Sunday, April 28, 2013

Turtles at Madrid Atocha Train Station Remind Me of Nash Poem

The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile. 
- Ogden Nash, 1902-1971
There is a turtle pond in the middle of Atocha Station in Madrid. It gets a lot of attention, especially from parents and young children. Alice and I were at the station  to get tickets to Pamplona.

Many turtles live in the pond. Their behavior appears to be unmonitored. It is a laissez-faire world.

I hasten to say that my knowledge of turtle biology is severely limited. But quite a few of those turtles seemed to be engaged in public displays of affection.

While the angle of approach of the active turtle in this picture appears flawed, it put me in mind of Ogden Nash's poem.

While on the subject of the train station, I should put in a good word for the turtle pond, which includes sand lots, rock ramps and ample water areas. Visitors love to stop and watch the turtles cavorting around in their plodding way.

The station was built in 1851 but it suffered a fire and was rebuilt in 1892. The station was expanded and where the old train platforms used to be the designer built what amounts to a botanical garden.

A skylight runs the length of the area, and stairways allow visitors to look at the various plants and trees in the area from different perspectives. A reported 7,000 plants thrive in the area, including many palm trees.