Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Found in Alcala de Henares on a December walk

The birthplace of Cervantes was an excellent place to pitch up in on a puente day. Four teachers of English, too poor and distressed to go any further than our abonos and a few euros could stretch, we spent the afternoon in this fascinating town which is about 5o minutes out of Madrid on the suburban train. We were excited to discover it was one of those double decker trains and of course we sat upstairs!

Arriving in Alcala, our lunchtime stopping off point was a bar that served vermut on draught for a bargain 1 euro and 90 cents and provided hearty free tapas too. This is how we survive in Madrid. The drinks are cheap and we get fed too! I am living a student life and not that of a teacher as I had planned!

Alcala is an historic town - the home of Spain's oldest university - and there are some very beautiful buildings, as well as an attractive town square dedicated to Cervantes. We wandered the streets, taking photos and admiring the architecture and the sight of storks nesting high above the streets. The shops were putting up their decorations and bringing out their belenes
Alcala deserves a return visit for the birthplace museum and some interesting art galleries and museums. The town is now famous for being the site of the memorial for the victims of the Madrid train bombings. Located alongside the railway station, it's sobering place to remember the 191 lives that were cut short by terrorists by rucksack bombs on 11 March 2004.

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