Bus Pamplona To Madrid

Bus Pamplona To Madrid

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Bus from Pamplona to Madrid took about five hours and cost 28 Euros.

I was sad to leave Pamplona.  The city offered so much more than I had imagined, and this without seeing bulls run.  The atmosphere was one of great freedom.  Especially evident in the cafes and wine shops where people sat out or stood at tables made of wine barrels to sample little sandwiches and chat.  People were so friendly,  like no other city I have visited.

Only three people waited for the Madrid bus in the station at Pamplona, the other bus having left with 25 people boarding.  Could that nasty ticket seller have such an impact?

My bus to Madrid arrived and I entered but for a moment had trouble finding my seat.  The numbers were above on the luggage space and I was looking below near the reading lights.  A woman passenger approached and showed me where to look.  It was another kind gesture from the people of Pamplona.

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The agricultural landscape on the outskirts of Pamplona  showed sadly through a baleful mist.  During the five-hour trip we passed several villages that had a neglected look as if they were still struggling with the economic conditions in Spain.

We left the station about 8:30 am for the bus trip to  Madrid, driving through bland  country side where the towns we passed appeared to have suffered from the Spanish economic crisis.
We reached Madrid after 1:00 pm and entered another cavernous bus station in the heart of the city.  I headed to the Info booth and was directed towards the metro and a ride to my B&B at the Plaza Mayor.

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The Plaza Mayor showed signs of the garbage workers strike but I didn’t realize that a strike was on and thought it was just another sign of the economic crisis.

I didn’t realize until later when an email from France reached me that there was a garbage collector’s strike underway in Madrid as I waded through trash filled streets.  I couldn’t help thinking that regardless of what I had been told by several acquaintances in France, that Madrid was some pit that I should have avoided.

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The Plaza Mayor is a grand meeting place surrounded by outdoor cafes and shaded tables.

My mood changed as I entered the incredible Plaza Mayor.  Trash in the alcoves, homeless sleeping in boxes, and three policemen on horseback gave the place the aura of desperation but the scale and beauty of the plaza dispelled the tarnish.

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Cafes on the Plaza Mayor offer outdoor seating for coffee or dining

Sure I expected Spain to be desperate in certain quarters but the luxury shops and upscale prices along the route to the Plaza showed that the desperation might not be evenly spread. The Prado Museum  the following day would put the myth of a shabby Madrid to rest as would my B&B overlooking the plaza.

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Spain might be struggling but the cities seemed healthy and attractive to tourists.  Only the poor were poor it seemed. Of course you find this true throughout Europe and in the US at the moment.

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The market at Plaza San Miguel offers all sorts of munchies including fruit and a several wine bars, and of course the cured meats.

Walking the cobble streets around the Plaza Mayor I found some interesting restaurants and wine shops.

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At the Plaza San Miguel Market the shop tender will slice the Jamon Iberico de Bellota, the cured meat of  pigs fed in the wild on an acorn diet,  to your order, sliced into a baguette sandwich or per kilo to go.

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The cured meats of the patas negras pigs fed on an acorn diet are a specialty in Spain. The Jamon Iberico  de Bellota will be thin sliced and sold per kilo or placed in a baguette sandwich.

Next,  Madrid

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About David Hilbert

Photographer, Writer, Traveler
This entry was posted in Travel Spain and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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