Finally the day came when I was supposed to return to the routine life.
Adventures? Of course.
I started the day with packing my bag. Then after checking out and leaving the bag at the reception, I went out to explore some more places.
The first one was very close to where I was staying. It was the house of the Spanish Golden Age writer Lope de Vega, where he spent the last 25 years of his life from 1610 to 1635. The entrance is free there.
It is quite a big house considering it was built sometime towards the end of 15th century. The ceilings are also high. I am not sure if that’s then the original version or a restored one.
The house has three floors – on the ground floor is the reception and a lovely garden. The people there are very friendly and give a free house tour in English also. You can book it online. I didn’t know about it and kind of registered on the spot.
On the first floor, there is the author’s bedroom, a chapel which can be viewed directly from a window of the author’s bedroom and a study with also a kind of drawing room. There was also a ladies drawing room which was common for those times and had an oriental setting (sitting cross-legged instead of on chairs),dining room and the bedroom of three of his daughters. One of the daughters became a nun later.
He had quite a colorful love life. Had 15 children between 2 wives and 6 mistresses. However, most of the children died quite young. He himself lived up to the age of 73 despite having a breakfast of Ham and Brandy everyday!
On the third floor is a guest room (where a soldier friend of his Captain Contreas lived for almost nine months!), a bedroom for two of his sons and the servants room.
After the tour, I went ahead in search of another monument – the tomb of Goya. It is actually a church – Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida – and has the frescoes done by Goya. He’s buried there itself. That part of the church serves only as a museum now while the services are held in a chapel next door. It was not allowed to take pictures inside. So here’s one from the pamphlet.
Where’s the adventure in this you say? Well when you get confused with the metro system and take longer to reach some place using the transport system than if you’d just gone on foot, then it is an adventure (or mis) in my book! I also reached a mall which looked interesting but having packed the bag earlier had given me the wisdom to not buy anything anymore!
Then I decided that I should go back and pick my luggage because I didn’t know what else I would experience while going to the airport.
Just stopped for a slice of cake at one place shown by google as a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in the vicinity. It was a sugary explosion!
After that I went to get my things. The same wok shop where I had my dinner yesterday, was open and so I got my lunch packed.
Now going to the airport was another adventure and I am very happy that I started early. Why? Ok first of all on reaching the station, it was a bit difficult to figure out which ticket to buy for these trains called Cercanias. The machines didn’t show the option in English and it took me some time and asking people around that “Ida” means “one way”. Then got the ticket and went to the platform 1 as told by the customer care person. I was thinking I am lucky because the train was there in 2 minutes. Now what I didn’t know (although I had the suspicion) that the train would stop at an intermediate station and I would have to change. The customer care person had said no changes are needed so I ignored the nagging voice of my head. And then I understood what was wrong in some minutes. The train ended at an intermediate station. The driver had to tell me that! Then it was not clear when is the next train from there to the airport. Thankfully there were some other people standing there with their luggage and they told me that the next train would be from the same platform. It eventually arrived 10 minutes later, and finally I reached the airport.
Thereafter, it was more or less alright. There were no long security check queues, nothing to hurry about and best of all, no noise! Got on the flight in time. It started a bit late (that’s my experience usually in Europe with low cost airlines – they never start at the time stated on your ticket). I missed the train connection that I wanted to take from the airport to my town. I might have missed it anyway even if the flight reached at its correct time, because the train station is quite a long walk from the Terminal. The good side of it? I went to the city and had some dinner and then took a bus back to my town. The waiting was boring and it was cold at that time but then, no journey is complete without some discomforts.
So, now it’s all back to routine. No more luxury of making only two decisions a day “where to eat and what to see”. Until the next trip!
P.S. I will write down my tips for Madrid in the next post.