My first time on a super speedy train. Honestly, it was remarkable because it was so unremarkable. There was a readout that gave the speed, 300km/h at peak, but before I noticed I wondered if I was on the right train. It’s smooth and quiet. I spent the entire time completely absorbed in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography only to occasionally glance out at the empty lands whizzing by. Overall though, my experience was really positive. The seats were fairly roomy, you could easily get up and walk around, go to the cafeteria car or whatever else. I never did because that book is soo damned interesting but you could. I have no idea what business or club class would be like but I imagine it would be incredibly swanky.
If I lived in Europe I would probably only fly somewhere if the distance was significant (i.e. London – Madrid). There will soon be a track linking Madrid to Paris in around 6 hours. I would much prefer a 6 hour comfortable and convenient train ride than a two hour flight with all the hassles of airports even though in Europe flying is often cheaper.
My hostel in Barcelona seems way nicer than my hostel in Madrid. It is spacious, bright, and it has showers that make sense. I was beginning to feel really burnt out from my time in Madrid because the hostel was so confined and cramped. Hopefully this place is significantly better. Also, the hostel has an awesome dog.
I ended up wandering around with an American exchange student who was studying in a town nearby Barcelona. We briefly visited Las Ramblas, the main street for shopping and eating in Barcelona, sort of like Robson St. in Vancouver except on lots of steroids. The streets were absolutely crowded with people. Just off the street there is del Mercat de La Boqueria, which is sort of like the Granville Island market on steroids. I appologise to any non-Vancouver readers who did not get the last two metaphors. We grabbed some delicious fresh made juice-like drinks and continued to wander. And wander… and wander. Barcelona, like Madrid, is really easy to get lost in.
We checked out a few stores and I actually bought a shirt. I was not expecting to really buy anything on this trip but clothing is priced pretty reasonable here and for whatever reason European style clothing seems to fit me a little better. Luckily I packed really light so I have some room to add a few more shirts.
Kebabs. DELICIOUS. Cheap. My phone was dead so I couldn’t get a picture but I will probably eat one again soon. It’s basically a pita filled with delicious chicken and beef, sauce, lettuce and other veggies. It came with coke and fries for 5 euros (about 6.50 Canadian).
Tomorrow I am going to visit some of the major sights in the core Barcelona area.