Not making a political statement with the title, I’m not sure if Madrid is “greater than” Leon. It’s my attempt at an arrow. As I write this, we are on our way from Madrid to Leon, the beginning of our walk.
Getting to Madrid was … interesting. The short flight from Frankfurt to Madrid ended up about an hour on the tarmac as the “engines were warming up,” whatever that means. So a flight to Madrid in the early evening, followed by a leisurely stroll around one of Europe’s great cities ended up being a late-night, food-deprived rush to the hotel in the hopes we’d get enough sleep for our early train this morning. (Spoiler alert: we made it.)
The bright side of sitting in that plane was, we had a delightful seat-partner in Cecil from San Francisco. Even wearing the required mask, we could tell he was exhausted, as he was on a seven-hour layover. But we chatted about our trips. He was meeting his best friend for a music festival in Barcelona, which sounded great. We told him about the Camino, which also sounded great. “I kind of wish I was doing what you guys are doing,” he said. Godspeed, Cecil from SF.
Madrid Chamartin Train Station
Getting to Madrid so late meant the trains from the airport were done for the day, so we took a taxi. The Chamartin train station looks very exotic, where’s the accent? I pronounced it kind of French to the taxi driver: “Cha-MartEEn.” He looked at me quizzically, then goes, “Oh, ChamArtin!” like it was all one word without the dash, Martin just like when Seinfeld yelled at his neighbor in the coma, “MARTIN!” or Mr. Martin from Ross Junior High. It sounded so … American!
So we get to the hotel, and we’re both ready for food. And the only place near us is … Burger King. So yes, we’re the Ugly Americans whose first food in our trip to one of Europe’s great food destinations was a “BIG Bacon Cheezburger” and a “Chicken TenderCrisp sandwich.” The last time we stayed in Madrid, I tell people I feel like we didn’t give this city it’s just due. We stayed in an area that cleared out at night and didn’t really get to KNOW it. So we’re starting off well here. (Shrugged shoulders emoji here)
But now, we’re on the train to Leon. Madrid gave way to rolling countryside in a surprising hurry. Three minutes into the ride, it was hard to believe we’d come from a city. And here we are, somewhere between Madrid and Leon, wondering what’s next.
Leave a Reply