May 26th ~ Travel day on the train
Dick and Karen were planning to fly home the next day from Madrid and Tim and I had booked a hotel right in the center of Madrid for the next week. We decided to take the train to Madrid together instead of flying. I was not anxious for a repeat encounter with Iberia Airlines any time soon, so was especially thankful for this alternative.
We were also a little concerned that since we were entering into high season that the direct train might sell out. So, to ensure that there would be no last-minute surprises, Karen and Tim had taken a walk over to the train depot the day before and paid for our tickets in advance.
Getting from Santiago to Madrid via train was quite easy. We treated ourselves to a first class ticket. The cost difference between first class and standard was minor (approximately $20 per person), but it allowed us to reserve our seats, a bit more comfort and some more room. The direct train took just over five hours.
We had to leave the hotel early in the morning before our hotel served our included breakfast, but they kindly sat a few items out for us the evening before so that we were not leaving on an empty stomach.
There was a taxi stand right across the street from our hotel which made it a breeze getting to the train station with our luggage. Thankfully Tim and I had small suitcases and Dick and Karen were traveling even lighter with just backpacks so sharing one taxi was not a problem.
The day started out a little over cast with pockets of haze settled into the valley below.
I have to say that this was one of the most beautiful routes I have taken on a train. Stunning scenery from start to finish. Another highlight was the prolific red poppies which covered field after field as well as clustered along the side of the tracks.
Honestly, I was sorry to have the journey end, as I had thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. If you have the option of taking this train route at any time in the future, I would certainly recommend it.
When we got to Madrid, we said our goodbyes to our friends. They were headed to a hotel close to the airport, and Tim and I jumped on the metro and headed to the center of town. Our hotel was well located and within easy walking distance of many of the key things to see in Madrid.
The room itself was very tiny and unexciting, but we did have one of the very few balconies. This afforded us grand views of the city eight stories below. I believe there were only a handful of rooms that had a balcony, so for that we were grateful. We were in room 808 if you want to have this same view, but you must be prepared for an unimaginative, rather dreary and minuscule room that was sadly in need of some updates and maintenance.
Overnight: Madrid at the Vincci Capitol
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we witnessed such beautiful scenery along our ride from Santiago to Madrid. The valley partially covered with fog and miles of greenery with brilliant red poppies shouting to the sun passed by in a flash as our train reached high speeds up to 249 km per hour. Awe the marvels of modern transportation…