During our time in Europe we used trains, planes and automobiles of various sorts. (Sorry, I had to!)
Our first leg of the journey involved driving to Louisville and getting through airport security.
We were ready and left on time but got multiple updates texts saying our flight would leave two hours earlier and then only one hour earlier….of course by the time we arrived at the airport (breathless!) the flight was delayed 30 minutes.
After around 12 hours on a plane and arriving at breakfast time in Madrid we were dragging.
Security was shockingly simple, the uniformed official did not even say ‘hola’. Strange compared to the questioning we get on the U.S. side.
And stumbled to the curb to find a taxi. One horrendously expensive cab ride later we made it to the Barbieri Hostel near Puerta del Sol. I recalled my Spanish teacher going over the differences in floors after we got turned around. Ground floor and first floor are the same thing in the USA, but the ground floor (planta baja) comes first then the first floor (primera planta) comes second.
Barbieri was great and Ana was super patient with our groggy minds. The only downer we experienced was while we were exhausted we could not check into our room until 2:00PM.
The train station that we scoped out the day before we left Madrid had an epic entrance. However, we had to walk around the side to see this because the construction blocked our view. Inside it was sunny, noisy and housed a garden with reaching palms and a big turtle pool.
Sitting and waiting for the train to come was a little odd. We had absolutely no clue which platform ours would arrive at and listening for an echoing voice in Spanish announcing platforms was a little nerve wracking.
However, like most of our other travels it was easier than I had guessed. There were screens everywhere with times and platform numbers and the PA was announcing in English as well.
I was halfway hoping for a whoosh! of air or a rushing crowd to push me between two platforms but this was not a Harry Potter adventure. Finding our correct coche and seat was just as easy.
We had much more room and comfort than our airplane seats but the feeling was much too familiar. Thankfully the ride was fun and I forgot I was in a confined space again.
I liked the rhythm of the ride and the sights we enjoyed during our 3.5 hour train ride. The only part that was uncomfortable was when the train went through the numerous tunnels and the pressure changed rapidly. Even the travel toilets were nice.
The experience of getting back to Madrid by bus at the end of the trip was quite enjoyable. I don’t have any pictures but if I had taken one of myself all you would have seen were my huge eyeballs.
Catching the bus was a bit hard because there were about five buses at the tiny station when mine should have arrived. There were some other Spanish pilgrims that helped me (thank goodness!).
A quote from my trail journal regarding my bus trip:
My eyes were as big as platters while [the driver] cut thru the construction zones and tiny streets of Najera. I think my stomach and anus have unclenched.
Once I reached the highways and countryside I relaxed, but every small town sidestreet we maneuvered was a miracle. I was truly amazed at his driving.
We also a enjoyed English and Spanish pop music, including this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC9Uz7x7pXM&feature=youtube_gdata_player