About a week ago I shared the full itinerary for my upcoming trip to Spain. In that post I mentioned that I had booked a bus ticket from Madrid to León, leaving only an hour and a half after my flight lands in Madrid.
Still feeling uneasy about this short period of time in between the two trip segments, I consulted with a co-worker on the issue. Turns out, it’s probably cutting it too close. As a result I have now rearranged a few things, cancelled a few bookings, and made new reservations.
Instead of leaving Madrid right away I’m going to play it safe and stay in the city for the night. I also may or may not have been influenced by this BuzzFeed post I recently read, titled 12 Historic Bars Every Book Nerd Needs To Visit. It’s like it was written just for me!
Number 5 on that list is the Cerveceria Alemana, a 110 year old beer hall in Madrid that Ernest Hemingway used to frequent (which, by the sounds of it, still has the original table he used to always sit at).
I’m a huge Ernest Hemingway fan. When I was finalizing my itinerary for Spain I failed to take into account the fact the Hemingway was more or less obsessed with Madrid. After reading that post and finding out about that bar, I determined that all around, it’s a better decision to spend my first night in what Hemingway (or Don Ernesto, as he was known in Madrid) referred to as “the Capital of the World”.
I’ll be staying at Cat’s Hostel Madrid, which I quickly selected as my accommodation for two reasons: 1. It’s within walking distance of the above mentioned bar; and 2. It’s in a 17th-century Spanish palace. Just look at this place.
All for the low, low price of €16 a night!
I’m not going to plan anything for my first night in Spain. I’ll hopefully get to the hostel by 6pm, check-in, freshen up, then wander the streets of Madrid. I’m of course going to have a drink in Hemingway’s honour at his old haunt, and perhaps some tapas while I’m at it. I honestly think I’ll be too tired to do anything more on top of that. Though, I did find this New York Times article dedicated to Hemingway’s Madrid, so if I’m up for it I just might have to seek out some of these other landmarks.
Side note: I’ve been trying to decide what book to bring with me on the Camino to read along the way, and I think this post has influenced my decision to reread Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. I normally bring The Old Man and the Sea with me to Cuba — might as well continue the trend of region-specific Hemingway books.
After a night of rest I’ll catch a Renfe train north to León, arriving around 1:30pm. I could have easily taken the same bus from the airport that I had originally booked as it’s a cheaper option, but that would have involved an additional two hours of travel on public transit, then a four and a half hour bus ride. This way, I can get to the train station from my hostel in half an hour and my travel time to León is under three hours in total. Plus, I’m a sucker for trains and European train stations.
So, sadly my time in León is reduced, but I’ll still have half a day to dedicate to its sights. From here on out my itinerary will remain the same and hopefully no further adjustments will have to be made.
ONLY. THREE. MORE. SLEEPS.