I need to buy some camping gas so that Mum and I can boil water and cook some meals while we are traveling and hiking together on our road trip of Spain. I’ve been focusing my efforts on eating a clean diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy for the past few days so I am keen to keep this up. And being able to cook means we can have some control over our meals. We’re not going to cook every night but it will be nice not to have to eat out every night too. So I take the commuter train out to Pozuelo, some 15km from the center of Madrid. There’s a Decathlon there that stocks camping gas.
After buying the camping gas I decide to walk back to the hostel. It’s only about 15km (10 miles) and I can see from the map that there is a large tract of parkland or forest that I can explore on the way back. Google Maps shows that there are walking trails through the parkland / forest and otherwise I’m sure I’ll find my way anyway. Besides, the suburbs represent a whole other side to Madrid life (mind you, the prevalence of dogs is the same).
I meander my way through the streets. Paul always tells me there’s something to see everywhere you go. This twisted arch is proof of that.
As is this tiny little Smart car that is barely more than a motorbike with a steering wheel and metal shell.
I get stuck near a highway and have to turn down a busy main road to get to a spot where I can cross more safely. Along the main road there is a vacant block and a gravel path that runs behind a transmission tower. I follow the path through the vacant land as the sun starts to set on the horizon. I end up getting a lucky break on the other side where a fence has fallen, allowing me access to the road without having to back track. It’s all part of the adventure.
By the time I get to the path across the highway it’s starting to get dark. I leave the suburbs and road noise behind to follow a path heading in the direction of Madrid city centre. It’s lovely out here among the silhouettes of trees under the stars.
For the next 5-6km (3-4 miles) I follow the paths in the forest relying on the golden orange glow of the city lights on the horizon for navigation and light. It’s pretty easy going. I’m used to trekking in the dark and I don’t need a torch. About half way I find a lovely spot under the stars and sit there taking in the quiet. Madrid has been a culture shock and I’m happy to be out in nature for a while. It’s so warm I even consider just laying down to sleep right here under the stars. But I haven’t eaten dinner and know there’s a bowl of pumpkin, carrot and leek soup waiting for me in the fridge at the hostel and it tasted so good when I made it last night that I decide to continue.
Too soon I reach the city. It’s about 9:00pm by now and the city is just starting to wake up. I take in the reflections of the lights on the river.
I could go straight back to the hostel but decide instead to take in the city’s night time sights and sounds by walking around random streets. It’s interesting to see a sleepless city. Young people congregate in groups while people my age and older walk in pairs. There’s a sense of anticipation – perhaps for a big night of food, beer and wine. I take it all in but don’t feel drawn to it. The party scene isn’t my thing but I enjoy the atmosphere. Around 10:30pm I finally return home to the hostel for that bowl of soup … it tastes better than it did last night when I cooked it … though that might just be because I’m hungry.