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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton

TRAIN



 
Sober Life

It had never really struck me before, but nowadays it doesn´t matter what train or ferry you get on as you travel across Europe to Ibiza, you´ll still be able to use your Euros.

Not until you´ve got out of the U.K., naturally.

But it’s a great feeling just pulling a few notes out of your top pocket and ordering an espresso whatever country’s platform you’re on.

In days of yore you could do the same sort of thing with a ten bob note if you were stuck in England and it was interesting to see the look of pleasure on Rick’s face as he paid again.

The look he has on his face now, having got here, is a joy, though. Three days and three nights seem a small price to pay to discover there are some of the world’s classiest cafés where the pavements turn to sand.

I’ve just arrived and I’ll tell you more about the little changes when I’ve got over some of the big ones. I notice everyone drinks iced water unlike the old days. I’ve just knocked one over in my excitement at discovering barmen don´t think you are odd if you don´t want to join the brandy slurpers in the San Antonio market bar before breakfast.

And they seem to be eating more croissants rather than a piece of toasted bread rubbed over with a tomato and sprinkled with olive oil.

The journey becomes the holiday, I suppose, but I’ll also tell you about that when we’ve made it back. In a mad, impulsive gesture I suddenly heard myself saying we should drop in on Madrid on the way back and now I´ve found out it´s thirteen hours from there back to Paris.

We never got to Malaga so I’ve missed Denys’s suggestion about the gentle train from there, but I now have to admit geography cannot be one of my strong points because I couldn’t work out why we were going by an ocean hours before we got to Barcelona.

It’s all been food markets so far. There was a lovely one in Paris in whichever arrondissement we found ourselves. The charcuterie looked nothing like the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Euston; mind you I see they are selling their cardboard coated wings and things with plastic cutlery all over Europe.

The Boqueria in Barcelona was having major rebuilding, but you could still that everything, from piles of perfect figs to creatures from the deep were still just about everything that’s in season.

Sinclair Newton writing his piece in the LiveIbiza office
Picture © Gary Hardy (Friday 20th September 2002)

And so to Sant Antoni where the Clot Mares Mercat was in full swing. Toni the barman remembered just how I liked my coffee and never once looked meaningfully towards the Veterano bottle.

The Nescafe at the OK Corral in the West End of Sant Antoni came in a big mug and was delicious and Caz the landlady remembered me there, too. She seemed to remember a dusky maiden I once brought in, but that’s slipped from my mind like so much else about the past.

This is Memory Lane with a steady hand for me and an adventure for Rick he is never going to forget.

Sinclair Newton

sinclairnewton@liveibiza.com