Up at 4 am Saturday morning to catch my first plane to Madrid. I arrived in Madrid 9 am Sunday morning. I was able to get maybe 4 1/2 hours of sleep on the plane, but it is enough. No problems,but it is always a grueling trip.
I am making an untraditiotal start on the Camino Madrid. Most walkers start in Madrid, but I have wanted to visit El Escorial,about 30 miles northwest of Madrid for some time now. I took the Cercanias train (local commuter light rail) from the airport, an easy and cheap (4 euro) way to get started. This palace, church, and library here was King Phillip II's answer to fight back against the Protestant reformation. The Kings of Spain were also great collectors of art and many are on view, including El Greco, Ribera, Titian, and Bosch. I would have like to post some pictures of them, but no photos were allowed. My only complaint was that many paintings were poorly lit, poorly maintained, and the windows were open allowing outside air to blow through the galleries.
I then took the train back about 5 miles to the city of Collado Villalba, where I am treating myself to a hotel room for the first night. Tomorrow morning, I will start my Camino from here. Although this city is not on the Camino, I will join up with it tomorrow in Navacerrada.