28.01.23 — Travel

One Last Hurrah in Murcia

My first blog post about a trip to my auntie and uncle’s place in Murcia was back in 2015. I spent some days down there with my mum and auntie, then took a train up north for my first ever trip to Madrid. It wasn’t my first time in the southern Spanish region, as I first visited in 2009, a year after my auntie and uncle moved there. Since then, I’ve visited plenty of times and had lots of fun – you can check all this out on my travel page.

Fifteen years later, and they have decided that it’s time to sell up and move back to the UK, meaning I’d to make plans to visit my auntie and uncle in their house one last time. I organised this before heading back home for Christmas, and just last week headed from work straight to the train station to begin my journey.

This journey was somewhat chaotic: there’s never a dull moment when I travel. I arrived at Atocha train station to find that half the departures screen was broken. I thus waited a while for my train to appear on the other screen, eventually growing impatient and heading for security. It was there that upon scanning my ticket, one of the security guards let me know that I was at the wrong train station!

I was cursing myself as I ran down to the local train line and tried to find the next train headed to Chamartín, Madrid’s northern train station, in a blind panic. In a stroke of luck, I headed down the first escalator I saw and it led me straight to a train which was just about to depart for where I needed to be. This miraculously pulled up just ten minutes before my train to Murcia left, leaving me just enough time to fly through security and catch my breath.

I always seem to run into drama when I travel, but I’ve never actually missed any connections or been stranded anywhere. It’s a miracle!

This mix up had been caused by the new train service to Murcia which began this year. The city has been incorporated into Spain’s high speed rail network, so my journey was now broken down into two parts: a high speed train or AVE to the capital city of Murica (also called Murcia), then a slower local train Balsicas, a town near my auntie and uncle’s place.

The change of trains was the second part of the journey to go wrong, with the train I was supposed to catch on to Balsicas being cancelled as we were all stood on the platform waiting for it. After 45 minutes of standing around in the cold and without any information, we were finally ushered towards another platform where a train eventually showed up and took us on our merry way.

In between the stress of the mixup in Madrid and then the hour I stood around in the cold in Murcia, I wasn’t feeling great upon arriving in Balsicas. I was greeted by my auntie and the three of us headed to their apartment so I could get some well-needed rest.

The next day I worked from their place, connecting with my team and busily working on some business. I’d taken the next day off in order to attend happy hour at the resort’s bar-restaurant, but it soon became clear that I’d have to do some work the next day in order to wrap up some stuff before a meeting that couldn’t be moved.

Despite this inconvenience, I managed to clock off on time and shower in to head up for a night with my auntie, uncle, and their friends. We had drinks, food, chats, and some good laughs with everyone who’d also attended. We were all sat at a very long table, I said it felt like the last supper!

I enjoyed my wander up to El Casón in the dark, despite the cold.

The next day I worked and connected to my meeting from a handy coworking area just above the bar which we’d been drinking in the night before. I was then met by my auntie and uncle for a drink, after which we headed down to their apartment just to find that some potential buyers were looking around the place. I thus sat by the pool in the sun whilst they finished their viewing.

Once everyone had left, the three of us headed back inside and I put together a spread of sandwiches and other nibbles for lunch. We sat down and ate together, but I’d then to carry on working for a few more hours before I could fully disconnect and enjoy the weekend. That night we went for a meal at a lovely Venezuelan restaurant in another local town, where we shared a mix of dishes and I had the chance to introduce my auntie and uncle to some of the dishes I knew.

The next day I woke up feeling quite worn out after a rough night of sleep and a bunch of cold symptoms that were getting slowly worse. After some breakfast, I headed back to bed for a quick lie down which then turned into a whole afternoon of drifting in and out of naps. I definitely must have needed it!

By the evening I was feeling somewhat better, helped along by a (nearly lethally strong) dose of menthol fumes that my auntie prepared for me. Airways cleared, the three of us headed to a town a mere five minutes drive from their apartment, where I wound up ordering some Peruvian food whilst they enjoyed some burgers. It was a lovely little spot!

I should note that the skip isn’t where we ate. It was outside and for some reason I thought it looked cool.

The following day marked my last in Murcia, so I spent the morning packing and lazing around my auntie and uncle’s place, saying my final goodbyes to this little second home I’ve had in Spain for so long. We were then joined for lunch by a couple of my auntie’s friends at the local community centre before I hopped on the train back up to Madrid.

We had a lovely little lunch together and all wound up so relaxed that I nearly lost track of time. In the rush to pay and head out, I left my lip balm on the table, but it could have been a worse casualty so I will have to let it slide. I was at the train station with time to spare, where I eventually hugged my auntie and uncle off as I began my (this time perfectly smooth) journey back up to the capital.

As you can tell, it wound up being a rather quiet long weekend down in Murcia, but I think it was just what I needed after a busy few months. It was also odd to think that it would be my last time in that apartment, as it’s always been a little second home for me here on the Iberian Peninsula. I know that my auntie and uncle will be back, however, so it’s just a matter of waiting for them to rent some other place for a few months and then I can be back down to bother them once more!