Postcard from... Madrid



Travelling on one of Spain’s swish Intercity buses with their comfortable armchair seats is a fairly soporific experience, particularly when they are moving at speed on the never ending flatlands outside Madrid. And so it was yesterday afternoon – until the bus on which I was travelling came under attack.

A deafening bang was the first sign that somebody had fired a projectile of some kind at our bus, leaving a hole the thickness of an infant’s wrist in the outer floor-to-ceiling window, which then shattered completely. Fortunately the inner window was still intact enabling us to continue – but only after the driver and his assistant had calmed the jittery passengers, the most nervous being an elderly woman whose head the large metal sphere had narrowly missed.

As we forged on again, spraying shards of glass behind us, the attack was instantly linked by some to a local bus drivers strike. Certainly, whoever had used the catapult saw the pride of the company bus fleet as a tempting target. The bus’s other back window had already been smashed in the same way earlier in  the week.

Since the strike began some 90 attacks on buses have been reported. For a country heavily dependent on tourism, it is not good news.