Green Hotels Association
    February 2013 (2 of 2)  


SPAIN AND GREENING II

By Patty Griffin, President, GHA

A paper recycling campaign was taken to the streets on a Sunday afternoon in Madrid. The event encouraging paper recycling was held in a very attractive large temporary blow-up building. After signing in at a cardboard table, guests listened and laughed to a magician’s spiel from cardboard chairs.

Automatic orange juicing machines are in virtually every cafe, bakery and restaurant, and the freshly-squeezed juice is delicious. Spain is known for its sweet citrus production, and Spaniards adore the fruit as we all would. Of course, all the fresh juice means there are lots of peels left over. I was thrilled when in a grocery store freezer I found that someone had taken the almost-whole peels, filled them with vanilla ice cream and had them for sale. Of course, the ice cream absorbed the orange flavor and scent, and it was a delightful treat for recycling-crazy-me.

Public bicycle programs are active in every city. Rows of bicycles locked in place are available to participants who rent the bikes. Bikes are carried on subways and trains in an upright hanger.

Olive trees appear in great swaths seen from the bullet train windows. When served in a salad, there are never 2 or 3 olives on the plate—there are 10 or 12 olives—delicious!

Two hotels used a key system that entailed waving the key card over the lock or simply taping the lock with it. They work very well once you determine exactly how they work.

The conference center had very interesting meeting room doors which I felt worked beautifully. They are very lightweight clear plastic doors which are totally quiet when opened or closed. It easy to see if someone is ready to enter or depart, and just makes really good sense. Generally, during sessions a staff member was posted at the doors to open or close them for attendees.

At the meeting expo this elegant leafy-look outdoor umbrella had me spellbound.

Many stacking chairs were exhibited at the meeting, but this one stood out because its seat and back are made of round black plastic tubes about an inch or so thick which make it a little bouncy and very comfortable.

Most locals seem to live in condos or apartments that are considered very expensive perhaps with extended families. Most condo/apartment buildings have balconies all the way around which are very useful and attractive. A stunning number of people walk the streets all day, but especially in the evenings and on weekends.

Wine is remarkably cheap. This grocery store had at least 16 wines that were less than 2 euros ($2.60) each!

Overall, it was a great trip, but food was not easy for us. In fact, we were served so many potatoes, I said a time or two, “Are we in Spain or are we in Ireland?”

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