My Saturday excursion

(Today’s blog post is a bit different, as I realised that I am taking lots of photos but then not writing about them! So I had to address that…).

Last week, when I was haunting the tourist info centre in search of exciting places to go, I picked up a brochure about Miguel Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. I read Don Quixote last year (it took me FOREVER), and although I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite book ever, historically, it is very interesting, and Don Quixote’s escapades are endearing in a way (he’s also incredibly annoying, and numerous times, I almost gave up on the book as he did yet another ridiculous thing).

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Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza

Cervantes was born in a town called Alcalá de Henares, 30 kilometres from the centre of Madrid, and the house he was born in has been turned into a museum. So today, as I wasn’t doing anything, I decided to go on a little excursion there.

I walked to Atocha, the central train station, then caught the first service to Alcalá de Henares.

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This is the corner of my street, Calle de Santa Engracia

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Statue outside Alcala de Henares  station, commemorating the victims of the Atocha railway bombing

I then walked up to the Cervantes birthplace museum, getting somewhat lost along the way (it wouldn’t be a proper excursion without at least one moment of blind panic that I don’t know where I am).

The inside of the house was really interesting, as they had set it up so that it was just like it would have been when Cervantes was born in 1547. It was particularly intriguing to see the room which was set up like a doctor’s surgery, as Cervantes’ dad used to run a medical clinic, specialising in “blood letting” (not too sure what this involved, but it doesn’t sound particularly pleasant).

Afterwards, I had to pose for my obligatory tourist shot with the Don Quixote and Sancho Panza statues. (Random observation- it seems like statues which you can pose with are quite popular in Spain. There was a big queue lining up for these ones, so I had to sneak in quickly, thrusting my camera at some friendly fellow tourists as I did so).

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I then wandered around the rest of the town, which has some very impressive architecture.

Then I caught the train back to Atocha, and walked home again.

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Seriously, how amazing are the buildings? These were opposite the Retiro Park.

Overall, it was a really good day, and now I can say that I’ve seen the birthplaces of both Federico García Lorca and Miguel Cervantes. Maybe I should do a Spanish literary birthplaces pilgrimage?

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