After my time in Granada, I headed for a couple of days in Madrid. I’m very happy with how the trip turned out — my route seemed to be flexible and brought me to little surprises. Although I had thought about going west after Barcelona, I simply loved Valencia so much more than anyone on the trip said I would. That’s where you have to take advice from other traveler’s with a little grain of salt. Sometimes what they like isn’t what you like, so take it, but don’t blindly heed it.
I walked from the hostel with my backpack and got on the train to Madrid. The scenery was great on the way there. As we were approaching Madrid, the city started feeling closer and closer, yet still not a city. Finally after deboarding, I walked through the station which had a cool tree area. There were trees all indoors where you could sit and eat. It was a little confusing because I simply was looking for a grand entrance/exit, but nothing looked very grand. I finally got out of the station and ended up where a lot of construction was, and I couldn’t quite get my bearings. After figuring out how to get to the main street, I found the hostel on the map and headed that direction–WALKING.
Usually I’m fine hoofing it, but this part of town was on a grade that made every step with the backpack seem like I was trying to climb mountains. It was hot and so I was feeling pretty tired. I eventually made it to the hostel and checked into the room. It had all single beds which was great, because bunks always make for a harder night sleep. I went to the bathroom to have a shower and clean up. When I came out, Elaine was arriving from Ireland and putting her stuff out on the bed. Elaine was fantastic. Really pretty, sweet and engaging, and we talked nonstop. We decided to wander around the streets and look for a place for dinner.
Our walk was great. Our conversation was great, and it’s these moments in travel where I simply love the serendipitous nature of meeting people. It’s a simple window to another way of life, yet commonly bound by a language. We found an Italian place to get some spaghetti and pasta, and enjoyed watching everyone on the promenade. After a long dinner, we walked around more, and found a place for yogurt — a search that made Elaine laugh. Wandering the streets of Madrid on a warm summer night was absolutely fantastic, and it was all the more special to share it with such great conversation!