“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Dr Seuss
One month ago today I left Madrid. It seems as though the time since my Camino has been flying by at light speed. Maybe because I am back at work, maybe because I over scheduled my summer, maybe because time on the Camino was so deliciously slow. I am assuming it is the later of the three. While walking on the Camino, all of my experiences were about the “here and now.” It was about being in the present and soaking up the experiences and the people as they were happening. It was a very Gestalt way of being for me. But alas, I am now home again, faced with daily “to do” lists and I have been told by a few people that they felt I needed to end my blog with my time in Madrid and getting on the plane to head home. So here it is, my final post. (Totally not a Gestalt thing to cave in to others’ “shoulds”, I know.)
After our wonderful day in Finisterre, we caught the bus at 9:00am the next morning back to Santiago de Compestella. The scenery along the coast was absolutely breathtaking. However, due to severe motion sickness brought on by the winding curves of the coastline, my eyes were primarily fixated on the center of the road in an attempt to not vomit on the man beside me. After about 3 1/2 hours of watching the Spanish coastline turn into Spanish countryside via my peripheral vision, we pulled into the Santiago bus station. With our backpacks on, we made our way back towards the Cathedral to see if we could run into any of our Camino buddies one last time. Sadly, in the three hours we were there, we didn’t run into any familiar faces. With backpacks on again, we made our way to the other side of town to catch our train to Madrid. The ride to Madrid was 5 hours and relatively uneventful. We made our way through the train station and grabbed a cab to take us to the hostel we had previously reserved. It was a long day of bus and train travel.
The next morning we slept in and then went out in search of breakfast. The shops were just starting to open, so after eating we walked along the street browsing through shops and being amazed at the number of people and all the traffic around us. The traffic was astounding, it was like being in Los Angeles! Where we were at, the roads going in opposite directions were separated in the middle by beautiful parks and gardens. While walking through these areas you could still see and hear the traffic on either side of you, but it was far more relaxing than just walking beside traffic. We walked past museums, restaurants, artists, and street performers. Madrid is a beautiful city with fantastic architecture. While out walking we made our way to the Prado Museum. What a nice collection of 12th through early 19th century European art they have. We saw a very diverse assortment of works by Goya, Velasquez, El Greco and many others. The Prado is the biggest art museum I have ever been to and would highly recommend a visit to anybody traveling to Madrid. After exploring the museum and eating lunch in their cafeteria, we went back to relax and plan our afternoon.
In the afternoon we made our way to the Palacio de Cibeles, a historic postal office and totally amazing building. This was one of the most ornate buildings we saw in Madrid. At the top they have an outdoor observation deck where you can walk all the way around the building. There is nothing like getting a bird’s eye view of Madrid while feeling the wind blow through your hair. After taking in the gorgeous views from the top, we went down a few floors to a patio bar that overlooked the front of the building and the plaza. We sat up there drinking wine, watching the traffic go by, and enjoying the warm breeze. It was very romantic, too bad our husbands were thousands of miles away, they defiantly would have been getting lucky that night! Since we didn’t have our husbands to sweep us off our feet, we went off to explore a bit more before heading back to the room for an early night.
The next morning we got up early, showered, packed, and caught the bus to the airport. We ate breakfast at the airport after checking in then went to wait for our flight. Our flight left on time and after watching three in flight movies and a few tv shows, we were back on American soil.
I have thought about Spain every day since coming home. Walking the Camino was the best vacation I have ever taken in my entire life. I smile when I think about it and when I look back through my photos. The people, the scenery, the experience, I can’t get it out of my brain. Instead of having a song stuck in my head, I have a vacation playing over and over again in my brain! How lucky am I! I can’t wait to go back and do it all again. I don’t know when I will be able to go again, maybe when I retire, but I definitely want to go back.
Some of the people I finished the Camino with were sad when their Camino came to an end. I was worried that I might be sad too; however, my memories have kept me happy and I am still smiling every time I think about it. I think I was very blessed to make it all the way across Spain without any health or physical ailments and to have all of the wonderful experiences I had. I feel very fortunate for my wonderful vacation.
Thanks for reading my blog and all the supportive posts!