After a seemingly endless night over the Oceano Atlantico, the sun began to rise just under the enormous wing of the Boeing 777. It painted the clouds below with a faint rose/orange hue and served as a signal that our long flight would soon be over. Before long we were passing over La Coruna and headed southeast towards Madrid. I woke Heather up so she could see the sunrise, and she was surprised that she had slept for so long and that we would only have an hour and a half until touchdown.
We arrived in Madrid earlier than scheduled and then began the long process of first walking the entire length of T4 at Barajas to passport control, then boarding a shuttle to baggage claim. Happy to see our bag on the conveyor belt as soon as we arrived — always a relief!
After leaving baggage claim, we exited out into the main arrival portion of the terminal and made our way downstairs to the RENFE train connection area. Heather waited in a long information line while I went to a special ticketing area, showed my printed tickets to the agent, and received two passes to get us thru the turnstiles. I hailed Heather from the far end of the building and she pulled out of the line and brought the bag up. Reaching the turnstiles, a young woman saw that we seemed a bit confused, and offered to help us navigate through to the Cercanias train. She explained the train stops to us and promised to alert us when the Chamartin stop was coming up.
When we arrived at Chamartin, We got off the Cercanias and made our way up the platform steps to the main terminal. There we needed a little bit of help from Infomation to ascertain that our train gate would only be posted 20 minutes before “Salida” (departure). Since we had over ninety minutes to go, we decided to chill out and get some water and a Coke Lite and munch on some almonds that Heather had stowed away.
After a walk around the terminal, it was soon time to make our way through Gate 14 and down to the platform where we had our tickets scanned and waited for the Alsa train.
The journey to Leon lasted nearly three hours and we had brief stops at Valladolid and Palencia before reaching our destination. It was easy to find a taxi right outside the RENFE station, and the drive to Hospederia Monastica was less than ten minutes. Fare was only €6.50. At the front desk we were greeted by a delightful hospitalera, and we checked into our room, quite relieved that we had made it safely.
After showers and unpacking, we set off for a brief walk up to San Isadora, the Casa de Spiritualidad and then ended up at Restaurant Boccalino for a Pizza Marguerite. Then back to the hotel where our fatigue finally overcame us.