Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Not RENFE

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

June 13, 2009

Today we took our only long-distance train that was not run by RENFE.  The reason is that they operate in Spain and this was the only long-distance train we took out of Spain.  On the way out of Lisbon we went through the Estacao de Oriente making it the last of the many times going through there.

Traveling through Estacao de Oriente

Traveling through Estacao de Oriente

The quality of the CP train was decent but it really reinforced the quality that the RENFE has.

I just started to understand some Spanish!

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

June 11, 2009

Just when I was starting to understand some Spanish we go to Portugal.  We got on a bus that took us from Merida, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal.  Not once crossing the border between the two countries did we have to show our passport because in the European Union you are free to move between countries unlike earlier where we would have had to go through a customs checkpoint.  We then arrived in Lisbon and I once again was totally without any clue as to communicating.  The one nice part was that more people in Portugal spoke English than in Spain.  We came into the Santiago Calatrava designed Estacao de Oriente.

Estacao de Oriente

Estacao de Oriente

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We need to be at the top of that other hill!

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

June 10, 2009

After the morning in Sevilla we got on the bus and headed to Merida.  The ride to Merida was the first bus we took and I must say that I prefer the trains to the buses.  When we arrived in Merida we started to walk to where the Google Map showed the hotel to be.  We got there and there appeared to be no hotel and we were just a little confused.  Then we figured out that we were on the other side of the city from where we were supposed to be.

Merida Map

Merida Map

Luckily we were not in a hurry to get there so we were able to walk there and still have time for dinner.  Probably the worst part of this whole ordeal is that we knew the hotel had a pool so we were all looking forward to jumping in a cooling off.  Well when we got there they said that their pool was closed and did not open until the 15th.  What luck!

Major Train Ride #2

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

June 7, 2009

Today we traveled for the second time on a train but this ride was significantly shorter but took much longer because the trains did not travel as fast as the AVE high speed trains.

Madrid to Cordoba – 183 miles – 102 minutes – 108 mph

Cordoba to Granada – 80 miles – 152 minutes – 32 mph

The difference between the two rides is staggering and shows how a high speed train network can improve over a standard network making it actually competitive.

Photos from train ride

The Travel Begins!

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

June 6, 2009

We had an extra day off and after the week in Madrid we spent it relaxing.  At night we had a ride on the RENFE AVE train from Atocha Station.  This was the first major high speed rail line built in Spain.  In terms of using this over air travel I am totally for the train because the time is not much different and the amount of time you need to arrive before departure is minimal.  It is possible to show up to the train 15 minutes before it leaves and make it on without having issues.  Also, unlike airlines, the trains are very reliant with RENFE giving a guarantee that if a train is more than 20 minutes late you get a 100% refund (I would like to see an airline do that and stay in business).

The train ride was great and we just had a short walk to the hostel when we got to Cordoba.  In Cordoba we stayed at the Hosteling International – Instalacion Juvenil which was a very nice hostel that was simple but provided free breakfast.  After we got in the hostel we went out and took a walk to see what was around and found we were just 5 minutes from the meeting point on the Roman bridge.

Best Day of the Trip: Toledo

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

June 4, 2009

In what is easily the best day of the trip we made our way to Toledo.  Again we started our day in Atoch Station but instead of getting on a regular train we got on to a high speed train.  I have for a long time liked the idea of a high speed train network and this was the first time I have been on a high speed train.  The high speed train was very nice and found the ride smooth.  We made it to Toledo in a half-hour versus the hour it takes to drive it in a car.

Upon arrival in Toledo we started the walk to the old city which sits up on a hill above the surrounding area.

Toledo from below

Toledo from below

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El Escorial Day Trip!

Friday, July 31st, 2009

June 3, 2009

In the morning we met at Atocha Station to take a train out to El Escorial.  Atocha Station was expanded recently to meat the new demands of the high speed trains.  This addition by Rafael Moneo holds the new train sheds while the original train shed was turned into a greenhouse.

Atocha Station Dome

Atocha Station Dome

Atocha Station Original Shed

Atocha Station Original Shed

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Welcome to Spain

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

May 29, 2009

We arrived in Madrid late at night from our Ryanair flight.  This was my first experience with a super-low cost carrier (they make Southwest look fancy).  The plane itself was nice but was very bare bones with simple plastic backed seats that had no pockets to select you own seating.  Unlike other airlines you received nothing without paying including any sort of snack.

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Adios

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

I am off to the train which will take me to the airport where I will fly to Dublin!

Trip Overview

Sunday, May 24th, 2009
Map of trip through Spain

Map of trip through Spain

The trip will last for 5 weeks and travel all through the country of Spain and Portugal.  The order of destinations is:

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Sevilla Train

Saturday, April 18th, 2009
  • Train: RENFE R-598 13947
  • Date: 6/8/09
  • From: Granada
  • Leave: 8:23 PM
  • To: Sevilla
  • Arrive: 11:32 PM

Granada Train

Saturday, April 18th, 2009
  • Train: RENFE Altaria 09234
  • Date: 6/7/09
  • From: Cordoba
  • Leave: 7:09 PM
  • To: Granada
  • Arrive: 9:41 PM

Cordoba Train

Saturday, April 18th, 2009
  • Train: RENFE Ave 02200
  • Date: 6/6/09
  • From: Madrid
  • Leave: 8:00 PM
  • To: Cordoba
  • Arrive: 9:42 PM

Toledo Train Day Trip

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

To Toledo

  • Train: RENFE Avant 08292
  • Date: 6/4/09
  • From: Madrid
  • Leave: 9:20 AM
  • To: Toledo
  • Arrive: 9:50 AM

From Toledo:

  • Train: RENFE Avant 08193
  • Date: 6/4/09
  • From: Toledo
  • Leave: 7:30 PM
  • To: Madrid
  • Arrive: 8:00 PM

Airline Flights

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Well if anyone is interested this is currently my airline flight schedule for going over and coming back from Spain:

Getting there:

Continental 126

  • Depart: Newark, NJ, May 26, 2009, 9:45PM
  • Arrive: Dublin, Ireland, May 27, 2009, 9:25AM (5:25AM Eastern)
  • Flight Time: 6:40, nonstop

Ryanair 7156

  • Depart: Dublin, Ireland, May 29, 2009, 6:05PM (2:05PM Eastern)
  • Arrive: Madrid, Spain, May 29, 2009, 9:35PM (4:35PM Eastern)
  • Flight Time: 2:30, nonstop

Getting back:

Aer Lingus 565

  • Depart: Barcelona, Spain, July 1, 2009, 10:15PM (5:15PM Eastern)
  • Arrive: Dublin, Ireland, July 1, 2009, 11:55PM (7:55PM Eastern)
  • Flight Time: 2:40, nonstop

Continental 127/1172

  • Depart: Dublin, Ireland, July 2, 2009, 10:55AM (6:55AM Eastern)
  • Arrive: Boston, MA, July 2, 2009, 4:38PM
  • Trip Time: 9:17, 1 stop, Newark, 1:20Pm – 3:15PM