Greg Eden’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014

Location: Spain

MapDay 8 Madrid
Leave hotel Ayre in Seville at 9 am and walk across the road to get the fast train to Madrid at 10.45. Seville train station is very nice compared to most others with shops and cafes. Train is a good way to travel and this one is probably the best we have been on. It soon gets up to 250kph and we almost fly through the country. Small villages dot the landscape which is barren rolling hills. It is very dry and hot but it is perfect on the train. We are in first class and it costs 50 each for the 2.5 hour trip to Madrid. It is very smooth and comfortable with drinks and food included. We have a Cava Jaume Serra Brut (sparkling white wine) and it is very similar to what we would drink back home. We have learnt some essential Spanish so far - Cava, por favor vino tinto and vino blanco. La Quenta is the bill. We arrive in Madrid  and find our way to the Catalonia Hotel quite easily. It is about 800m from the station. The receptionist is exceptionally friendly and gives us some good tips. She recommends a jazz club for us for tonight. We set off to the Mayor Plaza, the central plaza of Madrid and have a general look around and a late lunch. Back at the hotel we watch the end of the Vuelta stage race on tv and set off to Santa Ana square for pinxtos about 8 pm. We have booked to see a jazz trio at the Central Cafe in Plaza del Angel which is 5 mins walk from the hotel. We arrive at 8.45 and it is a small club with a stage and a grand piano, seating about 100 people. The band is The Ignasi Terraza Trio and from the first bar I know they are really hot. They put on a breathtaking performance and blow the joint apart. This rates with the best musical performances I have ever seen. The band's tribute to Oscar Peterson is incredible and the pianist is blind. Unbelievable!! I get to talk to him and his amazing drummer after the show and he signs a CD for me and gives me his card to see if I can find contacts to get him some gigs in Aus. This was an unforgettable night - to fluke such an intimate performance in a club on our only night in Madrid will leave me with fond memories of this place forever. It is wonderful to see the sights that Europe has to offer and to marvel at the historic monuments but nothing moves the soul like a special live performance of music and this was special. Mal and Kerry and Ruth assured me that they all enjoyed it immensely too. Mal was particularly taken with the drummer and bass player. He was thinking about taking up drums - until tonight!! Found a bar and had a late coffee while everyone around us was just starting their night. I don't think this city ever sleeps. It is the 3rd biggest city in Europe after London and Paris.