[Previous Chapter Here] By 10:30 am and were are back to lugging a summer full stuff out of the hotel and into a cab for our trip to Cordoba. We were heading into uncharted territory now and that always gets me pretty amped up. The hotel that we stayed at was fantastic and I will not argue the fact that it is the number one recommended hotel for Madrid on Trip Advisor. Great staff, quite rooms and impeccable service made it a great place to ride out the jetlag and find our balance.
We hopped into the Taxi and were whisked off through the ancient medieval streets of Madrid. There was no feeling of sadness as we left this beautiful city behind because in a couple of months we would be back to bookend this Spanish adventure. Once the taxi made it through the massive six lane roundabout he pushed his way into the very packed drop of zone. I have been to many trains stations in Europe and I find that more often than not there are just jammed to the gills with people. Luckily we had surveyed the lay of the land on the trip out the day before to pick up the tickets. Noah was excited because mum had made a promise to the toy store once our bags where checked. For the exception of the 3, 4, and 6 am wake ups he has been fantastic and is digging the trip so far.
Bags are checked and we are admitted to the security zone. Noah has his treats and we sit and have a bit to eat before heading down to the train. Things are great and I and still stunned to be here for the summer but there are pangs of stress related to the cost of living here. I am not trying to make a big deal of it but as I paid for breakfast I could not help but notice that it was another $30 meal that really was not all that special. The meals go something like this: Pre-packaged sandwiches, two café con leche’s, fruit salad, juice and yogurt. Lunches closer to $50 when you add the beer and dinner well you get the idea. No big deal right it was only two months as I did quit my job and all? We were in the big city and every thing’s more expensive here I figured. Well I pushed the anxiety of cashflow back down for the time being and refocused on the next event…THE AVE HIGH SPEED TRAIN baby!
Ever since my back packing days in 91′ have been in love with two things trains and Spain. Now when I was in Spain in 91′ the tracks were still narrow gage left overs from the age of Franco. Rickety cars that rocked and rolled so badly that you actually felt se sick at times. Well the times have changed what used to take me 12 hours in a smoke filled cars now takes three. Not just nine hours faster but in a sleak spaceship like train that looks like could be the future.
The AVE’s are all lined up on the platforms like rockets ready for lift off and I think that I am more excited that our four year old. Once the train left the station it travelled at ‘regular’ speed for quite a while. Come on man lets get the hustle on I want to travel near 300km on the ground. It was kind of the same feeling as when an escalator it broken and you have to actually walk on it. You know that feeling like this is even harder that regular stairs…well maybe it’s just me then. But the sense that this train could go 300k means that it should and the sluggish pace that we were travelling was not cutting it. Then I heard it. There was a low click in the under carriage and then the feeling that I was being pushed into my seat. Not the sudden feeling like on an airliner but a slow steady increase of pressure. There is a speedometer at the front of each are so you can get an official confirmation that you are indeed going fast.
As we blasted through the countryside the olive tree covered plains gave way to the mountains to the south. The passing scenery and the remaining jetlag had a hypnotic affect and before I knew it I had passed out into a light slumber and forgot all about the fact that we probably couldn’t really afford this trip.
When we exited the AVE in Cordoba we noticed two things right away. The first thing that we noticed was the jump in humidity and temperature and second was the fact that it was siesta! Damn I forgot how long it takes to get used to the fact that entire cities close down between the hours of 2 and 5 in the afternoon.
I can recommend taking the AVE enough. If you are from North America it will be even ore exciting due to the fact that high speed trains are pretty rare and it’s cool to see that trains are still relevant in the modern world.[nggallery id=6]
Photos copyright JP Holecka