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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: 40.6355, -73.7808
We got up at 4:20am to catch a train to Madrid at 6:00am. Since Dave was never able to go out for groceries, we only had a half sandwich and granola for food to take on the five hour train ride. Because the forecast was calling for rain and the station was a 30-minute walk, we opted for a taxi.
The platform had plenty of backpacks and pilgrims to go with them. There was also a biking pilgrim trying to break his bike down, but he had no tools. He asked for help, in Spanish, luckily Dave had his Leatherman tool and the mission was accomplished. That tool has been used everyday, always for food prep, this was the first mechanical application.
We pulled out exactly on time, two and a half hours before the sun would even think about rising. We had a cup of terrible instant coffee and tried to get a little sleep. When daylight did arrive we saw yet another of Spain's diverse landscapes, that would change several more times before arriving in Madrid. There were only three or four stops and the train reached speeds of up to 250kph (there was a cool, time/time/speed
display at the head of the coach). We left on time and arrived at 11:09, just as scheduled.
Our train ticket provided for a free transfer on a train to Barajas International Airport, which left every 30 minutes. It was thanks to a very friendly concierge that we knew this. Our hotel, Clement Barajas, was an airport hotel which provided free shuttle service to and from the airport, but we had to call. After, not so quickly, educating ourselves on how to use a Spanish pay phone, the shuttle arrived. We were pleasantly surprised that our last night wasn't in an isolated airport hotel, but actually situated in the center of the town of Barajas.
We had thought of taking the metro into Madrid, but there was a steady rain, an hour metro ride and it was a Spanish holiday (Columbus Day), so we feared half of Madrid would be closed - oh, and we were tired! We decided to stay in Barajas, have lunch and since in Spain, take a siesta.
The rain had stopped and after getting up, we did what we do, went for a walk. We scoped out a dozen eating places, more were closed than open due to the holiday. We walked past the church and Mass was just letting out. On the Camino, we had gotten in the habit of going inside all the open churches, so why break a good habit on our last day? The Camino, literally passes by the church in every hamlet, village, town and city we walked through.
We had dinner at Restaurante Príncipe, which offered closed-in sidewalk tables. We shared a bottle of vino rosado over great dinners of steak and grilled fish. Not quite ready for this to all end, we stumbled (figuratively) into a bar that was packed. We each had a wine, and as so many times, a drink comes with a free tapa. This time a hamburger and peel and eat prawns.
After some brief packing, transferring all from backpacks to duffle bags, we were in bed by 11:00, not looking forward to the 6:00am alarm.
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