Adios Madrid. Adios Nina.

It is now my turn to leave Madrid. I feel after all the art and the Cathedrals and churches, I am no longer in need of divine inspiration. I need natural beauty and landscapes. I need inspiration of landform, and colour and light. I am off to the Canary Islands. I decide to take a taxi to the airport and call the taxi company. I have telephoned once before on my trip and it all went easily enough, despite my Spanish. This time however, something is amiss. I have no idea what the recorded message is tell met. I call again, the same rapid fire message leaves me reeling. I try one more time. Nothing.  I decide to walk up the street as I have seen taxis around close to my accommodation and also up the hill on the main street. There are no taxis. I wait ten to fifteen minutes. Ask a passing guy, he apologises and says to me that this is not his neighbourhood. I wait another five before crossing the road and standing near a bus stop.  A woman comes along, I ask her the best place to catch a taxi. “Aqui”, here she answers. I ask if I just wave them down, she replies yes. I wait, she jumps on the next bus and is out of there.  In the past ten days I have seen lots of taxis on this street. Today there is none. Another ten minutes go by and another woman arrives. I ask her the same question.  “Yes, here is the best place”, she tells me. I tell her I have been waiting a long time and none have passed by. I give her my phone, pressing in the last number I called and ask her to speak to the taxi company for me. She listens, speaks into the phone, hangs up, hands me back my phone and says “they are not working”. Now I am desperate, my Spanish is failing me, and I can feel the gastric juices of stress flooding my stomach. She keeps on and on, speaking to me in Spanish, helping me look. I can see the penny drop and she knows that I am right, there are no taxis. Her bus comes. She turns to me and says, “get on the bus with me, it goes to Sol, there are lots of taxis in Sol. If not, you can catch the train to Atocha, and then a then the metro to the airport. I jump on the bus with her. We sit next to each other and she keeps talking to me in Spanish. I have told her my Spanish is limited but this does not stop her. I catch a word, here and there and know that I have no choice but to trust this woman. When the bus arrives at Sol, she looks around, shakes her head and says “no taxis”. She tells me she will come down to the train station with me and help me. She works just over there, she tells me as she waves a vague hand towards the other side of Sol. Downstairs in the metro, she gets help from one of the station assistants, turns out the taxis have gone on strike but now I have two new friends helping me. Instructions are written on a piece of paper, I have a ticket, they both wish me “Buena suerte!”. I thank them both, especially the first woman. As I sit safely on the train, knowing I will make my plane I realise that in the end, Madrid did not disappoint. It came to my aid and helped me when I needed it most. Farewell Madrid. Farewell Nina.


2 thoughts on “Adios Madrid. Adios Nina.”

  1. Just noticed your instagrammyfriends on your site… there’s one guy who looks surprisingly like Manuel from Fawlty Towers and another who looks like a getaway driver.
    Good riddance to Nina. She was so uptight.
    My allover tan has faded, washed away with the beach after the past four days’ storm. Might head back to the city for a day trip and to check my mail. (Code for ‘find a decent pub’.)
    Don’t crawl into bed with butt-crack or toe-jam sand… it ruins a good night’s sleep.


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