after traveling for more than a month on your own power, getting anywhere you wanted to get by virtue of your own two, weary, worn-out feet, it is a singular experience to return to the world of motorized transportation. you mean I can get more than 15 miles in one day?! how spectacular!
while in hindsight it might have been easier to fly in and out of Madrid and taken a train to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port and from Santiago de Compostela, it was a treat to take even a short trip by train from Santiago to Vigo (and to visit with Felix & Kate at the beginning of the trip as they kindly transported us to our point of departure). when one lives someplace with limited (to use a staggering understatement) train travel opportunities, the prospect of taking shelling out a few bucks to ride an hour down the tracks is a wondrous prospect. I’ve traveled a fair bit by trains on my travels and I’m still impressed each time I walk into a station as to how seamlessly one can procure a ticket, walk out onto the platform and hop on a train. (of course, there’s a small chance I went about it all wrong in the Czech Republic and just lucked out not getting nabbed by transport police … but I think I did ok.)
our last day in Spain dawned drizzly though not unpleasant. after a slow start and a leisurely exploration of the old town, lunch at a tasty Italian cafe in sight of the cathedral spires, (and an ultimately unsuccessful quest to send some wine home) we grabbed our packs and headed for an earlier-than-planned train to Vigo and its airport. the ride south was uneventful and odd in both its novelty and normality. lots of young people heading from one town to anther for a Saturday, couple of people with suitcases also heading to or from an airport.
rather than figure out a means of getting to the airport by public transportation from the Vigo train station, we opted for the luxury of a taxi, which whipped us up the hill — and into fog bank blanketing the coast — in record time. our flight to Madrid wasn’t scheduled to depart Vigo until after 9:00 p.m., but we took a gamble leaving early in the hopes we’d be able to catch something earlier; we arrived at the airport in just enough time to catch a 5:00ish flight that would get us in about three hours early.
… if the fog hadn’t been bad enough to cancel all flights in and out of Vigo for the duration of the day! they put all of us Madrid-bound passengers on a bus (back) to Santiago and the airport there, which wasn’t completely fogged in. we still ended up in Madrid two hours earlier than scheduled and managed to find some food and experience something of a real night out in a Spanish metropolis on our 34th night in the country.