Yesterday morning we hoisted our packs back onto our backs, left our lovely little Hostal Plaza Goya, hopped back onto the Metro,
....and returned to Estacio Sants, Barcelona’s state-of-the-art, disco-y railway station,
…with its equally arty bathrooms,
...with awesome self-cleaning seats that clean themselves after each use. The Barcelona railway station latrines nonetheless cost .50€ to use, though I suppose the charging of this fee does keep the facilities up to snuff, which they most decidedly were.
We took another 300 km -per- hour fast train from Barcelona to Atocha Station in Madrid where we decided to stop one last time (though who really knows?), for lunch at the raiway station cafe that we think of as "our place",
We ordered the 8.95€ hot beef, cheese, and pepper bocadillo and patatas fritas (drink included) platter which was served with a side of tartar sauce,. The tartar sauce was rather unexpected, but actually worked pretty well. In truth for all the many bushels of fries we've eaten in Spain, I don't think we've once seen any ketchup.
For dessert we had slices of yummy apple tart.
After lunch we grabbed the Madrid Metro and headed to our hostel.
For our last two nights in Madrid we'd hoped to find a hostel near the train station, which would have been wonderfully convenient. But I'd had to scour Booking.com just to find us a private room-plus-bath anywhere in Madrid this holiday weekend and finally found one at a not-cheap hostel off Puerta del Sol a few streets away from our last Madrid hostel.
When we got off the Metro Puerta del Sol was a dense sea of people.
We made our way through the crowd trying not to get separated until we found the, thankfully, less populated side street where our hostel was.
At first glance our hostel, Hostal Madrid, looked a weence on the swanky side - hostels are usually located on an upper floor of an older, multi-use building - but this place looked more like a regular hotel, and a nice one at that. I hoped I hadn't misunderstood the price - 109€ - about $125 - per night, or had the wrong place place.
But no, the place and price were right.
The lobby was cute, all exposed brick and rustic-looking,
....and as I was so admiring the decor one of the young, sweet hospitalieras,
...offered to take our photo with the lobby as a backdrop.
I've said it before, I'll say it again, the Spanish people are so nice.
The hospitaliera explained to us that, though Madrid was really in high tourist season every day of the year except during August, this weekend is one of the busiest not only because of Halloween but because the following day is All Saints Day, an important national holiday when people honor their dead, Day of the Dead, So this is a long holiday weekend in Spain, and we were seriously lucky to get a room. Our hostal, too, is now sold out.
Our room is pretty and bright and is also done in exposed brick,
...as is the bathroom.
Our room has a balcony with a street view,
...and the place has a classy stair case.
After we’d settled into our room we went back out to Puerta del Sol to mingle amidst the street festivities. Among the crowd were young children in Halloween costumes holding onto their parents’ hands and groups of older kids and young adults also in costume. There were young parents pushing baby strollers and old folks walking arm in arm, people of all ages. There were also street entertainers, mimes who appeared to be somehow floating above the ground who, it was understood, expected payment for snapping their picture, people in character costumes, and hoards of street hawkers selling their wares, purses, tennis shoes, sports teamq shirts, jewelry, stuff of every kind, on sheetzs spread out on the ground with ropes attached to the corners of the sheets for a quick wrap-up, presumably in case the Guardia Civil came by. People seemed to be buying up the stuff, though, especially the purses, which I expect were knock-offs of popular brands.
By evening the sea of people had transformed into a slow-moving wall.
One would have thought Times Square on New Years Eve, everyone out just for the fun of being there.
But this morning, Sunday morning, by 9 am Puerta del Sol was quiet and already spotlessly clean, the streets freshly washed,
...a lovely Sunday morning in Old Madrid.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
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