Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 1: Get to Where You're Going

Hola Peregrinos!

Oof! It's been a long couple days. 

I arrived in Madrid yesterday morning at 9am. By 11am I had made my way through passport control, had claimed my bag (thus breathing a deep sigh of relief), and was on my way to downtown Madrid via the C-1 train. I found it surprisingly clean and easy to navigate and wouldn't hesitate to use it again. 

From the Atocha station I walked to the famed Prado Museum for a couple hours of taking in their massive El Greco and Velasquez collections, but most importantly getting to see "Las Meninas". Las Meninas is one of the very few things I actually appreciated in the art history class I took in college. That's probably because it was discussed on one of the handful of days I ever went to that class. Older and wiser, I'd love to take that class now. C'est la vie. 

After the Prado I walked back to Atocha station in order to take a train to the other main train station in Madrid, Chamartin. It was a bit of a game figuring out how to get from the commuter rail line to the medium-distance trains but I figured it out eventually with some assistance from the Internet. From there I took a 2hr train to Burgos, home of Spain's largest cathedral, burial place of El Cid, and one of the largest cities on the Camino. A que of taxis at this small but brand new station had me to my hotel in less than 15m for just 10 Euros. 

Burgos was hopping on an unseasonably cool Friday night. After a shower and hand washing my clothes I walked the streets in search of dinner. My Spanish has regressed from being able to get around in clubky Spanish back to downright nonexistent. I lacked the energy or enthusiasm to attempt a conversation or discern a restaurant menu so I was looking for something I could point to or just grab and pay for. I looked and looked. Meanwhile I came across the pilgrim's home away from home: the pharmacy. Oddly enough I felt more comfortable in the 4 minutes I was there than anywhere else on my journey so far. Bolstered by the confidence of experience I asked (in Spanish) whether they had RadioSalil and when she began to mimic rubbing it on her hand, I said "Si. Crema." She smiled and showed me the price. I paid her, collected my prize, and off I went now with the saving power of turbo-strength Bengay. 

Just as I was giving up on dinner and conceding to a meal of one of my granola bars, I passed a candy store that also sold chips, popcorn, and the like. Not exactly the warm, filling meal I was (and still am) longing for but better than nothing. A bag of popcorn, a chocolate-covered waffle thing (which tasted like a cake doughnut), and a couple bottles of water later I was back to my hotel room.

I decided the view from my room was the trade off for the pathetic dinner and began to wonder whether these kinds of meals were part of the reason I lost so much weight last time. 



  1. Good Luck Jill on your pilgrimage! Be safe - and be sure we're praying for you as you pray for us

  2. I would love to walk the Camino with you Jill. Ever consider putting together a group?