I wrote about the trip to Toledo but some time was also spent in Madrid – before leaving for and after returning – from Toledo.
The first thing was to find a place to get breakfast. That is proving to be difficult in Madrid as a vegetarian with food sensitivities. I found one place where the staff helped a bit to figure out what I could eat. So I had a slice of Spanish omelette with orange juice and some coffee. However, later I had some problem which means some allergen was present in the food despite the precautions I took. Anyway, I went from there to the station and found that there would be a train in 20 minutes but alas, on checking at the ticket machine, that train was already full. So the lesson is – either don’t wait till the last minute to get the train ticket or take the bus from Plaza Elliptica which can be reached with a bus E1 from Atocha or with a metro. Anyway, that delay of one hour (to get the next train) gave me the time to explore the station and surroundings. It was quite interesting to see a tropical forest set up inside the station!
Looked around, reached the next building, came out, found giant baby head sculptures, took some pics and went back into the station. Figured out with google that Planta Baja means ground floor. So this train was to leave from the platforms on Planta Baja. At this station, a baggage scan was required so the queues were quite long. But it went fast. Then there was a queue to get inside the gate for the platform on which the train arrived. And guess what – my carriage was at the end! Had to do some running but thankfully, I managed to board in time.
Then the journey went fine. The rest of the day was spent well in Toledo.
Now upon returning, since I was in no hurry, I explored a bit and and found it much more flexible to return to Madrid from Toledo with the bus! On reaching Madrid, it was a bit confusing at the bus station when the security guard said that Metro was the only option whereas someone on tripadvisor or other such site had mentioned that there is a bus too. So I looked around and found that indeed there was this bus – E1 that went to Atocha from there and it costed 1.50 Euros. Now as fate would have it, on some whim, I got down at one or two stops before Atocha. I think was Santa Maria de la Cabeza. Walking down from there I found myself at a street full of street art!
This was the first one of the “serendipitious” things that happened when I mentioned that in my previous post. I had thought about going to look for some street art on one of the days during my stay (it was mentioned in a post about “things to do in Madrid” that I read a few days ago) but didn’t know that I’d find a street just like that, without even looking for it.
The second one was finding a street full of Indian restaurants and grocery shops! I had just wondered in the morning or on the previous day if Madrid has Indian shops. And there it was – again, without even doing an online search for it! The shops are actually from people from Bangladesh, as revealed by a chatty restaurant owner who was opening his restaurant and found me looking at the menu. He was very happy to talk in Hindi with me, so I entertained him although I was dead tired and just wanted to go to my room!
After taking my leave from him and reaching back the hotel, sleep eluded me and I just sat in the room with no worry to do anything or to go anywhere. That’s the best part of being on vacation – isn’t it?