Friday, 23 April 2010

Estación Atocha Renfe, Madrid, Spain

Mom and I travelled to Spain for five weeks during the months of February and March in 2004.
On March 11, 2004, the Atocha Renfe (train station) was bombed in Madrid. Mom and I were in Granada on that day. I think we were actually checking out of our hotel when we heard the news.
My Spanish is pretty good for conversation, but listening to the news was a bit difficult, so we didn't realize the magnitude of the event right away. Instead it was a gradual understanding as we travelled a country that was also in mourning.
Cab and bus drivers wore black arm bands in every city of the country. At the end of that week, the country held a peaceful demonstration. The tv news stations showed people gathered and walking in protest of the violence. Every major city was featured, with millions of people side by side, filling the streets and sidewalks.
We were in Valencia on the day of the peaceful demonstrations. Mom and I had toured the city centre and had seen many sculptures such as this one, being prepared for their parade. Being tourists, and with a limited knowledge of the events we were very surprised when hoards of people began walking toward the city centre. Perhaps we should have joined the demonstration, but instead I made mom come back to the hotel. The amount of people walking into the streets was incredible. In the end I was glad we returned to the hotel. There were two million people out in the streets of Valencia that evening. It was wall to wall people.
A couple of weeks later, we returned to Madrid. We had taken the train out of the Estation, Atocha Renfe many times during our first 10 days in Spain. We flew back into Madrid, when we returned from Barcelona. We went back to the train station to see it...As mom and I travelled up the escalator to the second level of the station, we were astonished by the heat that we began to experience. it was the heat of thousands of candles, lit in memory of the victims. These two pictures might give a small idea of the amount of candles that were there.
It was quite a sight. Recordamos a las personas de la estación de Renfe de Atocha.

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