The bus from Villafranca was supposed to take half an hour and connect with the 10.40 “superbus” to Madrid, for which I had paid a higher fare. The best laid plans… My bus was about 2 minutes late and the Madrid bus must have been 2 minutes early!
I don’t know which was worse – sitting in the Ponferrada bus staion for 3.5 hours, or sitting on the slow bus to Madrid for 5 hours! Fortunately, I had a leftover “picnic” of pulpo, which the waitress had kindly parceled up for me in a shrink wrap the previous night. I could have done with more to drink though, and the driver seemed reluctant to let people off at stops.
The road to Madrid was exceedingly boring across long flat plains. A DVD of “The Butler” was showing, but no-one seemed to have any headphones. It seemed like an interesting film to while away the afternoon, especially as it was in English with Spanish subtitles.
On arrival at the Bus Station “Sur”, I knew it would be an expensive taxi ride through busy traffic to reach the Hotel Puerto America, 4 kms north of the centre. It was! (€15)
The hotel was certainly different! I was given an iPad and asked to select a floor. Each floor had been designed by a different architect. I was a bit too tired to think properly, and couldn’t really be bothered to look through information about 10 floors, so I chose No. 6, with designs by an Aussie architect, Mark Newson. The corridor to my room was bright red plastic. The room itself was in dark grey leather and dark grey plastic, with the bathroom done entirely in white Carrera marble with light grey markings. Stunning!
I had a G & T from the minibar, and then later went for dinner in the posh restaurant, I was first in there at 9.15 p.m. Menu: light cream soup with scallops and courgettes, followed by stewed oxtail in red wine; then a gluttonous dessert: a cross between a bread and butter pudding and a crème brulee (€50). There were at least 7 waiters hovering around and only one other couple, till a group arrived well after 10 p.m.
|Luxurious hotel room|