Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Day 14: Madrid

Yesterday we said good bye to our fellow pilgrims, and this morning we said good bye to Santiago. Before heading to the train station, we went to the square in front of the cathedral -- not another soul was there. For a few minutes, the cathedral was just ours. I thanked St. James for keeping us safe throughout our pilgrimage and prayed for all the pilgrims who would arrive today; and lastly I asked for a good journey home. Leaving Santiago is always a little sad; but more adventures are yet to come. And I'm confident that I will return to Santiago on pilgrimage again -- there are so many routes I have not yet traveled! 

After good byes we walked to the train station and had some breakfast before getting on the train and heading towards Madrid. CJ has never been to Madrid, so there is much to explore! Sometimes taking the train is a little depressing -- what took me ten days to walk can be achieved in five hours on a train 😣 At least the ride from Santiago to Madrid is beautiful (if you can stay awake): mountains, mountains, and more mountains! The train even goes through a few tunnels right threw the middle of the mountains. haha On the train today there were many pilgrims, but one particular group was pretty entertaining. They switched seats with other passengers (CJ and I included) so that they could all eight be in the four seats that face each other; which would have made total sense ... if they didn't fall asleep the moment the train took off until the moment it reached Madrid. Actually, they woke up about ten minutes before Madrid, gasped and oohed and ahhed over the mountain views, and took tons of pictures. Sheesh. 

We got off at Charmatin train station and walked to the metro station. If you've never taken the metro in Madrid, it is a little bit of an experience. The metro in St. Louis has portions that are "under ground" -- but the metros in Madrid are WAAAAY underground. We're talking four and five full escalators down. When you stop and think of how deep you are under the earth it's a little intimidating. The number ten to the light blue line to Tirso de Molina brought us to our hostel: Las Musas. By the time we checked in and got up to our room (of course it is on the fifth floor -- of course) it was almost four. I know we didn't walk hardly at all today and that we spent most of our time on a train, but we were up early and are still tired from our days of extreme walking ... so after we settled in we took a nap. (When in Spain, do as the Spanish do: afternoon siesta and night time dinner!)

After our siesta we went out in search of dinner. We wandered to a plaza filled with cafes and flower stands. It was bustling with activity: families out for a walk, people on their way home from work, people walking dogs, people buying flowers, bikers, skate boarders, students, diners -- and us: tourists. We sat down for dinner, served in many courses. Sangria and tapas to start, main courses next (chicken with veggie rosotto and grilled red peppers and beef medallions with sesame sauce and potatoes), and finished with shared tarta de queso and cafe con leche. People watching is so interesting in such a busy place, and we sat for quite a while enjoying the sites and enjoying each other. We also planned out tomorrow, which will be busy fitting in everything we want to see (read as: everything I want to show CJ). 

And now we are back at the hostel, showered and in pajamas and ready to sleep. Tomorrow will be a packed day! 

A few photos ... 

Empty plaza for our farewells to Santiago. 

Last photo (for this trip) in front of the cathedral -- we entered Santiago after the sun had set and left before the sun could rise. We are pilgrim ninjas. 


Train time! We're both looking a little scruffy ... 

No, he has not been kidnapped. This is just another photo in the montage I like to call "CJ takes a nap" Perhaps now would be a good time to share the montage ... 

Five different naps, five different places -- the top right corner is in the square in front of the cathedral in Santiago; the bottom right corner is a stone wall in a field in the middle of nowhere, Portugal. Maybe I made him walk too much? haha He is such a good sport -- he deserves many naps ❤️

Mmmmm -- tapas and sangria. Someday I might just have to live in Spain. 

CJ and my dad can form a club and call it the "we don't care where we are or what the local specialty is, we will always order the (boring) chicken" club -- president and Vice President. haha At least they are always happy with their choice!! 

mmmmm -- tarta de queso y cafe con leche 

And now it is time for sleep -- more adventures to come tomorrow. 

Buen Camino. 

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