Toledo & Alicante
Something I can't quite wrap my head around is the Spanish bus system. Julie and I found ourselves on this mode of transportation for long trips twice in one week. This story pertains particularly to our trip from Madrid to Alicante though so I will start with an interlude about our time in Toledo.
Toledo is a wonderful medieval city that is perched atop a very large hill. After a day there, anyone has worked off and deserves a hefty menu del dia (menu of the day) to themselves. After what seemed like hours of walking in the maze of a city we found a nice spot where we ate the most I had eaten in my trip thus far- full pasta dish with bread, tinto de verano (my favorite drink ever: sangria + fanta), chicken entree and rattatouilee. 11€, what a deal! We hiked up the tallest tower for a spectacular view and went into a torture museum to get a very knee weakening display of deadly or humiliating devices. I still wonder how that ever went down. People of the past sure had some aggression issues-I can't believe people today think video games are too violent!! I think this proves human beings are just disgusting and will always incorporate mutilation as a spectator sport. Yumm!
Toledo was a great day trip and definitely worth getting out of hot hot Madrid. It was time to board our bus and get to Alicante where once again I could strap on a bikini and run as fast as possible to the sea.
Let me tell you. Coming from the Van Galder (UW Madison insider knowledge), which has a polite plane like formal introduction of the bus driver, rules, and bathroom location, and going to the hot, crowded, loud busses of Spain was a surprise. The "please keep your phone calls short and quiet to respect other passengers" announcement apparently didn't every make it to Spain. 9am is clearly the best time to call your best friend/grandma/boyfriend while sitting right behind sleeping passengers to then chat for 2 hours louder than a Schaller household dinner party (I have an extended family of over 100 people-it gets loud.) About 3 1/2 hours into the 5 hour trip (with no stops) people were starting to get hungry. This is where the real fun began. It had just been quiet for the first time in 3 hours and I had naiively attributed that to the bus settling down. Really, the passengers were just so hungry, they needed sustenance for round 2. As I'd say 3/4 of the passengers were tearing into their packed lunches (Julie and I included) I noticed a little stir of artifacts passengers. Then an all out civil war broke out on the bus. Right next to my aisle seat.
From what my and Julie's combined Spanish abilities concluded, the old couple next to me was extremely mad that everyone was eating on the bus and they were loudly saying (while standing) "You are all uneducated people! Only dummies like you would eat in a car! How dare you!?" being called a dummy must be an offense punishable by death in Spain because now other people were standing, with food in hand, and screaming. This went on, screaming, gesturing, pushing, standing, (don't forget this is all literally in the aisle 3 inches from my face) for about 30 minutes. Then it abruptly all stopped. I still am unaware which side was the victor. Everyone had by that time finished eating so I guess we all won. Glad to report that there were no injuries during the civil war battle on the Madrid-Alicante bus.