Hail Caesar! AVE Madrid!

Valencia used to be a quiet, peace-loving place, but these days the Valencian tranquillity is facing a new threat to the triple ‘s’ success story of sun, sand and sangria, as a new danger looms in the west. Madrid is getting closer!
Since December 2010, a new, giant species of poultry has been landing on the banks of the wide, majestic Turia River, as the high speed train (AVE) brings hundreds of sunlight-starved citizens of the nation’s capital to this lazy backwater on the shores of the cradle of civilisation, where ‘rush’ is a four letter word and metaphors are mixed with a complete disregard for style or coherence.

Accustomed to their wide avenues, spacious parks and polite service in up to date department stores, those brave denizens who venture east into the outback will have to get used to winding medieval alleys crammed with belligerent cyclists, the occasional palm tree leaning at a crazy angle and waiters with extraordinarily important phone calls to attend to.
There is a notable lack of pork in Valencia, and those whose diet consists of all the most intimate parts of that fine creature will no doubt be disappointed by the interminable variations of rice and seafood washed down with wines that don’t necessarily have to be Rioja.
There is no Prado, not even a field of potatoes, just the occasional abandoned convent with a few old sketches on the back of a postage stamp that might have been done by Pizarro, but probably not.
Furthermore, we’ve looked at clouds from both sides now and decided against them, putting up instead with this interminable Mediterranean light only with the help of constant sunglasses and living on the shady side of the street.
The people of Madrid, with their captivating Castillian countenances are advised to go west, north, south, or in any other of the various directions open to them, but not to come here. You wouldn’t like it and, anyway, it’s always almost Fallas so we’re just closing, sorry.

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