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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Take the Train (if there is one)
Monday, October 16, 2023 @ 10:04 AM

The best thing about the train is that it will take you into the centre of the city. You won’t be dumped in some stainless steel and marble airport half an hour or more – by taxi - from the downtown.

Living in Almería – one of the cities that has waited patiently for about twenty years for a high-speed train to take us somewhere, indeed anywhere… we have either had to get in the car, or on a very uncomfortable and slow bus, or take the trouble to buy an air-ticket, or climb aboard the one existing slow train – there's only one train station in the entire province, and that's in Almería City: a line which meanders across the landscape before eventually hooking up with civilization in Linares (Jaén) and so on northwards or alternatively west to Seville. 

The problem with arriving by car at your city destination is increasingly - where to leave it? 

There never was much in the way of railways in Almería, beyond a few mining routes built with foreign investment in around 1900 – now all since lost beyond the elevated rail-head in Almería City (now restored and converted into a tourist attraction) known as el Cable Inglés.

Trains are the best, because one can wander around in them – pop into the bar for a brandy and to read the paper. Even seated, one can stretch one’s legs. There’s no baggage issues either. Bring along a full suitcase, why don’t you.

Many years ago, taking the Sleeper to Madrid was, if you’ll forgive the pun, just the ticket. The carriage, built in Birmingham in 1948, was sturdy and comfortable, and one was delivered on Platform One in Madrid’s Atocha railway station at seven in the morning – the perfect time for a coffee and a bun before taking a taxi to one’s appointments.

Trains are better than airplanes, and if they are fast, then there’s little more to be said. Downtown to downtown without taxi rides to and from the airport – plus one is doing one’s bit for the struggle against Global Warming and one's Carbon Footprint production.

(A pop singer called Taylor Swift who leads the pack in air-rides with almost 8,300 tons of CO2 emissions in 2022 might want to take note. Take the train, Child, we’ll wait).

Trains then, will deliver one feeling refreshed while other forms of transport lean towards leaving one nervous, washed-out and irritable.

They say that Almería – poor forgotten province in the south East of Spain – should finally have its AVE (tren de alta velocidad española) by 2026.

Until then, By Jove, I shall be staying home on the couch and reading some well-illustrated travelers’ guides. 

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