By John Lucas

Greece has continuously had its admirers, notwithstanding none turns out to have adored the Athenian tavernas, the murderous site visitors and the jaded prostitutes, the petty bureaucratic tyrannies, the road noise and the heroic individualists with the irony and detachment of John Lucas. Lucas' love for the realities of Greece ultimately banishes the banality of a half-century of tourism during this choice of memoirs and tales.

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Segovia fiesta. Procesión de San Andrés (30 Sep), Rascafría. Procession in honour of the local saint. OCTOBER Festival Taurino (around 12 Oct), Chinchón. Bullfights. Día de la Hispanidad (12 Oct). Spanish National Day. Virgen de Pilar (around 12 Oct), Plaza Dalí, Salamanca. Various district fiestas are held. Festival de Otoño (mid-Oct to mid-Nov). Annual drama, ballet and opera festival. View of the Plaza de España (see p53) in autumn AUTUMN With the onset of autumn, the first rains for months relieve the parched countryside and begin to replenish depleted reservoirs.

It has a ceiling representing Madrid’s starlit sky as it was on the nigh the theatre’ inauguratio is open from Tuesday to Sunday for (at 6:30pm) and dinner 9pm), but i reserved fo theatregoers on nights when there Costume used in Anne Boleyn are performances. The restaurant is located in what was originally the ballroom, where Isabel II would often throw lively parties. On display are costumes from the operas Aïda and Anne Boleyn On the sixth floor there is a pleasant cafeteria which has a good view overlooking the Plaza de Oriente and the Palacio Real (see pp54–7).

Gasparini Rooms . Throne Room . Gasparini Room Named after its Neapolitan designer, the Gasparini Room is decorated with lavish Rococo chinoiserie. The adjacent antechamber, with painted ceiling and ornate chandelier, houses Goya’s portrait of Carlos IV. PA L A C I O R E A L 55 VISITORS’ CHECKLIST Plaza de Armas The square forms the entrance to the Pharmacy, the Palace and the Royal Armoury. At noon, on the first Wednesday of each month, visitors can see the changing of the guard. Calle de Bailén.

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