Despite the weatherman promising us rain for today, the sun was still shining by the time I had finished breakfast and so, late in the morning, I set out with a list of errands for this Friday.
First I headed to the Alianza Francesa / Alliance Francaise where tickets were pressed on me for a French film tonight and information about other activities to come. From there I continued down towards Policarpo Sanz, where the protest whistles were blowing for the Banco de Santander. It's noisy enough at that corner at the best of times with road works that have been going on ever since we arrived here if not before. The Union General del Trabajo, armed with red flags, were picketing the entrance, making all the bank customers stop and look at their banner with its protest about job cuts.
Further along Policarpo Sanz, in the Caixa Galicia bank all was quiet. Even though it is only a short distance from the Banco de Santander, once you enter the building all street noises disappear. I was there to collect tickets for a concert. Apparently the online ticket-sales agencies don't trust Spanish postage and send all tickets to the branch of Caixa Galicia of your choice. There was some confusion there because the machine dispensing tickets to tell you when it was your turno was not dispensing tickets. However, after some huffing and puffing from people who had been quietly sitting and waiting we managed to form an almost British-style queue.
I decided to extend my walk a little, going the long way round instead of directly back towards El Corte Ingles on Gran Via. And I was rewarded, for on Garcia Barbon I discovered that an almost medieval-looking stall had popped up selling sweets to rot your teeth and teas and concoctions to cure you of almost every ailment possible. Also on sale was the mysterious Holy Rose of Jericho which claimed to be able to relieve stress and get rid of misfortune and bad luck. Just folllow the instructions!
In the meantime Rosalia de Castro, the street not the Galician poet, was decked out in flowers, well, blossom on the trees, reason enough in itself to stroll along the street. Outside La Porchaba, where they serve an excellent range of tapas, tables were out on the pavement under the tree and people were already having a pre-lunch beer.
However, in that strange anomaly in modern Spain, the throwback to a former time, the men-only bar with its barrels for tables, it seemed that serious drinking was already going on.The gentlemen drinking there did not object to having their photo taken but the barman insisted that there should be no more photos and so I continued on my way.
There was just time to pick up a few things from El Corte Ingles. So I tramped back up the hill towards Gran Via which had gone all Amsterdam on us and covered itself with tulips.
Errands finished, the time had come to head for home. The sunshine was making me feel positively summery - this was the day to make gazpacho for lunch!