Thursday, February 16, 2012

TP Thursday: The Train in Spain

We have limited options for train travel in the Pacific Northwest so we savor the experience when we are in Europe. In November, we traveled in Spain by train:

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We first hopped aboard in Osuna, the town I’ve written about in earlier posts – Land of the Olives.  We loved its small station, opened in 1874. The agent who manned the ticket window also had the only desk job. Prior to each  train’s arrival, though, he’d put on his uniform’s cap and head to the station’s platform to manually adjusted the large levers that set the tracks in the correct position.

DSCF1696 From that history-laden platform, we caught a regional, regionales, train - similar to this one - that delivered us to Malaga. Two tickets cost 22.40-euro, or about $31US.  We purchased them the day we traveled.

After spending a week on the Costa del Sol, we returned to Malaga’s station to catch a long-distance train that would take us north through central Spain, hurtling us as speeds reaching 300 kilometers an hour through Andalusia and its neighboring Castilla-La Mancha region to Madrid.

DSCF1908In stark contrast to Osuna, Malaga’s train station is an enormous – think international airport size – modern facility.


DSCF1911The trains are equally as modern . . .and large; very large. Renfe is the national train service that runs most of Spain’s trains.



 
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We walked past the engine pictured above to get to our car, half way down the length of the train. Note how far behind me the train stretches back to this engine.

The cost of our two AVE (the high speed train) tickets, which we purchased before leaving home and printed out on our computer (Malaga to Barcelona), was 316-euro, or $433US.

We would  have paid less to fly; it would certainly have been faster, but for us, the trip is as much about the journey as the destination and had we flown we would have missed scenes such as these:


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One of Spain’s “White Towns” – loved the castle on the hill to the left.

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Spectacular vistas stretched for miles in every direction. . .

DSCF1933At Madrid’s Atocha Station we connected with the train that would  take us to our final destination, Barcelona, on the northeast coast.

Again we had a slide show of Catalonian towns through the power lines that often line the tracks. 

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Trains are a ticket to adventure for us. Got any suggestions for our next train trip?

Today is Travel Photo Thursday so be sure to visit, Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos and destination temptations.

17 comments:

  1. Love Spain and trains.
    I agree, Jackie, "the trip is as much about the journey as the destination." I go by train as much as possible, especially in Europe. There's so much to see!

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    1. I'll check with you for some recommendations the next time we head that direction.

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  2. I wish we had a train system like this in the U.S. Last month (I think) the San Francisco Chronicle ran stories comparing the Spanish high-speed trains to our "Maybe-One-of-These-Days" fast L.A. to S.F. train.

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    1. One of the prettiest train trips I've taken on the West Coast is the one from San Diego to L.A. Loved the way it hung on to the coastline.

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  3. I really enjoy trips with the train. You see so much more of the countryside than when travelling by plane. The picture of the Renfo is too cool. Looks very futuristic :)

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  4. I LOVE to travel by train too. I wish we had good ones in the US like they do in Spain. . .

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  5. We flew between big cities in Spain - except for one bus ride between Ronda and Seville. But I totally agree - slow travel affords a much deeper appreciation of the countryside.
    I hadn't appreciated just how modern and fast some of the Spanish trains are.

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    1. I think you'd love the Spanish trains. We took a bus from Seville to Osuna and found it to also be fun, inexpensive and extremely modern and comfortable compared to the long distance bus service available in the United States.

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  6. I also savor traveling by train in Europe. Here in California we're in the same situation as you are in the Pacific Northwest -- too bad, isn't it? This is good information about train travel in Spain -- hope to get there soon. Cool pics, too.

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    1. The powers that be keep talking about improving our U.S. train system but I fear I won't live long enough to see it happen. Thanks for visiting Cathy!

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  7. Trains are truly a wonderful way to travel especially in Europe. We rode on the Renfe too from Madrid to Segovia and loved it. I really liked the pictures you captured along the way. I was lucky enough to be a train commuter from N. San Diego to Orange County for 5 years with the one of the best coast line train rides.

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    1. Segovia is on my 'bucket list' to visit for the return trip to Spain and you've given me a great idea for getting there.

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  8. I love this post - looks like a great way to travel - one I hope to be able to do one day!

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    1. Glad you liked it. I think kids would have a ball on a train - especially being able to get up and move around and walk to the restaurant car. Hopefully, you'll get that train ride soon!

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  9. I always prefer to take the trains when I can. I love trains, especially when traveling through europe or asia.

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  10. I've just returned from Spain and I took the train from Madrid to Granada and Granada to Seville. Both trips were wonderful. I loved the scenery. All of those olive trees along the way were fantastic. On the trip to Granada it was a full moon...stunning.

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    1. We have been in the fantasy stage of travel again and Joel's been researching the Spanish trains between Madrid and Malaga. It would be a reason in itself to return to Spain!

      One of my biggest frustrations of our previous trips was being unable to capture the vast acreage of olive trees. . .my photos just don't convey that. Oh, and to have a full moon. . .

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