26th Aug 2010 - Spain
Valencia to Barcelona - adrenaline ++++
We knew late last evening that because of the influx of about 10000 extra people into Valencia for La Tomatina that there were no seats available on the train to Barcelona in the morning but that there were in the afternoon although the price had doubled to 71 euros. Our plan therefore was that we didn't need to be out of the hotel until midday and therefore Nancy and I would sleep in and Andrew would go and get our train tickets when he woke up and we would have lunch at our favorite tapas bar before the 3 hour train to Barcelona.
Well - that was our plan.
I awoke to the phone ringing at 1000 - it was Andrew saying that he had just run back from the train station and the only seats available for the whole day on the train were at 1035 and if we didn't get it we couldn't get to Barcelona that day and we had a hotel booked and no refund. Did I think i could do it? My question was could Nancy do it? We decided to try.
I washed my face and cleaned teeth quickly, dressed, shoved everything into my bags. Andrew was still packing their bags and Nancy had been dispatched to the station to queue for tickets. Andrew ran ahead to stand in the line for security (as well had to do this in Alicante). I checked us all out and then literally ran for 10 minutes to the station. A little exaggeration I did run (or trot) half of the way and then fast walked. Who knew I could run so far but there you go sometimes the improbable is possible. Andrew was way impressed with how fast i got there - just behind him actually. Nancy was still 5th in a slow queue and we had 7 minutes until the train left. I found the platform with all the bags and stood outside the carriage awaiting them and the tickets. no security as it was a 'regional' train which meant that it stops everywhere so our 3 hour trip would take 6.5 hours. We got tickets and onboard with 30 seconds to spare - all feeling hot and exhausted - none of us had brushed our hair. i have to confess I did do the make up thing on the train and my hair didn't look much difference to usual according to Andrew - dont know if that was the right answer or not. amazingly hot day and the air conditioning was only just working but we settled into our all day trip. I had no water - Nancy and Andrew didn't have enough and there was no where on the train to buy it so we suffered thru headaches from not drinking enough. We had one change after 3 hours - most of the other tourists got off at a stop before the one we thought which confused us a bit but we decided to trust our judgement and stay on until the next one. We went inland for 15 minutes and came to the right stop - fortunately a small cafe where we grabbed rolls and water before getting back onto another train and 15 minutes later picked up everyone who had got off at the previous stop - AND we had the best seats. Finally got to Barcelona feeling smelly and hot and tired - we weren't really that smelly - just felt it. Because it was the regional train it only cost us 25 euros instead of the usual 35 euros or 71 euros we thought we were going to have to pay so treated ourselves to a cab to the hotel for 10 euros.
Sunotel was on a main street in central Barcelona - small but clean and good air con - more expensive than the other hotels but it is central Barcelona. Hit the shower and had a rest and then went out for dinner. There was a place recommended that was up a steady incline for about 20 minutes. Looked a nice place. Nancy continues to be disappointed that the menus are in Spanish - unfortunately for everyone Barcelona speaks Catalan as well as Spanish. As part of preserving the Catalan language most things are in Catalan which I do not understand. Previously I have been able to translate bits off the menu but not tonight. Nancy also gets disappointed that the staff cant always speak English. My point back is if a Spanish person comes to London they wouldn't expect staff to speak Spanish to them would they - she just doesn't get it. Anyhow we managed to get something reasonably OK with a bit of help. Lovely walk down the incline back to the hotel.
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