The Anonymous Widower

From Madrid To London

As the hotel at Chamartin didn’t have a restaurant and there wasn’t any tea or coffee making facilities in the room, I went for an explore at about four and found the station opened at 04:30.

So as I didn’t have any soap or shampoo with me and my luxurious four-star hotel didn’t provide any, I went back to the station as soon as it opened, after a breakfast of an EatNakd bar.

As I was hungry, in the most strange of hotels, I decided that the best thing to do, was take a train to Barcelona, then a TGV to Paris, followed by a Eurostar home.

At least the train companies seem to have systems that men you can get a keenly priced ticket from a machine without an ego or communication problem.

I found out by a roundabout way, that contrary to my informant from Spanish Railways at the airport, there were no trains to Barcelona from Chamartin, but one left at 05:50 from Atocha.

So it was a taxi to Atocha station at a cost of twenty euros, which I could have done the previous night for nothing on my ticket from the airport. Talk about the airport information guy, being a Spaniard in the Works.

To add insult to injury, there were several hotels in the area of Atocha, one of which was a brand I trust!

I bought the ticket to Barcelona with ease for €59 and after going through a full airline style security check, I just made the AVE high speed train to Barcelona. It was a Siemens train and like it seems all of their products had been designed without litter bins, although it did have an ash tray.  The latter was unneeded as the train was non-smoking. I did get a reasonable drink in the buffet, but of course nothing to eat was gluten-free.

The change of train at VBarcelona was pretty quick, but I did need to buy another ticket from the ticket office, rather than an intelligent machine.  I also had to go through security again to get back on the platform, where I arrived to get the TGV Duplex to Paris. Just 25 mins after arriving at 08:55, I was on my way to Paris. There are four trains a day for Paris and I paid a full fare of €170. has a full description of the journey.

This railway line up the Spanish and French coasts to the Rhone valley, is one of the best train rides in Europe. I didn’t chose to be on the top deck of the train, but that is where I was allocated a seat.

The Pyrenees

The Pyrenees

This picture shows the snow-capped mountains just before Perpignan and this shows the Etang de Thau before Sete.

Etang de Thau

Etang de Thau

They don’t show in the picture, but there were lots of greater flamingoes in the lakes. I never realised that these birds were so common in France, until a holiday in the area in about 1975.

Once in Paris at 15:53, I didn’t hang about but just jumped on the RER at Gare de Lyon for Paris Nord and the Eurostar. An hour and twenty minutes after arriving in Paris, I was leaving.

I finally arrived in London at 18:30 or just thirteen hours forty minutes after leaving Madrid.

This journey will get quicker, as for quite a way along the south coast of France, the trains don’t run on high speed lines. I can’t find any references to the distances on the journey, although Madrid to Barcelona and Paris to London are given as 621 and 495 kilometres respectively. Map Crow gives the Barcelona to Paris distance at 831 kilometres. I know this isn’t accurate and is probably a bit short, but that gives a total of 1947 kilometres, so my journey was at an average speed of 142 kmh. This compares with an average speed of 200 and 220 kmh on the first and last legs from Madrid to Barcelona and Paris to London respectively.

If the centre section was capable of an end-to-end average of 200 kmh, then a time from Madrid to London of under ten hours should be possible, especially if it was one train all the way.


February 12, 2014 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


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