Category Archives: Spain


The flight to Tenerife was chaotic. It was a sold out flight, and the passengers were a youthful demographic. I am not saying they were all feral but there was a sizable number who seem to  have been dragged up. After a spot of turbulence I decided to avail of the facilities. The agitated, young man in  front of me  in the queue starting banging the toilet door shouting ‘Will you hurry up, I’m dying for a slash!’. I recoiled in horror. The occupant was a companion of his and the expletive laden response burned my ears. Everybody seemed to order multiple mini bottles of hard liquor for the flight. Being far classier, I demurely sipped my bottle of flat warm Diet Coke, while reading ‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan. I ordered pasta for lunch estimating a twenty minutes delivery time. I took my insulin injection at what I thought was a reasonable time before food would arrive. One hour later there was no sign of it, and the food trolley was still far away. I was starting to feel poorly so I invoked the help of the lovely Clondalkin girls beside me who fed me a Kit Kat. ‘Are you alright love? My sister’s s diabetic. It’s a SCOORGE.’

My friends collected me in the rental car and we made our way to the villa in Adeje on the south west of the island, which was to be our home for the next five nights. Four days before our arrival I had received an email from informing me that due to an ‘electrical fault’ at the property our reservation had been cancelled. No alternative was offered – leaving us without a place to stay mere days before departure. With four of us in the group I was stressed – booking rooms had been my job. Thankfully AirBNB offered a few alternatives. Several were managed by a character named Oksana however – the same charlatan who had cancelled our reservation. Avoiding all properties managed by her, I located a beautiful house with a pool, only marginally more expensive than the previous place. That evening we dined on steak – mine as always, rare – and met a Scottish couple. They had been a couple for a few years – she’d been widowed three years earlier and this was her first subsequent relatrionship. We consumed a few beverages with them.

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My weekend in Madrid

My first visit to Madrid was in 2007. The memories are hazy, but there was a sense that it was a city that I would revisit one day. It was too vast a place to absorb in a solitary trip. I felt joy when Aer Lingus had a sale in September – a return journey cost a hundred euros. As I was still on my post pandemic travel binge, I booked my flight and accommodation. I would be making my triumphant return to the capital of Spain between the 9th and 13th December.

Along the way I acquired some travel companions. I am comfortable as a solitary traveller but am amenable to some company on the way. I will book my trips in the expectation that I will be a sole wanderer and if I acquire some companions en route then this is a bonus. In the end it was a group of four – two who were travelling on Ryanair at 9.30am and two (myself included) who were taking Aer Lingus flight EI0594 at 17.30 that evening.

In the days pre departure, the forecast from Madrid looked ominous – it was an unseasonably wet December in Spain- with persistent rain forecast for the duration of our stay. The temperatures were mild, but the rain promised to be constant. So much so that a few days before take-off our travel numbers were reduced to three. Disappointing but it was still going to be exciting. Among us we have agreed that the Saturday would be spent exploring the ancient city of Toledo. Located about an hour by train from Madrid, this was a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most historically significant towns in Spain. I had almost visited back in 2007, but the shenanigans the night before rendered me unfit for purpose on the day of travel. It was finally time to rectify this. A return visit to the Prado Museum was also on the cards. This was a ‘must see’ for both my travel companions and as such I was willing to participate.

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