Los Picos de Europa

~The High Altitude Diaries~

By:  Jean Gonzalo

Week Five

Wednesday, July 12, 2000

 I woke up at 8:30 a.m.  I slept very well last night.  It’s amazing that my bones don’t hurt!  Miguel’s brother told me to drink water and sugar and take one aspirin, which I did last evening.  Today we’re packing our things to go to Madrid this afternoon.  We went all around to the relatives to say goodbye.  It will really be hard to say goodbye to the parents.  We ate dinner early today, around 1:30 p.m.  Miguel is going to take a little nap before we leave.  His brother, Jesus, is driving his car back to Madrid also.

Saying goodbye to the parents and the loved ones was hard.  It took us five hours to get to Madrid.  We stopped a couple of times for “refreshments.”  We got to Jesus’ house where we visited awhile and his wife, Maribel, made a big supper.  We ate at 11:00 p.m.  After supper we visited some more and went to bed at 1:00 a.m.

Thursday, July 13, 2000

I woke up at 9:00 a.m.  I slept very well.  Jesus lives in a suburb of Madrid called Torrejon.  Years ago it was an American base.  Now the Spanish have taken it over.  However, the jets fly over periodically and make a lot of noise.  Later this evening, we’re going to get together with Miguel’s other brother, Honorino, and his family.  Tomorrow we’ll be flying out to the US.

Jesus drove over to Honorino’s at 8:00 p.m.  It was a 20 minute drive.  There was a lot of traffic.  We arrived and had to wait for Honorino’s wife, Santa, to come home from work, which was about 10:00 p.m.  In the meantime, two more of Miguel’s relatives came over to visit, a niece, Cristina, and a nephew, Felix.  Around 11:00 p.m. we all went out to a nearby restaurant to eat.  There was ham and octopus to start the meal.  Then shrimp, then steaks, lamb ribs, and fried potatoes.  For dessert there was flan, ice cream, tart, cheese, wine and bread.  We left the restaurant at 12:30 a.m.  We said our goodbyes, then arrived at Jesus’ house around 1:30 a.m.  I wanted to come home earlier, but the talking goes on and on.  I went to bed right away.

Friday, July 14, 2000

I awoke at 7:30 a.m.  We’ll prepare to go to the airport around 9:30 a.m.  We have to turn in the rental car.  I went to the airport cafeteria and had some coffee.  I refrained from eating or drinking anything, as air travel doesn’t sit well with my stomach.  I said goodbye to Miguel’s brother, Jesus, and his wife, Maribel.  They were so gracious to us.  They said they are going to visit us in the US next year.

We flew out of Madrid to London.  We arrived in London.  Miguel’s flight to Los Angeles was boarding when we arrived.  We said our goodbyes.  My flight to Boston was an hour later.  I boarded a jumbo jet.  The flight to Boston was a very good flight, but very long.  Paul was waiting for me at Logan.

I was very tired but very happy to be back in the US.  Miguel arrived safe and sound in California  about 7:00 p.m.

Observations about Spain and its People

  • You can travel in Spain from north to south in about 10 hours.

  • The people are very friendly and love to talk.

  • There are 4 million people living in Madrid.

  • Northern Spain is very cool in the summertime with much rainfall.

  • The pisos, or apartments, in Madrid are very small (room size) compared to the US apartments.

  • Women wear mostly black shoes all year round, as the streets are very dirty.

  • You see policemen (civil guards) standing around the streets with machine guns in their hands.

  • The people of Spain are on the thin side.  You hardly see any obese people.

  • The senior citizens of Spain have a good income from Social Security and all medical bills, doctors, and hospitals are paid for by the government.

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four