Happy New Year! I’m back and I’m not going to pretend like I never left. Taking this hiatus was three things: difficult, necessary and unplanned. I hope that your holidays were peaceful and that the rest of your year is even more so.
On my way back to the United States from Nigeria, I had the option to route my Qatar ticket through Madrid or Paris. Since the layover in Paris was much shorter, I opted for a stop in Madrid where I would have 5 hrs between connections.
Honestly, two layovers are not ideal, but I’ve learned to see the beauty in them. These days, I simply plan my time in-country properly so that I can maximize it.
It was morning but still dark when the plane touched down at Madrid-Barajas airport. I shifted impatiently in my seat, already thinking of the line at immigration and whether or not I would have enough time to go out into the city.
As quickly as I could manage – without running into people or breaking into a sprint- I walked out of the plane, through the jetway and straight to immigration. Thankfully, there was no line -probably because of how early the flight landed- and I was waived through in less than 5 minutes; my passport now bearing a distinct black stamp that signified entry into Madrid.
Post-immigration, I found an ATM to withdraw Euro, inquired about the train, and started on the short ride to Atocha Station. Here I would get off to walk in the area of the city that houses Parque Buen Retiro (in English: Buen Retiro Park). I chose this location for it’s proximity to the airport, and because my cousin had shown me beautiful photos of her summer visit to the park. A few people were out on runs, others walked one dog or two, but mostly the park was quiet. I met a lovely shop owner whose Spanish I found easy to follow. He could tell I wasn’t a native speaker and probably slowed down to accommodate me. Thoughtful. We had a funny conversation about the current state of U.S politics, which can be summarised as this – neither of us is impressed with the current state of things. I took photos in the park and of its outskirts and sat to watch as day broke over the city. Buen Retiro is a beautiful park even in winter when the flowers aren’t blooming, but flying out of Madrid was the highlight of my trip, for this view of the stunning snow-capped mountain range that stretches for miles.
I cannot wait to revisit Madrid. Next time, I’ll either extend my layover or plan a full trip. Have any of you been to Madrid? What did you get up to? Comment below to let me know how you deal with layovers.
As always, thank you for reading!
All photos shot and edited on iPhone 6S+
Same footprints, Different sands