SEE THE WORLD AND SEE WORLD THEATRE
Almagro is just another world. It is everything I expected of remote La Mancha and more…
The four hour train journey from Barcelona went through barren plains interspersed with comparatively small areas of intense agriculture. The train deposited me at Ciudad Real with a 2 hrs 40 minute wait for the Madrid train which would take me 1 Stop to Almagro for €3.20. No one at the train station information spoke English but they were most obliging in helping me. So what to do for 2 hours after being on train for 4 hrs? I decided to see what Ciudad Real was all about, especially as it’s the setting for Lope’s Fuenteovejuna.
The town seemed very modern and after about 10 mins walk in the heat of the day I took refuge in a very beautiful plaza with a lake and magnificent plantings. Public gardens of this type feature very strongly and they are certainly a welcome respite from the intense sun. And that was all I saw of Ciudad Real except a poster for a bull fight which was to happen in August.
My arrival in Almagro was reminiscent of the opening scene in Wake in Fright. One train track, a station master who was locking up for lunch and me. Before he disappeared down the track, I managed to ask him for a taxi. Without a word, he indicated around the front of the incredibly imposing station building, along with miming the pressing of buttons for a mobile phone. After Greece I had decided against the hassle of finding SIM card providers, so I was telefono-less and decided to walk to somewhere to get a taxi. I passed through another beautiful plaza and found a bar, a drink and a taxi.
There is no high rise in Almagro except for churches,which are everywhere, and official buildings. The heat is dry but not burning and the plazas, which are also everywhere, provide very welcome shade.
As I’d arrived at 3pm everything was closed till 6pm but the very welcoming receptionist at La Casa del Rector helped with directions around the medieval town to the festival ticket office and made a reservation for me for dinner at the very esteemed restaurant El Corregidor. Incidentally, she knew I was an actress on Neighbours because she had worked in London! I’m not quite sure how that computes in a place like Almagro.
At the ticket office I was welcomed like an esteemed friend and dinner at El Corregidor was everything it boasted about! The picture is of venison in a raspberry reduction with courgettes and peach. Magnifico!