It is currently 31°C whilst I write this on my roof terrace at 9pm as Spain experiences an unseasonal heat wave. Even though my sister back in dreary Lancashire tells me she has her heating on it was 39°C in Córdoba this afternoon. It probably has something to do with El Niño or the Sirocco from the Sahara one or the other will be blamed or simply a divine something picked up Spain and moved it a few million miles closer to the sun – that’s what it felt like today. And the evening light breeze is all that stands between me and sweat. The chilled red wine helps too.

I’ve just returned from a short trip to Madrid via Spain’s high speed train service that wings one along from Córdoba to Madrid Atocha in just 1h 43m. Somebody said it is like flying on the ground and it is but with the added bonus of legroom, lots of it.

I stayed in the centre of Madrid at a hotel (actually it was a hostal but that word reminds me too much of my backpacking trip around India last year) a couple of stops away from Atocha on the metro. The metro station is called Vodafone Sol, yes you read that right… bloody Vodafone complete with their logo. Can you imagine this happening on the London underground? EE Limited incorporating Orange & T-Mobile Elephant & Castle or Phones 4u now in administration Bromley-by-Bow, no? And neither can I. Somehow, I manage to hate Vodafone and T-Mobile are not far behind either, in fact if I had taken a black marker pen, the indelible ink type of course, then I’d have defaced all of the signs.

Anyway, it is not my first visit to Madrid but this time I took a bit more in. I stayed or strayed within a 1 square km of my hostal, I mean hotel, visiting hostelries and just observing. I stumbled across several Indian restaurants in my 1 km² stroll but the prices weren’t a patch compared with the curry mile in Rusholme but I looked on in envy all the same.

Maybe it is because I haven’t lived in a city for a long while but I noticed there were a lot of places where you can recharge your phone/laptop/tablet for free. It’s not like that in these parts although I can recharge my phone behind the bar at my local.

Another thing I noticed, and this is Spain in general, there is a rule (or maybe even a decree) that certain things cannot be done before 1st July, i.e. municipal pools cannot open (and they promptly have to close on or about 31st August, even if the sun is still cracking the flags or melting the tarmac). And females cannot discard their tights which seems blatantly unfair to a man who likes bare legs, even my own. I also noticed that red wine is not served chilled unlike in Andalucía where it is civilised to be offered a choice once the weather hots up a bit. Shame for the Madrileños who have to wait until 1st July. Andalucía has always been rebellious I suppose.

And now at 9.40pm the light is fading, my glass is empty and the sky is red. It is going to be another hot one tomorrow. Hotter than July.

Hotter than July