There are two contractions that must happen in Spanish. Whenever a + el appear (unless the latter is part of a proper name, e.g., El Salvador), they contract to form al. When de + el appear, they contract to form del. Note in the last example that the contraction del may also indicate possession.
|Estoy al punto de volverme loco.||I’m at the point of going crazy.|
|Estamos a diez minutos del hotel.||We are ten minutes from the hotel.|
|Los periódicos son del vendedor.||The newspapers are the vendor’s.|