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Kaspars’s diary of the adventure completed in spring 2013. Translated by Una.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t is April 22. I wanted to set up the alarm clock the previous night but in the end I didn’t. And that’s fine, because I wake up at 9:20. Edgars is already awake. And as we have decided yesterday, we go for a few kilometer run (barefoot). Madrid’s hilly streets looked tempting, and when we saw tidy sidewalks we understood that running barefoot here will be OK.
We go out and see that the weather is as pleasant as yesterday. I turn on Endomondo and we start to run. Endomondo works also without an Internet connection, so we will find way back to the apartment easily. We run on the sunny side of the street, it is warmer there. One kilometer, another one and another one.
Then we understand that we have reached some familiar junction. At this point we decide to run back. And in the end we see that the distance is 5 km. Not bad, huh! Also we have seen some more of the city.
Later, when walking Camino de Santiago, we will see that in small towns and villages of Spain life differs from the life in big cities. Madrid is “awake” at nine o’ clock, but small towns and villages have different routine. At 9 o’ clock there is no rush and shops still are closed.
We have to leave the apartment untill 12 o’ clock. But it’s not convenient for us. Because if we leave that early, we would need to walk around with rather heavy backpacks till the evening. The train to Ponferrada, starting point of our journey, is at 10 PM. So, that’s why I send a message to the owner of the apartment and ask if we can leave later, at least at 3 PM.
He replies quickly and says that we can stay here till 6 PM, but we need to go out of the apartment for 2 hours (from 12 to 2 PM), because the next tenants will come to see the place. Well, that’s perfect!
A little bit before 12 we go out to see the part of the city we still haven’t seen. Weather is perfect – sunny and warm.
When we are on our way back to the apartment we decide to buy food in the supermarket and prepare a big meal for ourselves. Who knows, when and where we will get to eat a proper meal again. Also we need to find a store where we can buy a needle and a thread, as my mum’s backpack needs a little repair.
Finding food is easy, but not the needle, though. I decide to ask a saleswoman in the newsstand. She doesn’t understand English so I try to explain using signs. Looks like she understands me now and shows that she doesn’t have needles and threads, and then she stretches her eyes to the sides (moment later I understand, that it means – “look for Chinese shop”) and shows the direction. Ah, yes, I understand! I need to search for a Chinese shop somewhere on that street.
I will go to look for a Chinese shop and the rest of our “group” go back to the apartment. I am a little bit puzzled because I recognize the street, we have been there already, but I don’t remember seeing any Chinese shops there. OK, I go and look for it nevertheless.
And after some 5 minutes, luckily, I spot a small shop with an Asian man at the counter. Yaay! I go inside and try to explain what I need. The man also doesn’t understand English, so again I use signs. The man needs some time to find a needle (and thread) set, as he has so many, many things in his tiny shop!
I pay 1,50 Eur for the set and I go back to the apartment. Now my mum can repair her bag. We eat our big lunch (+dinner) and we leave the apartment. We know where is the train station and how to get there. It is 5-6 km walk and as we have a lot of time (4 hours) untill our departure we decide to walk to the station.
We get lost one or two times a little but that’s fine, as we find our way again. Viesturs and Edgars are excited about seeing Santiago Bernabéu (Real Madrid) Stadium. Me, Una and my mum like the skyscrapers, especially impressive Realia bank.
After walking for an hour and a half we reach the train station. There are quite a lot of cafes and fast food restaurants, so we go to buy something to eat. Me, Una and Viesturs eat burgers and chicken nuggets from Burger King, nom, nom, nom.
We see that the trains are announced only 2 minutes (!) before their departure! So strange! Quite many platforms here, one need some time to get from one place to another. But later on we understand that it’s only with the short-distance trains. Our (long distance) train is announced quite long before its departure. So, no stress!
The train arrives half an hour before its departure and we go to look for our car. It’s one of the last ones. The car is quite small, smaller than we are used to, but chairs are quite comfortable and more important – adjustable. So, for sleeping it’s OK. I set up alarm clock for 4 AM and try to sleep. We know that at 4:43 AM train will be in Ponferrada, where we will need to get off.
I don’t know how we will get to know if that’s our stop. Probably according to the time. We hope that the train will be at Ponferrada station on time, at 4:43.
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