Fast train in Spain stays mainly on the plain

After our out of this world experience in the Barcelo Sants hotel in Barcelona (See ‘on hotels’ ) we walk downstairs to the train station to secure our ticket to Madrid. I try my luck with the ticket machine, and every option for today tells me the train is full. Ooops – long weekend, Sunday afternoon; will we have to check out of this world again? Werner reclaims our place in the line, and the Renfe sales window tells us there are no more economy tickets, and the first available is first class at 16.00. We’ll take it. We are told our tickets give us access to the first class lounge up to 2 hours before departure. What with that and the baggage security, it feels more like flying.

And we have time to see something of this city.

I talk Werner into taking a tourist bus around to see the sights.. Big mistake. For 27 euros each, all the upstairs seats are full, in fact the whole bus is full. Every time someone gets off it’s almost like blood in the water as people launch themselves at the stairs only to find that the seats are still full. We cut our tour short at the bottom of las Ramblas, and walk a while. The temperature difference with Paris is extreme – after the 14 deg rain, we now enjoy 27 deg sunshine

Una cerveza por favor and all is well in the world, we can watch other tourists wandering around.

Not wanting to waste our investment, we catch up with our tour bus again at the top of las Ramblas, and manage to score a seat in the scorching sun upstairs, where we get a quick look at the Gaudis before arriving at the station again.

Which makes me wonder – is that where our expression “gaudy” comes from? Anyone?

Our first class lounge offers a welcome respite from the heat outside AND our favourite olives – aceitos con achuga.

We are in cocha 1 – at the very front of the train (get off right at the entance), leather reclining seats, with our very own cafeteria attached. And dining service, including digestiv brandy in the nicest bottle – I just have to keep.

Yee haa… Off we go, in just over 2.5 hours we will land in Atocha station Madrid. Better than flying.

Excuse me, I have to adjust my camera settings for photos at 300kph …. Oh, hot towellettes followed by aperitif and a meal – hey this isn’t bad at all! I can kick back and watch Philomena in Spanish with Spanish subtitles – cool.

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