Friday, February 20, 2015

Trains in Spain: Precision Tardiness

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings I teach English in a little town not far outside Madrid. It's just three stations away from the Principe Pio commuter train station near the city center. The trip takes less than 20 minutes and the business where the classes are held is about a five minute walk from the town's station.

Because these classes start at 8:30am on Monday and 8am on Wednesdays and Fridays, I was very happy to learn that there are weekday commuter trains originating at Principe Pio that are scheduled to depart every 30 minutes, at 3 minutes and 36 minutes after the hour. Perfect timing for me!

Well, I have been taking these trains for around six months now and have truly been impressed at their fidelity to the times they leave the station. The scheduled departure times appearing on the platform sign next to the waiting trains are always 7:33 and 8:03 and the times appearing on the clocks inside the trains when they head out are 7:36 and 8:06 – precisely 3 minutes late.

Now, nobody's perfect. Once or twice the trains have left at 7:34 and 8:07.

Still, I for one believe RENFE (Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles—National Network of Spanish Railways) can take pride in the fact that at least these particular trains of theirs so consistently hit the exact same missed mark.

Update: 27 February, 2015: OMG, for the first time since I've been taking these trains, this morning's left on time!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Spain's Acadamy Awards; Cervantes' grave; King Cake = Rosca de Reyes; Mosque or Cathedral; Top 20 TV programs in one word

Spain-related Newsvine posts:

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Spain's top 20 TV broadcasts in 2014 can be summed up in one word: Soccer

It's not too often that a national network brags that an episode of one of its series hit the number 21 spot, but that is just what happened in Spain recently. Late last week Telecinco proudly announced that the May 6th episode of 'El Principe' was NOT the most watched TV broadcast of 2014 ...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Winners of El Gordo, Spain's Billion Dollar Christmas Lottery, Announced

Hundreds of lucky ticket holders are celebrating in Spain after winning a share of the annual Christmas lottery known as El Gordo, or the Fat One. The world's biggest Christmas lottery, this year's total prize money came to over 2.2 billion euros. Winning tickets came from across the country, including Valencia, Cadiz and Madrid.

Vikings in Spain / Spanish Language Media Spreading Russian Disinformation About the Amero / Holiday Greetings

All things Spanish from Newsvine:

Vikings may have siesta'd in Spain, claims researcher in Scotland

Dr Irene Garcia Losquino is now aiming to secure funding for a comprehensive archaeological examination of possible Norse communities in Iberia. A number of stone Viking anchors were washed ashore in the Galicia region following a storm in March. Dr Losquino, of the universit …
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Merry Christmas from Madrid, Spain (photos) / Feliz Navidad desde Madrid, España (fotos)

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                                             Taken with my  ...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Country Roads Catalonia / Carreteras campestres Cataluña / Carreteres campestres Catalunya

Spanish Dictionary Accused of Racism / Police Woman Returns From Mtaernity Leave, Gets Killed In Shootout / Real Madrid's Breaks Own Record

My latest on Newsvine.

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Anti-Gypsy Sentiment Creates Demand For Royal Spanish Academy Recall

The definition of gypsies in the Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary has been reported to say that gypsies are liars and cheats, a definition that has caused many people within the Hindu community to feel absolutely disgusted. The President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan  …

Police woman returned from maternity leave killed in bank robbery shootout

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A 36 year-old policewoman was killed and her partner gravely injured in a confrontation with a suspected bank-robber earlier today in the city of Vigo, Spain. A shootout between police and a suspected thief at the entrance to a bank in this city on Spain's Atlantic coast en … 
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Madrid extends record winning streak
Real Madrid rewrote the club's record books after beating Malaga 2-1 to record their 16th successive win in all competitions. Goals from Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale proved decisive as the European champions continued their phenomenal run of form which has seen them brush aside …

Thursday, November 27, 2014

¡El diabólico ingenio de su malvado plan es magnifico!

I just wanted to write down the Spanish translation of one of my favorite lines from Star Trek. It's from the Bride of Chaotica (La Novia de Caótica) episode of Star Trek Voyager. And it sounds just as great in Spanish as in English, IMO.

"The clever fiendishness of your evil plan is brilliant!" = "¡El diabólico ingenio de su malvado plan es magnifico!"

Sunday, November 23, 2014

As tourism to Spain grows, Spaniards staying home: study finds continuing decrease in 'outbound' travel

Spain's economy may be on the rebound, but the ripple effects from the crash that began in 2008continued to impact negatively on outbound tourism during 2013. 

Spanish consumers seem more focused on debt reduction and saving than ever before. Reducing and eliminating non-essential spending, including travel, is now the Spanish way, according to
Euromonitor International.

The new report, "Tourism Flows Outbound in Spain," finds that Spaniard's visiting European countries continued to decrease in 2013 and the number of visitors on long haul destinations declined as well. 

About 60% of departures in Spain are made during the summer holidays, with Easter, Christmas (although traditionally spent with the family), New Year’s and national holidays accounting for most of the remaining 40%.

Read more here.

Trying to solve the mystery of murdered poet Federico Garcia Lorca's burial site / Madrid soccer team to help widow evicted from home

My latest Newsvine articles:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Spain is a lapsed Catholic country as well as a lapsed democracy

Monedero & Iglesias
Or so says Spanish political scientist Juan Carlos Monedero Fernández-Gala 

In a sardonic interview published in today's  El Mundo newspaper, Monedero was asked why so many atheists believe in Pablo Iglesias (the leader of the new and increasingly popular crowdfunded political party Podemos) and so many believers do not? His reply:

"We're a lapsed Catholic country, just as we're a lapsed democratic country."

Monday, November 10, 2014

¡Sí, se puede! ¿O no? Catalan Independence? Podemos in Power?

My latest Newsvine article looks at the independence consultation in Catalonia on November 9, while my last post was to a guide to Spain's new Podemos political party:

At 80% In Favor, Catalonia Overwhelmingly Voted For Independence From Spain. Or Did It?

An informal vote on independence in the Autonomous Region of Catalonia, Spain has shown more than 80% of participants in favor of separation from the country, local officials have said. Spanish media is reporting that a total of 2,236,806 persons out of an estimated …
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Sunday, November 9, 2014

An American votes in Catalonia's independence consultation (Video)

Kieth Kirwen is from Montana but lives in Catalonia.