Let’s start this by saying I like to travel by train. I enjoy the different views, and it’s always preferable for me to travelling by plane or car. But after an early start in Granada, the 5 1/2 hour train to Madrid was difficult. The train went so slow that cars were overtaking us, and there were times we were just sat in the middle of nowhere, at a random train station that no one could get on or off at, doing nothing. Add to that the fact that the ticket inspector checked my ticket 3 times, with a complimentary dirty look each time, presumably because I had a seat in first class – it was the cheapest one – as he had no other reason to take a dislike to me. The journey was long, I was bored for the first time in ages and I was heading back to Madrid because that’s where my flight home was from. Needless to say I didn’t arrive back in Madrid in the highest spirits.
My plan for the day was to drop my bag off at the apartment and head straight out to Toledo. However, because the train was delayed arriving in Madrid, I wasn’t able to check in to the apartment before the reception closed for lunch, and it killed my Toledo plan. Instead, I dropped my bag at left luggage in the train station and went to Sol to do a bit of shopping, then wandered down to Retiro Parque for a drink and some food.
Spending a bit of time soaking up the sun in the relaxing park, my mood had vastly improved and before long I was back at the station to collect my bag before checking in to my apartment. It’s sweaty business carrying around a backpack that has too much stuff in it, so after a quick change and freshen up, I was on my way to Plaza Mayor. On my previous visit, the square had been full of football fans and litter. This time I was able to see it in it’s true glory, and although I still didn’t understand the true attraction of it, I was glad to see it looking much more attractive and clean.
My destination for the evening was the Temple of Debod. From it’s vantage point, it’s a stunning place to watch the sunset, and I just happened to be there at that time because it had been closed when I wanted to visit earlier. I stood and soaked up my last night in Spain for who knew how long – I was flying back to London the next day and couldn’t have been more gutted about it. Trying to push those thoughts aside, I enjoyed the moment as the sun set over the hills, before heading back to the apartment, grabbing a bite for dinner to chill out in the apartment. Today hadn’t been the day I planned, but it had still been a great day.
Next day it was time for my amazing trip to come to an end and for me to return home. I spent the last hours of the morning doing a spot of shopping before making my way to the airport. I had left for this trip so uncertain about whether I would enjoy or cope with travelling solo, and I hadn’t honestly thought I would enjoy it or stay the full time. The prospect of returning home to a job that made me really stressed, a difficult living situation and just an unhappy chapter in my life got me thinking about whether solo travel and another longer trip would be possible. I was so truly happy while travelling, and after discussing the idea of travelling longer term with my parents, it seemed I had some thinking to do…