Day 1: Arrival to Madrid
By Mary Lessmann
Our group of 19 arrived without incident in Madrid. Given all of the attention to detail and advance forms around pandemic issues, travel itself went very smoothly. We settled into our hotel rooms and then headed out to explore Madrid. We walked to El Retiro Park, a beautiful large park in the middle of the historic city center. It boasts a verdant variety of trees and green spaces, fountains, lakes and even a crystal palace. The Palacio de Crystal has a striking facade and houses the Reina Sophia Museum.
Many of us visited the Prado National Museum, Madrid’s world class museum of Spanish art. And of course, there was shopping. Madrid’s traditional architecture is mesmerizing, and you could spend your day just walking the streets and admiring the charming and historic buildings. As I walked one of the nearby streets, I noticed that I was on ‘Plaza de Jesus,’ or Jesus’ Plaza. That feels like a hopeful sign for our journey this next week!
Each of us was invited to bring a stone from home that represents something we’d like to let go and leave on the Camino. Sometime during our walk, each of us will determine the right place to lay our stone down. Sarah Morrow, my roommate, got a little creative with the assignment. She has brought fossilized shark teeth that she collects on the beach walks near her home in Ponte Vedra, Florida. They will make a beautiful addition to the many items others offer up on the Camino.
Tomorrow morning we will take a bus to Sarria where we will have our orientation. But tonight is about getting a good night’s sleep in this bustling, beautiful city so that we might push through our jet lag and be prepared for our first day of walking.