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    • Day 21

      Sunday in Soto

      September 26, 2021 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Today was family day with my friends in Soto del Real, with the unexpected bonus that the two (now teenaged) kids came with us for a long lunch outdoors in a local restaurant. As a newly appointed EU prosecutor in a unit dedicated to intra-EU fiscal fraud team, my amiga had many fascinating stories about the first few months of her appointment. She really feels like she is doing something worthwhile and for the greater good. And Paco, as always, had many fascinating local government law issues to discuss. Maybe a limited audience, but it is exactly up my alley and we finally stopped talking at 10:30 to turn on the news to see what was happening in Germany.

      Usually when I visit, we are able to take some beautiful long walks in the mountains that start about four minutes from their house. But today it was just a few baby steps to soak up the sun and see the views.

      I have a good friend who arrives in Madrid tomorrow morning to start the Camino de Madrid. We will probably connect in WhatsApp. I feel like I am passing the baton but am still a bit bummed at how it all turned out. But as many of my Camino friends have already told me, the thing to do is to start planning my next Camino!
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    • Day 22

      Camino arrows everywhere

      September 27, 2021 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

      Today is my last day in Spain, at least for this Camino. My one unchangeable ritual is to pack up as many liters of olive oil as I can realistically fit— in my backpack, as well as in the duffel bag that I sent up to Santiago empty at the start of the camino. This is a tradition that dates back about 10 years, and I don’t think the Berkeley gang has had to buy any olive oil at all since I started.

      I was able to take a little stroll in the morning, before buying my olive oil. Everywhere I looked, I saw camino arrows. A branch of the Camino de Madrid, called the Camino Mendocino, comes through Soto, but very few people walk it. Except for you, Nuala! When you’re a Camino addict, and when you can’t walk, and when you are constantly seeing Camino arrows, it is like waving red flags in front of a bull.

      I am glad I have my PT appointment set up in Champaign, because I would still describe walking as slightly painful. That is actually a little comforting, because it has reassured me that I made the right decision to stop walking.

      Tomorrow I’ll be at the airport bright and early for my flight. With two bags to check and the Covid ritual, I think erring on the side of arriving early is a good one. For anyone contemplating a trip to Europe in the near future, I can recommend the Binax NOW Covid tests that you bring with you in a box. Then you perform the test online with a proctor. No need for an appointment in a lab, and you can do it at whatever time works best for you in the three day window.
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      Traveler  A safe and comfortable journey to you, Laurie! How smart to have set up that PT appointment already. Anything that stops you from walking needs to be looked at ASAP!


      Traveler  Symbolic?! 😉❤️


      Traveler  Safe journey home, Laurie!

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    • Day 2


      November 5, 2021 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

      Heute Morgen ging es um 7:45 Uhr auf den 2 . Teil der Anreise. Unseren Reiseproviant kauften wir ein tollen Bäckerei. Für uns wurde extra ein Bäcker zum Übersetzen geholt, aber auch sein Englisch war ziemlich eingeschränkt 🤣. Wir bekamen statt eines Coffee with milk einen Kakao. Sehr zur Freude der „ber“. Wir mussten noch 40 Liter tanken, um durch Frankreich 🇫🇷 zu kommen. Dort kostet der Liter Diesel 1,76 Euro. Wir kamen gut durch und berappten weitere 53,50 Euro für die Autobahn. In Spanien 🇪🇸 sparten wir uns die Maut und fuhren nur Schnellstraßen. Dadurch wurde zwar die Zeit um ca. 40 Minuten länger, aber das machte uns nichts aus. Wir tankten Ulli Bulli voll. Denn hier kostet der Liter nur 1,46 Euro. Wir passierten den Ort „Pau“ 😂 und erreichten um 18:45 Uhr nach weiteren 1000 km Madrid. Dort wurden von unseren ehemaligen Nachbarn und deren beiden kleinen Kinder empfangen. Nachdem die Kinder ins Bett gebracht wurden, kam es für uns Tapas 😋.Read more

      Traveler  Dem Ort Pau müsstest Du eigentlich mal e. Besuch abstatten 😉😁


      DiePaubers  Da hast du vollkommen recht 😂


      Traveler  Ihr seid so schnell gereist, daß der Pinguin Euch als Flug einstuft :-)


      DiePaubers  Oh, ha. 🤣

    • Day 15

      Leaving Lisboa

      November 20, 2021 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

      We had a few hours after breakfast before we had to get to the airport, so we went to the Gulbenkian. Not my favorite museum in Lisbon, but Joe really likes it, so I was a good sport. This is the private collection of an Armenian businessman. He made his money in the oil business and Wikipedia calls him “Mr. 5%.” He endowed a foundation and the museum, which has a highly acclaimed collection of Islamic, Chinese, and European art. The gardens are beautiful, and open to the public. Nice café too.

      I thought some of the 13-14 C Islamic pottery was beautiful, but I don’t know much about it.

      With an hour or so at the airport after checking in my 15 liters of Portuguese olive oil, joe was able to get one last pastel de Nara, though certainly not as good as yesterday’s.

      And as we taxied for takeoff, I saw the first raindrops of our two weeks in Lisbon.

      So we are not flying home today. I wanted to avoid transit through London because of many stories about how Covid and Brexit combine to create lots of headaches. Since there is no way to leave Lisbon early enough to make the US flights from Madrid, we came over the night before.

      I had never stayed in a Madrid airport hotel and I won’t do it ever again. Much better and just as quick to take the Cercanias into town and have a nice dinner and sleep in a place that’s not marooned in highwaylandia. I thought it would be easier for Joe but in hindsight it’s really not and it’s certainly not as nice. Live and learn.

      Tomorrow home!
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      Traveler  Yeah. A friend and I stayed in an Ibis somewhere near the airport. Once was enough. Wishes for a safe and easy journey today. (And may all that olive oil arrive in one piece! 😬)


      Traveler  Welcome home!


      Traveler  Looks like a miniature pumpkin pie.

      2 more comments
    • Day 2


      March 22, 2022 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 10 °C

      رسیدم به مادرید و با مترو رفتم تا هاستلی که تو مرکز شهر رزرو کرده بودم. بعد ازینکه وسایلم رو گذاشتم تو هاستل زدم بیرون تا گشتی تو شهر بزنم و سوپرمارکت برم.
      روز بعد تو مادرید باید چند تا مغازه میرفتم. نمیتونستم عصای کوهنوردی رو تو هواپیما با خودم بیارم بنابراین اون رو از مادرید خریدم. گشتی تو شهر زدم. شهر خیلی قدیمی به نظر نمیاد. ولی شلوغ و زنده بود. مغازه‌ها و رستوران‌ها و کافه‌ها بازن و مردم در جنب و جوش. مثل همه پایتخت‌های دیگه.
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    • Day 51

      “Boring” Travel day

      May 11, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

      It’s a “boring” travel day today - tho I still even relish these days. Seeing the different airports, navigating the mass transits, taking the buses, walking up out of the subways into the old squares and seeing them for the first time, even watching the flight attendants do their jobs in all different languages. I can’t understand them - but I know what they’re saying!! I am fascinated by the most mundane and even the routine on this journey.

      We left Bordeaux and flew to Madrid, Spain! Not the end of France for us — We’ll be back to the southern coast the first of July.

      We got in to Madrid in the late afternoon so we made it to our hostel, got our bearings, had a quick bite at a restaurant that is considered the “fast food” of Madrid — had beer, cokes, a small burger, small chicken sandwich AND a flat bread — all for under $10! Crazy. Haven’t seen “cheaper” food (without seriously hunting for it) since Costa Rica. We also went to Los Artesanos 1902, a chocolateria, and had Madrid’s signature churros dipped in hot chocolate - more like a thick chocolate soup! It was delicious! Can’t wait to see what Madrid has to show us in the morning

      This trip feels SO crazy - going to places I only have seen on TV or in the movies. I never imagined I would make it to all of these places. It’s actually really fun seeing the world this way - comparing/contrasting the different cultures as we go from one to the next. I still can’t even absorb what I’m doing tho — as I book the next legs of our journey to places like Switzerland and Budapest! 🤯
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      Traveler  Uncle Don and I enjoyed our time in Madrid especially the town square’s sitting and watch the people walking about in the evening, grandparents, parents pushing or holding hands of their children. Wonderful memories.


      Christie Mitchell  It seems like a GREAT place to people watch! Too tired tonight, but can’t wait to just sit around and absorb the surroundings tomorrow


      Traveler  I love your new perspective on the world! Travel is wonderful for the soul.


      Christie Mitchell  It’s definitely been a life changing experience. And I’m only 7 weeks into it today. It REALLY is good for the soul. ❤️


      Traveler  I love that you love the mundane. That was my biggest complaint about Deb when we were in Rome. She was constantly on her phone. I didn't get it. We were in Rome!!! I wanted to soak every last thing in.


      Christie Mitchell  EXACTLY! I’m here to experience everything I can. Seeing it all. Also, jordan doesn’t pay for a sim in each country, so has no access to her phone unless we’re near wifi. I have a very limited data plan, but reserve it for gps needs and such. It’s nice to not be “connected” so not even tempted to sit on our phones — until back in our hostel each night.

      4 more comments
    • Day 52

      Madrid’s beautiful parks & gardens

      May 12, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 73 °F

      We spent the day wandering thru some of the most beautiful botanical gardens and parks today in Madrid. First went to the Jardin Botanical and then to El Retiro Park - both just gorgeous. Both had sections devoted to huge rose gardens and I can’t even describe the smells as we walked through. Very relaxing day, which was really needed after our push thru Paris and Bordeaux.

      Figuring out food in these different countries has almost become comical. We go to pretty authentic places, so most menus aren’t in English. Usually, we can kind of figure out what we’re ordering with google translate and such. But in Madrid especially, it’s been tough. Today’s lunch we had ZERO idea what we were actually going to be given, or even what was in it - ended up being really good, but makes for interesting times.
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      Traveler  The picture of happiness

    • Day 53

      Madrid … day 2

      May 13, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

      So today was a tough day. I snapped. Broke down crying trying to order my breakfast. After so many days in foreign cities/countries, it all got too much for me today. EVERYTHING I do here is so much harder than in “normal” life … ie, ordering food, figuring out where food is, WHAT food is, locating anywhere we want to go, navigating public transport (vs just getting in my car), finding a bathroom, using the shower (handles are all different and backwards). You name it, it takes twice as much effort to accomplish it. Don’t get me wrong - this is a trip of a lifetime, it’s absolutely magical … but some days it’s really hard, too.

      Madrid hasn’t been my favorite city - at least not yet. It’s not quite as “magical” to me as France - but that was a hard act to follow. Jordan came down with the stomach flu today so put a damper on activities - pretty sure it’s not food poisoning since we share almost everything we order, and I’m still feeling great.

      Before Jordan came down sick we did end up getting to the Cathedral de Almudina (the biggest church in Madrid) which was gorgeous as always, and we made it to the Royal Palace. They only allowed pics in one area so couldn’t capture how beautiful it was inside — but damn, trust me, it was amazing.
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      Traveler  Hang in there!


      Traveler  You're bound to have days like this. 50 days is a long time to be on the road and in foreign countries. Don't beat yourself up. Magic is around the corner!!


      Christie Mitchell  I assume.

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    • Day 54

      Last day in Madrid

      May 14, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 75 °F

      Miles: 7.32 Steps: 17081
      Flights stairs: 15

      Not too sad to be saying goodbye to Madrid - it wasn’t my favorite city. They DO public parks VERY well, I will say. Beautiful green spaces everywhere. But other than that, it wasn’t really for me. Luckily, Jordan woke up to find her stomach bug was all gone. Whatever it was only lasted about 12 hrs.

      We went to Mercado San Miguel for an early lunch of Tapas. Really yummy. Then off to an art museum to specifically see an exhibition of American landscape paintings - the museum wanted to bring American artists work here to show Europeans their talent. It was pretty cool.

      I’m not quite sure what’s up with Europe having Egyptian artifacts, but we visited the Temple of Debod - an actual Egyptian temple it was being destroyed in floods in 1968, and Egypt asked anyone in the world to help save this temple, and Spain came to the rescue. They dismantled, shipped and rebuilt it here. Crazy.

      The plaza mayor is the central gathering place in old town Madrid - we headed there for dinner and a final farewell.
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      Traveler  We saw meat like that hanging everywhere in Italy too.


      Traveler  It must be done!!! Just like the toe shot on the beach.


      Traveler  That's a beautiful shot. So pretty all lit up.

    • Day 32

      Madrid -Flughafen

      May 24, 2022 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

      Etappe 2 Rückreise ✔️

      Hoffe jetzt ne ruhige Ecke am Flughafen zu finden und 😴😴😴

      Später bzw morgen mehr

      Nachtrag :

      In Santiago gings mit dem Laufen wieder nicht so richtig, zudem hat es immer wieder geregnet. So hab ich beschlossen einfach im Bahnhof zu bleiben.

      Habe angefangen die Reise hier nochmal nachzulesen. Tja hat mich dann doch bewegt und mich stellenweise begeistert, und stellenweise auch erschrocken.

      Ein kommen und gehen am Bahnhof. Und je näher meine Zugfahrt rückte um so unruhiger wurde ich. Wann kommt end die Anzeige von welchem Gleis? Wo ist Wagen 3? Vorne, hinten, gibt es nen Aushang? Oh man Klaus!!!! Nimms doch gelassen. Und dann lief es reibungslos und eigentlich besser als in Deutschland organisiert 😂. Gepäck wurde gescannt, Fahrkarte und Ausweis kontrolliert, und dann war ich gleich auf Gleis 1 und es wurde mir gesagt wo ich ungefähr stehen soll für Wagen 3 und dann musste über mich selbst lachen. Typisch deutsch, alles mindestens ein Jahr im voraus haargenau geplant wissen. Fünfmal auf die Fahrkarte schauen, welcher Wagen nochmal? Welche Sitzplatznummer. Oh man ist man doch bescheuert. Könnte man doch auch bis 10 min vorher einfach ganz entspannt bleiben, sich mit anderen Dingen beschäftigen und dann einmal orientieren......... Vielleicht hats auch was mit dem zunehmenden Alter zu tun, dass man so kontrolliert und zwanghaft wird? 🙄 🤔

      Wie auch immer beim umsteigen hab ichs dann anders gemacht und siehe da der Zug fuhr am gleichen Bahnsteig gegenüber 😂😂😂😂

      Um 22 Uhr war ich dann in Madrid. Ich war ja schon mal in Madrid und wieder, nicht meine Stadt.

      Hab zwar die Metro gefunden und irgendwann auch einen Automaten zum Ticketkauf. Bei der Auswahl Sprache deutsch ist trotzdem alles in spanisch geblieben, bei englisch ebenso. Jeder für sich unterwegs und so spät kein Bahnhofspersonal in Sicht.

      Hab dann ein Taxi genommen und war kurz nach elf am Flughafen.

      Tja und dann war ich vom ganzen Tag nixtun total ko und habe meinen Schlafsack ausgerollt. Harter Boden aber warm und tatsächlich konnte ich ein wenig dösen und hatte nen weiteren Pilger in der nähe und so konnte ich auch mal eine rauchen gehen und musste nicht alles mit raus schleppen. Trotzdem unbequem und links fällt mir das Bein bald ab😢 ach menno

      Um 10 vor vier bin ich aufgewacht. Oh der Gepäckcheckin ist schon offen. Schlafsack eingerollt, verstaut 5min am Schalter gewartet und dann war der Rucksack schon aufgegeben.

      Personenkontrolle hingekommen, durchgeschleust, fertig 😂😂😂
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      Traveler  komm gut heim und ich hoffe deine Schmerzen halten sich in Grenzen! Bleib weiterhin so tapfer und fühl Dich gedrückt❣


      Traveler  Ich wuensche Dir einen Guten Flug..... 🍀🍀🍀♥️😻💕😻💕


      Traveler  Eine angenehme entspannte Heimreise wünsche ich dir😴lg Jochen.😘


    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid, Comunitat de Madrid, Madrilgo Erkidegoa, Communauté de Madrid, コムニダ・デ・マドリッド, 마드리드 지방, Область Мадрид

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