A little sleep can make a huge difference. We stayed at the Madrid Pop Hostel, which was a standard Hostel- four bunk beds and a rudimentary shower. After the Hotel Formula One, it seemed like paradise. Of course, we got there at 3 am and they had given our room to someone else, so they went and kicked them out. The internet wasn’t working and the room was cold, but it was better than Hotel Formula One, and it was out of the weather. I got some sleep, and dawn broke bright and dry in Madrid.
I was able to get on the internet for a minute this morning before someone noticed that we were stupidly late, so we hustled out the door to the van. We were able to stop and eat a sandwich and I got directions from the waiter on how to work the strange protocol of Madrid banks- I had to check all of my metal objects into a small locker once I was inside the first bank door. When I closed the locker, I walked away with a small key. I then stood in front of a bullet proof revolving door and pressed a button. After an annoyingly long interval, the door opened and let me into the limbo lock before another bulletproof door opened. I was then able to enter the bank, It took me about fifteen minutes to change the band’s stash of pounds into euros.
Daniel is sicker than Parker got, and Parker got pretty sick. He was too miserable to eat breakfast, and has been asleep in the van ever since. Keef’s van is making good time today- much better than yesterday. It’s a shame that we had the worst day of the tour in the prettiest city on the tour so far. Touring life is like that, though. No matter how gorgeous a city is, how important the show is or how excited you SHOULD be to be in a city, when you’re tired, hungry, your clothes stink and you’re sick and exhausted, who cares? There are essential elements of human happiness that make it very difficult to enjoy much of anything in their absence.
I’ll come back to Madrid and it will be better. It really is a gorgeous city and the people were incredibly friendly. Ask any Spaniard about the Spanish Civil War and a fountain of new information springs forth. The promoter of last night’s show walked me out to the boulevard and pointed in the directions of the various neighborhoods that were destroyed by German and Italian bombs when Madrid was holding off the fascist assault. Franco had predicted that Madrid would fall in three months. The Madrillenos held out for three years. “¡No Pasarån!”
Today is bright, clear and cool and Keef is making some time on the way to Alicante. Our discussion of the fascist bombing of Madrid turned to the same fascists bombing London three years later. We considered how London endured a year or more of steady bombing and refused to capitulate to the Nazis. Contrast to the hysteria into which America collapsed after 9/11. Discuss….
I hope that I didn’t give anyone the impression yesterday that the tour was going miserably. It just sucked yesterday, but we prevailed. We were in good enough spirits as we were leaving Madrid to appreciate how lucky we are to be here. One bad show does not a bad tour make.
Spain is gorgeous. Parker is right about the plains and piedmont of Spain looking like West Texas and the Fronterra Region of Mexico. There are vistas where we can see for miles. It’s mostly flat, with some gentle rolling hills. I think I understand why it was so hard for the Fascists to take Madrid. Flat, scrubby and open country is hard country to march an army across, especially when there were a few freelance American pilots hanging out just to give the fascists some hell.
There are loads of olive orchards by the road here. I can’t believe this rocky soil would support much of anything, but there they are. Olive farmers prune the branches of the trees back and the trunks get massively thick. The really old trees sort of remind me of fat men with lunatic combovers. The younger trees are really gorgeous and sturdy looking. They remind me that I need to get home and prune my grape vines and peach trees.
All of this open space inspired me to put on some Marty Robbins. I am listening to “El Paso.” My dad really loves this song. He loves any song that tells a sad story. Must be genetic…
The Low Lows are two loads of laundry, a hot meal, some open wi-fi and eight hours of sleep away from pure bliss.