Whilst browsing the Internet one day I saw that the group Texas were playing in Albacete. I have never been to see either so I decided to travel to Albacete & see the group, kill two birds with one stone as the saying goes.
My trip to Albacete.
I woke before either of the alarms I set this morning, at about 7 am. I got up & had a coffee before going for a shower & having a shave. After my ablutions, I packed some clothes, my wash bag, my laptop & my tablets into a small rucksack. Then I sat watching television until about 9:15 am when I go outside to get some fresh air & to wait for my neighbour John to pick me up in his car.
We drove to Balsicas & I arrived in plenty of time for my train at 10:30 am. I sat in the cooler waiting room until the train arrived & then boarded the train. It was very clean but otherwise a normal train. This train took me to Orihuela Martinez Hernandez train station where I had to change platforms & get on a new train. This train station was very much like an airport, we had to pass through a waiting line to show our tickets & have all our baggage passed through one scanner as we also walked through a body scanner. The train was waiting on the next platform, the guard told me which way to go to get on my carriage as I had pre-booked my seat. The train was a lot newer & a lot nicer, it was one of the high-speed trains that they use, I watched the speed on the cabin screen but after it passed 300 km/hr the screen stopped showing the speed.
The journey flew by & right on time I arrived in Albacete, at another train station that resembled a modern airport. I walked the short 5-minute walk to the hotel I would be staying in but my room was not quite ready. I checked in & then went to a nearby shop to buy a slice of pie & a bottle of coke. I had stopped for a beer in a nearby cafe but after waiting 20 minutes & not even being acknowledged I got up & went for a walk & found a small bakery. After my short walk, I went back to the hotel & my room was ready.
The room was very small, it looks more like one used by people working here during the week. It was tidy & clean but nothing special, maybe that's why it has only two stars. When I get to my room I unpack & try to use the WIFI but the password I have been given doesn't work. I go back to reception & they said they will reset the modem. There are no USB charging points, no fridge, no kettle, no water & no tea-making facilities. The shower is so close to the toilet that if I need to use the toilet I have to open the shower door or turn sideways. I think I will just fit in the shower but I will leave that till tomorrow to test. I need a rest so I try to sleep for an hour or so before going out for a look around.
At about 6:30 pm I go out looking for an Italian restaurant I have seen that looks quite good. Unfortunately, when I get there it doesn't open till 8:30 pm. I carry on walking through a park area that goes through the middle of the road I am staying on. After walking for a while I come to a beautiful fountain & I sit down next to it for a while to cool off. Whilst sitting there I also see an old train engine that is on display in the park. After getting my breath back & cooling off a bit I walk back to the hotel but stop off at a Consum supermarket. I buy two cans of beer, Budweiser 330cl for 61 cents a can, bargain, & some iced pastries, they should keep me going until I go out for something to eat later.
When I get back to the hotel the WIFI is now working, I look at the football scores, open a can of beer & lay on my bed to rest my legs for a while. I think all the extra walking I did today & the heat got to me. When I sat down I didn't want to get up again, I wasn't very hungry & by 9 pm I was in bed.
I woke at about 8 am today. I did sleep well last night & felt better this morning. I went down for breakfast in the hotel, I had paid extra to include the breakfast buffet.
When I got to the buffet I was told I could have coffee with or without milk. The breakfast buffet consisted of ham & cheese obviously straight out of a multi-pack, I was told I could have two pieces. I surreptitiously took 2 pieces of ham & hid a slice of cheese underneath. I picked up a roll, toasted it, & sat down to enjoy my sumptuous breakfast with coffee & milk, & a glass of orange. Being somewhat hungry I waited till the guard wasn't looking & took a Croissant & quickly put jam on one side & honey on the other side.
After breakfast, I went back to my room for a shower. This isn't a complaint about this hotel but all hotel suppliers. The shampoo & shower gel bottles are so small that I can't read the writing, even with my glasses on. I am sure my albeit short hair, smells nice this morning & looks well gelled up, whilst my never regions probably look shiny & my hair there bounces with body & will make people's heads turn & wonder what brand of shampoo I use.
After my shower, I sit in my room for a while just looking at Google maps to see what I can go & see within walking distance of the hotel. I walk through a shopping area but everything is shut not even the cafes are open. I continue walking until I get to Abelardo Sanchez park. I have a look around the park, stopping to look at some of the statues in the park or to just get some rest under the shade of the trees. I look at Google Maps on my mobile phone & see that there is a botanical park within walking distance so I head off to the park.
It got very hot & I had to stop a few times en route to the park to rest my legs a little but I did manage the walk, through Albacete to the botanical garden of Castilla La Mancha. I did enjoy walking around the garden, through the cacti & succulent house & taking photographs as I walked around. Whilst walking through the garden I saw a huge spider in its web, wrapping up its prey in a web of silk to save & eat later. I did get a good close-up photo that you can see in my trip photos.
After walking through the gardens I decided to go for something to eat & I walked back to the Italian restaurant that I went to yesterday & found closed. It was a long walk, & I had to stop many times to get my breath back & rest my feet, which were by now swelling up. I arrived at the Italian restaurant, Pizzeria Day & Night, absolutely shattered. I went inside to a beautiful air-conditioned restaurant & was immediately shown to a table by a waiter who gave me a menu. I looked through the menu & decided on a Fruits of the Sea Pizza, which had tomato, mozzarella, prawns, tuna, anchovies & egg on it. It was beautiful & I washed it down with a cold bottle of water.
After leaving the restaurant I went to a Consum store to get a bottle of water for my hotel room & then went back to the hotel to get some sleep before I go out tonight to see Texas in concert.
Texas in concert.
I woke up feeling a bit more refreshed & decided to walk to the place Texas was playing. According to Google maps, it was straight up the road my hotel is on. I walked for about 3.5 km & came to a road bridge over a motorway that went to an industrial estate. The bridge had a small concrete path on one side of it so I walked over it. When I got to the other side of the bridge the path ended & the walkway was closed off by a fence. I had no choice but to continue to the venue which was supposed to be, according to Google maps, less than a few hundred metres away, walking up the road. Following Google's instructions, I turned right into an industrial estate where Google & my mobile phone announced that I had arrived at my destination. I was in fact at a Spanish Vehicle testing centre. I was absolutely shattered & I was now panicking about how I would find the place the concert was on.
Whilst I stood at the side of the road, a car pulled up next to me with two young ladies in it. They asked me if I knew where the venue for the Texas concert was. I explained that just like them, I had come here using Google & was now lost. They told me they thought they might know where it was so I gave them my best, I´m a harmless little chap smile, & asked if I could get a ride with them. Amazingly they said yes & opened the door so I could get in. Not many young girls would of, or should of, given a strange man that they have just met, who doesn't speak their language, a lift. They however were very good & they did. Luckily they found the venue not very far away & parked right next to the venue so I didn't have to walk too far. If you read this girls, thank you very much I couldn't have gone on without your help.
The venue was just opening so I went inside to cool down & get a beer. I ordered a bottle of beer & the woman working gave me two bottles of beer. I gave her €10 & she complained that I didn't have the right money, a lady in the queue behind me stepped forward & gave her 20 cents so that she would not have to bother counting out change for me. The bottled beer worked out at €2.60 for a 330cl bottle which I thought was quite good. I thanked the lady for the 20 cents & sat at the only table at the horrible little bar at the venue. Very quickly a long line formed at the bar & I was pleased I got there early. Within about 20 minutes they had completely run out of bottled beer & were only selling poorly poured draught beer in plastic cups. I finished my beer & went to my seat to watch Texas perform.
I loved Texas they were brilliant & it was strange listening to so many Spanish singing along at the top of their voices in English, with Spanish accents. When the first half of the concert had finished the group had a break & I went for two more beers, this time, small plastic cups of draught beer that cost 4€ each. It was no wonder the bottled beer ran out so quick at that price.
When I went back to the concert I moved forward a few rows to a section that was almost completely empty & had been set aside for wheelchair users. My legs had become really painful being squashed up sitting in a normal row & no one complained when I hobbled down to the disabled section with my stick. It was nice to be able to stretch my legs out straight in front of me & I watched the rest of the concert from the disabled section. Unfortunately, when everyone got up to dance in the second half of the show it became apparent that the disabled section was on the same level as the few rows in front of it & nobody in a wheelchair could see anything when the rows in front got up to dance. This was very poor planning by whoever positioned the disabled section, luckily for me I was able to stand up & lean on my walking stick to see the show.
I loved all the songs but at the end of the show, I was blown away by Sharleen Spiteri when she announced the last song she would do was by ´The King´. She went on to say that if people didn't know who ´The King´ was they could leave & go home. She then sang ´Suspicious Minds´ by Elvis. It was absolutely brilliant & has to be one of the best versions I have ever heard.
When the concert finished I went outside to look for a taxi, there was no way I could walk home, my legs were too swollen & in too much pain. Unfortunately for me, there is no taxi rank outside the venue, luckily there is a big hotel next to it. I walked to the hotel & asked the receptionist to ring me a taxi to take me back to the hotel I was staying at. The young girl rang me a taxi & said it would pull up right outside but it may be a little while before it gets there. I walked outside to wait & within five minutes I was picked up by a silent, electric-powered taxi. The taxi took me back to the hotel I was staying at & by about 1 am I was back in my small room & could take a pain killer. I was soon fast asleep.
Killing time & going home.
I woke around 8 am & went down for breakfast at about 8:45 am. The breakfast was again poor, I had two croissants, one with ham & cheese & the other with jam & honey. I washed it down with a cold coffee & a glass of orange before going back to my room for a shower.
After having my shower I packed my rucksack & at 11 am I checked out of the hotel. I decided to go for a walk in one of the other nearby parks. It was quite nice but it soon became apparent that yesterday's walking had taken more out of me than I thought. Very quickly my legs began to swell up again & I had to stop for a rest & a pain killer. I decided that although I had planned on more exploring I wasn't in a fit enough condition to do any.
I made my way to the train station & sat down with a bottle of water & my kindle to read, I had 5 ½ hours until my train arrived. I discovered that upstairs was a Mcdonald's, there were no bars so I went there for something to eat. I had a meal deal with, burger, chips & chicken nuggets. I did also have a McBeer, no seriously they do sell beer, so that was a bonus. The food was crap but it filled a hole in my groaning stomach. As I left I noticed that the place next to Mcdonald's was a gym. Weirdly it was sponsored by Mcdonald's, the gym emblem looked like the famous golden arches Mcdonald's sign but looked like the first arch had collapsed on the floor, I wish I had thought to photograph it. This trip had a few firsts, my first time seeing Texas, my first time having a beer in a Mcdonald's & my first time seeing a McGym.
After my meal, I walked through security to the part of the station where departures would leave from. It was just like being in an airport but with a lot fewer people. I spent the next few hours reading my kindle until it became time to catch my train. Once again the train was very nice & it again got up to speeds of over 300km an hour.
The train journey from Albacete to Orihuela went by quickly as I read my kindle. When we arrived at Orihuela we went through security again to go back to the normal part of the train station, it became noticeably less nice & the staff were less helpful. I was ushered to a different platform & told to get on the train that was there. I asked a Spanish lady already on the train if it was going to Balsicas & she confirmed it was.
The train stopped at Murcia on the way, as it had on the outward trip. As we sat there a guard came aboard & ushered everyone off the train. He gave us no instructions on why but there was another train next to us with open doors. Everyone just stood there waiting until the electronic signage on the side of the train door confirmed it was going to take us the rest of the way. The train wasn't as nice as the very posh AVE train but was comfortable & soon had me back at Balsicas where I exited the train. I was very happy when I saw my neighbour John sitting there waiting for me, my legs were once again hurting quite a lot.
I was soon home in my apartment, I put the air conditioning on & lay down to rest on my sofa. I believe it was because my neighbours were so happy I was home safe & sound that a welcome home, rock & roll band was now playing outside at Plaza del Espejo. It would not be a quiet night but after taking another painkiller I didn't care & was soon fast asleep in bed.
I really enjoyed my weekend away & quite liked the city of Albacete. If you asked me if I would stay in the same hotel again I would say definitely not. If you asked me if I would visit Albacete again, I would say, possibly. If you asked if I would go & see Texas in concert again, I would say, absolutely & if you get a chance to go & see them yourself, they are brilliant.