided to return the rental car a day early to Madrid airport and book a hotel nearby. As we reached Madrid the motorway became ever more complex and I was very thankful for Serena, the GPS, who guided us through the numerous exits and lane changes flawlessly.
I started the day with a slightly scratchy throat. Now, after an hour’s late afternoon nap I feel as energetic as a wet noodle and I believe I may be fighting off a cold. Our plan is to rest up this evening and tomorrow to go into Madrid city centre, wander the streets, look at a few parks and sit in a few cafes.
Tomorrow night we fly to Morocco where we spend a little less than a week before the long long haul back to New Zealand.
Bonus fuzzy photo: here’s that hangglider, for what it’s worth.
Oh, and there is one thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned before: Spain doesn’t allow advertising beside the roads. That means we spent glorious weeks with no billboards. It also means all you get is scenery and actual road signs. I wish we could have that in New Zealand.