Friday, October 14, 2016

Improved Traveling Experiences in the Greater Madrid Megalopolis

Thursday, 13 October, 2016:

It was another rainy day in the nation's capital but that would not deter us from major efforts to improve our situation.

Around midday I was picked up by Enrique Martín Alonso, the Osos' Team President, for the ride to Leganés to purchase my Public Transportation Pass.

In the Leganés Metro Stop

Buying one of these passes used to be a simple matter of just stopping by the nearest tobacco store or Metro stop but no more.

Before going on with my tale, I would like to mention something about Spain's government controlled tobacco shops. Besides tobacco these stores also sell postage stamps, souvenirs and other knick-knacks. As mentioned, they no longer handle transportation passes. In the old days the government gave the posts of running individual tobacco stores to military veterans or their widows. This gave said families a steady income and a modicum of additional status/dignity as government employees.

I suddenly have an urge for a puro (Cuban cigar).

Back to our story, now you have to make an appointment on line and are then directed to whichever Metro Stop Customer Information Center has an opening in the near future.

It took nearly ten days for us to get this appointment all the way across Madrid from La Casa Grande's location in Arganda del Rey but it was worth it.

Normally this Transportation Pass costs about 80 Euros for 30 days of transportation all busses, Metros and Cercania trains in the Communidad de Madrid (Madrid County). 

Have they got a deal for us!

Because I am, shall we say, a mature traveller I got a hefty discount. All of this freedom to move about Madrid for only 12.30 Euros for 30 days.

Gracias Enrique and the Osos.


Thus I celebrated

I spent most of the day back at La Casa Grande alternating between reading and preparing for our Stings practice tonight and Friday's Osos practice.

Jesús was heading back to Gijón with Ricardo Martín to pack up the rest of his family's belongings and bring his wife and two daughters back to Madrid on Friday.

With Jesús on the road, I got the opportunity to drive the Land Rover owned by Enrique that he has graciously allowed us to use this past week.

I needed it to drive up to Guadalajara for the Stings' 9:15 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. workout.

I decided to leave early to better see the countryside and revisit Alcalá de Henares on a day when thousands of tourists were not in town as they were last Saturday during the Mercado Medieval festival.

 An American Baptist
Missionary from Idaho
to the RESCUE!

I made it to Alcalá de Henares with a minimum of trouble and headed straight to the Plaza Cervantes where, due to my Parking Karma, easily found a parking spot on the Plaza.

But I had to pay 1 Euro for it at a dilapidated parking kiosk.

Oft used, all of the appropriate colored buttons that I was asked to push no longer had colors. I was in a bit of a jam.

Suddenly, from behind me an American voice asked "You're an American having some trouble, right?"


He had seen me put my Euro in the kiosk and then just stand there confused on my next step. He said that all that I had to do was press the green button.

What green button?

He directed me to the correct selection and I now had both my necessary parking pass and my newest friend in Spain.

We, of course, exchanged pleasantries but he never told me his name.

He has lived in Spain for several years doing missionary work and currently is working out of the Centro Evangelico in Alcalá de Henares.

When he found out that I was in Spain coaching American football with both the Osos and the Stings he lit up. By the end of our encounter, the Stings had their newest fan in search of buying season tickets.

I mentioned that I graduated from the University of Washington which the Reverend into a positive rant of delight about the UW's Head Coach Chris Petersen who previously was Boise State's leader.

I agreed with him wholeheartedly.

You meet the nicest people when you travel.

 One goal was to see a bit more of
the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares

The Universidad currently serves about 29,000 under-graduate and graduate students.

 Nice Courtyard

 The Universidad was founded by
Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros
in 1500 and opened in 1508

Thus the religious symbols around the campus . . .

. . . like this one

An old Façade

Same Façade up close

I liked it but don't know what
its exact purpose might be . . .

 . . . ditto

Kind of a "Prisoner in the Rock
style" sculpture of 
Luis Astrana Marin

Apparently, Señor Astrana Marin was a great lover of all things related to both Cervantes and Alcalá de Henares.

Nice tribute to a favorite son,

More religious symbolism

Fountain to honor Field Workers

How are the Detroit Lions
doing this year?

Alcalá de Henares at night

After a quick and typically delicious jamon y queso bocadillo, I was off to Guadalajara to meet with my beloved Stings.

The Pride of Guadalajara
Warming Up

Although we had 15 players at our damp, chilly practice, I only had two offensive line men to coach.

So much for all of the practice planning.

Still we endured as each and every one of the 15 Stings gave the effort needed to improve their individual skills.


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