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Bagpipes and Banjos

In Toledo we came out of the parking garage to the incongrous sound of bagpipes echoing up the city walls from the valley below. Later, as we emerged from our hotel it was a banjo. And then, as we climbed the narrow streets towards the center of town a band that sounded very much like The Pogues started in (I would be woken up by them later at around 2 am). For the rest of the day as we came across certain streets positioned just so, the music would reverberate off the walls of the closely set buildings.

Saturday in Madrid was the European football finals (or something of the sort) between Milan and Munich. Fans of both teams had flooded the city in wild, roaming packs that would break out into competitive (or cooperative) fight songsin full throated roars regardless of the hour or location. Including, Irene tells me, outside our window at two or three in the morning.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) we left the city in the morning before the expected craziness really got underway.

So far a lot of this trip has been a lot like an episode of Seinfeld. Lots of places know how to take a reservation, but not necessarily how to make good on one. At the rental car agency we were told that even though I checked the box saying I wanted a GPS that was only a mild expression of desire and not an actual reservation. Not sure what I would have needed to do to confirm that, yes, I really would like a gps please, but apparently just ticking the appropriate box isn’t enough. Good to know Avis, good to know.

We’ve been trying to make do with just the directions I printed out at home with less than stellar results. We made it to Toledo well enough, but our drive to Cordoba was a bit of a disaster at the beginning and the end. Mostly at the end.

Finding our way to our hotel proved to be way more difficult than it looked like it should have been. In our defence the signs pointing to the city center could have been clearer and sometimes we just didn’t believe they wanted us to turn down the “streets” they wanted us to turn down. We got there in the end.

This is going to come off very stupid American of me, but Cordoba reminds me a lot of Mexico. And no, not just because of all the Spanish. It reminds me of Merida, the capital of the Yucatan, with it low buildings and tiny streets.

We arrived too late to take in any of the attractions apart from wandering the narrow lanes and people watching. There is some sort of festival/carnival going on outside of town but the lovely ladies in there elaborate dresses can be seen all over.

Tomorrow we are setting out early for the mosque and then head for Granada. More to come.

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