Friday, May 5, 2017

Breakfast in España

Today started off a bit askew. I need to arrange a trip to Bologna on the 15th to attend a concert by my favourite musician, Grigory Sokolov. I suppose I could have done this from home, but I just didn't get to it. So yesterday I went to to the Atocha station to look into a train ticket. Here it is, the station, not the ticket:

And inside that big central section is a tropical forest:

It took me about ten minutes of searching to find the ticket counter. There was a huge lineup with people taking numbers and standing around in clumps. I don't do lineups, so I just left, figuring I would come back first thing this morning. This morning it occurred to me that perhaps I should go to a travel agent instead and ask what is the best way to get to Bologna? Using the internet I found the closest travel agent to where I am and walked there. Apparently it does not exist any more! Then it occurred to me that people don't use travel agents any more! Why didn't I think of this sooner? I guess it is because where I live, we still preserve some traditional practices. I always use a local travel agent as I like dealing with a person face to face. But over here, that is probably just impractical. So I went back on the internet and ended up buying a plane ticket, return, to Bologna from Ryanair, along with reserving a hotel room. Very easy and very quick. Now, if only I could figure out a way to print out my boarding pass without a printer!!

So, after all that, I figured it was definitely time for breakfast! In Spain, one eats breakfast in a bar. There is a bar roughly every half-block and they are not like bars in Canada. Growing up in British Columbia I remember things like separate entrances for men and women. The bars, called "beer parlours" served, of course, beer, and they were dark pits of iniquity with architecture to match. Not so in Spain. The "bar" I had breakfast in this morning is bright and airy and, at 10:30, full of people, families, having breakfast:

You will notice that there are children! Lots of them, in fact. At least half the people in the bar were underage, ranging from toddlers to teens. And while there were certainly lots of bottles on display, pretty well everyone was drinking coffee or orange juice. Mind you, it is not unusual to have beer with breakfast:

As you can see on the side, this is the breakfast menu. There are also smaller plates:

English people would not be able to cope: no tea anywhere!

The appropriate envoi would seem to be "Tea for Two" arranged by Dmitri Shostakovich. As we learn from the note on YouTube:
In 1927 Nilolai Malko challenged Shostakovich to do a orchestral version in just only one hour, but Shostakovich only needed 45 minutes... even if he only could listen to this song once... This orchestration was first performed in 1928 but with the name of Tahití Trot, part of Shostakovich´s ballet, The golden age.

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