Madrid at last, Hotel Catalonia Atocha

I arrived at the airport and wound up walking the length of it looking for the subway-in retrospect it was a good test of how much stuff not to take. I had finally settled on a soft-side bag just big enough for my poles to fit in along with my backpack, Camino clothes plus extra clothes for the shoulders of the trip. Yeah. The backpack fully loaded with my carefully purchased performance wear came to just under 18 lbs, but the bag topped out at over 30lbs, as I found out at the airport. Where did all that weight come from?! Street clothes can be heavy…

When I got to the hotel I checked in and found Alida’s room. Everyone else had gone shopping, museum hopping, etc., having been there for a couple of days but soon they were back and we all had a moment to get acquainted. My traveling pilgrims would be Eleanor, Alida, Mary Jane, Sharon and Geoff. That afternoon Mary Jane, Sharon and I went shopping for poles and that evening the three of us went to dinner as Alida, Jeff and Eleanor had other plans, off to a hammam for the traditional Turkish bath experience. We three had our own wonderful time; talking, walking around the streets listening to music and eventually settling on a nice restaurant on very popular square. More strolling afterwards and a gelato to top it off made the evening.

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