October 23, 2002

10/23/02 Madrid

On the recommendation of a travel agent, I'm going to fly home tomorrow. Because next week is November 1st is All Saints Day. It is a big deal here in Spain and a lot of people will be traveling. At first I was going to take the bus from Salas, but at the last minute, Amparo and I drove to Burgos. Good thing I packed last night.

After confirming my new airline reservation, we went to the bus station to find out about getting to Madrid. Not sure if I was lucky or not but a bus for Madrid was leaving right then, that very minute. Paid my 12 € and ran for the door. Barely got to say goodbye to Amparo. This bus takes an hour less than the one from Salas, but I didn't get a chance to call Josué. He's kind enough to let me stay the night at his folks apartment, so it will be easier to catch my plane in the morning.

Amparo said this is all working out for the best. The weather in Salas probably won't improve by next week. And she said I'm a different person after my Camino. Quieter, less animated, not talking much. Maybe my head is so full of two months of intense Spain, that my poor brain needs time to sort it all out. Or maybe I'm just exhausted after walking 900-km in 36-days without a break. Only time will tell I suppose.

I called Josué and told him that I was in Madrid about three hours earlier than expected. He was just sitting down to lunch but said it should take him about an hour to get to the bus station from across town. "No problem" I say.

In Madrid, I find out there are four bus stations. Josué tells me that 90% of the buses arrive at one station and from my description it sounds like the one I'm at. But as time went from an hour to two, one question he asked me kept nagging at my brain. "Which station are you at?" This one seemed huge, almost more like an airport with multiple terminals and everything, with hundreds of people coming and going. At three hours, I knew I had guessed wrong, but what to do.

I looked up and finally saw a familiar face. Andreia was running toward me with Rick close behind. "I knew you'd be here!" she said giving me another of her warm embraces. She had met Josué at the big bus station, and while he went home to wait for another call from me, Andreia had decided to try this smaller bus station. It was good to see her and Rick again. We had some hot chocolate while waiting for Josué to arrive.

Turns out this bus station is within walking distance of Josué's home. It was a beautiful evening, so we walked instead of taking the subway. Two of his sisters are traveling, one in Berlin and another in Kenya, so there's room for me to stay with his family.

Like everyone I've met in Spain, Josué's family were so generous. His mother made me a quick meal that was wonderful. Afterward, I sat and talked with Josué's whole family, at least everyone that was home. His father works in the courts, while his mother was a nurse before she had all these kids to take care of, three girls and two boys. Josué's grandmother is 93 and still full of life. I loved her smile. His sister seemed a little occupied helping to take care of one of their cousins who proudly said he was five.

When the family heard I was coming back to Spain next summer, they invited me to come stay with them in their big house on the Galician Coast. So generous.