Day 48 – Saturday May 2nd
Finally the day we can go out and exercise has arrived. By mid morning my FaceBook news feed was flooded with photographs from friends of where they’d been. As many of them live in central Madrid there was a definite Plaza theme to this morning’s photos. I’ve missed Madrid’s plazas, there are none where I live in the suburbs. So I have a challenge for you all. Maybe over the next couple of weeks you can take in as many plazas as possible and post the photos. After all there must be hundreds of them. So far I’ve seen Sol, Mayor, Oriente, Opera, Dos de Mayo and Olvide.
One thing that struck me about these photos was the lack of people. I went out at 7.45am this morning and there were already a lot of people about in my neighbourhood. Mainly runners, joggers and an incredible number of cyclists. I did a 7 km circular route taking in part of the anillo verde (green ring) a long pedestrian and cycling route that circles outer Madrid closely following the M40. This took me to a distance of 2km to 2.5km from my house at the furthest point.
Strictly speaking as a walker I’m supposed to keep to within 1km of my house, whereas joggers and runners have no limits except to stay within their municipality. I am a speed walker, an average of 7kmh/4mph as today’s walk confirmed. At times I am going faster than this and others I slow down. I did debate whether I should stick to the 1km rule, but decided this was pointless as I sped walked past two separate, rather embarrassed looking, joggers. I know full well how far I can go and still be home within an hour. I left my urbanisation at 7.45am and walked back through the gates at 8.45am. Pretty damn precise if I do say so myself.
I took no photos as a tarmac pathway full of runners and cyclists is not a particularly picturesque sight. Besides I didn’t have time if I was to get the maximum distance in. I had a serious itch to scratch. It’s been seven weeks after all and the legs were primed for activity.
Despite the number of people the majority of the walk went well. These are sports people and they know the etiquette of these routes, where the separate paths for those on wheels and those on foot are clearly marked, and there is plenty of room if everyone behaves. The cyclists kept to their side and those of us on foot to our side. We all kept as far to the right as possible to allow others to pass whilst maintaining social distancing. This is how it should work.
Towards the end of my walk more couples started to make an appearance out for their daily stroll. This is obviously a slower affair than the sporty people, as the couples meander and chat their way down the street. I think of them as the plodders and usually love to see the human contact. However some of them do not appear to be aware of the pathway etiquette and instead of keeping to the right they wander down the middle of the pavement with about metre between them, effectively hogging the whole path. I had to resort to coughing a few times (from a distance obviously). It’s surprising how quick the plodders can move when someone coughs near them.
Tomorrow I’m going to try and go out earlier at 7.15am and then during the weeks when everyone is back at work I’ll experiment with different times to see what works best.