Friday, 1 July 2016

Train across Spain

After a refreshing relaxed nights sleep and breakfast, I left Hotel Don Paco at eight, and strolled over Maria Zambrano station, with half an hour to spare. Promptly at twenty to nine the AVE pulled out of the station and headed for Cordoba at speeds approaching 300kmh. It's a comfortable quiet ride,and after a while the speed is hardly noticeable. More amazing is the beauty of the summer countryside in the bright clear morning light, richer with colours than the last time I made this trip eighteen months ago in early November.

This time there was nobody checking passengers against tickets on board the AVE, which made me wonder about cut-backs. When we arrived at Cordoba however, there was a passenger steward waiting to escort across the station bridge those changing trains to the platform where the TALGO Mediterraneo to Barcelona was due to arrive. The AVE from Malaga linked to another from Sevilla, for its departure while we were going up the escalator to change platforms, making a long goodbye to Cordoba as it left, as well as faster train to Barcelona in half the time our would take.

Minutes after it left, the TALGO arrived already more than half full with holiday-makers, on their family discount tickets, going north to the Costa Dorada. There were groups of teenagers, amusing themselves, parents and grannies, striving to keep little ones amused over the seven and a half hours I was on board. It's such a lovely way to see Spain and Spanish people in their element.

Paul collected me from Benicarlo station and took me home for a splended welcome meal, prepared by Beryl. Their computer programmer son Duncan was there as well, about the same age as Owain, so I enjoyed conversing with him, as well as Mum and Dad. Paul then took me to the Vicarage, updating me on the way, and left me to sort myself out, and first get the house cool, as it was like a sauna, having been closed up for a few days. All was spic and span, and there was food in the fridge to tide me over until I can get to the shops. Great to be back again.

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