March 16th, Alaris train
There are plenty of people on the street at six in the morning in Madrid. But they aren’t early risers, they just haven’t gone to bed yet. There is still a bit of a party atmosphere as people stumble onto the first metro trains running. Sloppy grins all around. The couple across from us makes out, and the guys to the other side proclaim just how much they want some jamÃ³n.
The train is similar to Amtrak at home inside, but is only one level, and a hell of a lot faster. Renfe’s Alaris train goes 220 KM/H. We speed out of the still dark city nibbling our breakfast pastries. We’ve gone through a few iterations of sterile housing, warehouses, and more warehouses. But now, peeking between those spurts of gray are some fields of green. Madrid needs water the stickers around the city say, but it seems clear that the dry landscape around Madrid also needs the water to be productive. The well used land and crops remind me of an older version of home with olive trees.
In between the bits of agriculture near Madrid there is also a lot of familiar growth. Little bits of ticky-tacky suburban developments cut into some hills. Your pick of two models, and one color. But a little bit further into the trip we start getting into the older parts. A lot of white-washed mud brick farm houses and walls are still standing around, but not many are in use.
The bar/cafe has opened and people are wandering into that section of the train for their morning breakfast, assuming they didn’t get it on the way in. Two girls walk by us. One mentions, “I just want to be a little bit drunk”. It is 7:17 AM. I’m going to have a hell of a time keeping up here.