Camino Adventures – Madrid

I’ve abandoned my blog for too long! My apologies.

‘Tis the season for much busyness and my diary is looking rather scary atm, not sure when I’m going to get to sleep, let alone write. But I thought I would take this opportunity to look through some of the half finished, or barely started writings.

So all being well, I am back with you now!

At the end of October I went on holiday, quite literally a holy-day, I went on pilgrimage. It has been following me for several years, and pops up every few months, but this year it has been more prominent, El Camino, the Way of St James.

I decided that I would walk it during college when I made a vow to StJames, and the decision to walk it this year was decided during my ordination retreat which was lead by Ven Chris Potter, Archdeacon of St Asaph, he spoke about journeys and used his experience on the Camino to illustrate his points.

I was meant to have 3 weeks off work, but this had to be cut to two weeks due to time tabling which was a shame, I had planned to walk from Lugo, but changed this to Sarria which is the last point you can start walking and still receive the Compostela at the end.

I flew into Madrid on the 30th October, and stayed overnight. My plan was to tour Madrid on the 31st and get a overnight train to Sarria. However even my sightseeing had to be cut short when my passport was stolen between the airport and my hotel!!!! I was taking the metro to my hotel and someone must have seen me move my passport from my pocket to an area in my bag, because they cut my bag to get it!!!! I don’t need to repeat some of the words that came out of my mouth that moment, but starting my holiday in a Spanish police station was not the best start!

The British Embassy in Madrid is quite a nice looking building, it is within a modern tower, and this is where I spend the morning of my 26th birthday! I had to get there first thing to sort out getting a new passport before I could go any further because I would need to fly from Santiago to Barcelona. So, 8.30 in the morning I was at the embassy with my rucksack going through their metal detectors. I had to leave my penknife under the mat at the front door because ‘weapons’ were not allowed in the building, it made me giggle when I also found a fork under the mat, how did that person earthier lunch???


Three hours later, I had a new ‘Emergency Passport’ it was white and gold and cost 125€. I decided to walk into the centre just to get over the cost before I found lunch. I actually found ice cream before I found lunch, and that really was nice.


I wasn’t taken away with Madrid. The cathedral was nice, and some of the little churches I saw. I visited the Church of Santiago to get a replacement credential for the one I lost before I flew out. The priest there was nice, although he spoke very little English we manages to communicate.

I did the bus tours, but still, wasn’t breath taking. I wouldn’t rush back to Madrid.

After an afternoon of sightseeing, I made my way to the train station (didn’t want to miss that!) By this time of the day I’d had enough of Madrid and was quite happy to go. I stocked up on supplies for the train journey, meat, crisps, water, sweets. Was very disappointed when I discovered I had been put in a carriage with 20 15-16 year old school girls. It was an 8 hour journey, and they talked, and talked, and talked and talked and talked, all night long. I was very grateful that I had taken my iPad, so at least I could watch a few films, listen to music and drown them out a little.

It was just gone 6 in the morning when I arrived in Sarria. I found a cafe, got my first stamp and prepared myself, sleep deprived, for my first days walk.