Today is our last day on a speed train as we travel from Malaga to Madrid for the last stop on our month-long journey across Scandinavia and Europe.

We felt we were now ‘old hands’ at travelling on these trains and we smiled as we watched other passengers get excited as the speed of the train increased moment by moment until it reached 300km/hr. They would jump up and take photos as the speed increased. For us it was ‘old hat’ thinking,‘been there, done that’ as we were now quite blasé about the whole system.

Train speedThis was from an earlier train we were on – 297km/h

It has been exciting, irritating, pleasurable and frustrating all at the same time. Was it worth it? Most definitely! Unfortunately it will not be our chosen method of travel again as I cannot do that amount of walking or getting on and off buses and trains. Not to worry, there is always cruising which is our next plan; not sure if it will be a river or open sea cruise but, we have arranged a short  sea cruise in November to see how we like it and if Trevor will cope without getting motion sickness.

Time to chat about our train trip to Madrid. After yesterday’s absolutely perfect weather the Arctic wind returned and we had to be warmly dressed once again. Instead of going into Fuengirola by taxi we decided to go by bus and it was only once we arrived at the bus stop that we registered that, being a Sunday, the buses may not run according to the usual half hourly schedule. As our train to Madrid was due to leave at 12:00 we decided to wait another 15mins until 10:15 and if no bus came in that time we would call a taxi. It turned out to be a perfect decision as 11mins later the bus arrived.

Following the debacle of our previous travel arrangements from Barcelona to Malaga, where I had booked 1st class tickets, this time I made sure that I booked 2nd class for this 4-hour journey and it was very comfortable. At Malaga station we had to wait half an hour until the security guard arrived at her post before we could go on to the platform and board the train. This was after we had already been through the security checks of metal detectors etc but still had to present our seat reservations before boarding. Even with all of this we left at exactly midday.

The countryside through which we travelled was beautiful. Gradually the mountains were replaced by huge olive groves and green rolling hills. In just under 4 hours we arrived at Madrid main station which also was so very different from when I was there in 2002. It is truly huge with many entrances and exits and it also has the entrance to the Regional Locale with a dedicated line to the airport.

As we left the station it was easy to find our hotel as it had a large sign on the very top of the building but it was not that easy to actually locate. We  walked in the direction of the building with the hotel sign but could not find the hotel entrance. Up and down the short road we walked passing a pharmacy, a bistro and a few other shops over and over. Eventually I went into the pharmacy where I was told that the entrance to the hotel was right next door. It was deeply recessed without any signage at street level and so easy to miss.

We entered the hotel and it was like stepping back into my grandparents’ home with a carpet which was red and gold with paisley printing. It was all very old world and genteel. The lift was tiny and went very slowly and, once again, there was no tea/coffee making facilities in the room.By now we had learnt that this was standard in European hotels and guest houses to save money. And, once again, Trevor discovered that all ofthe TV channels were in Spanish. None of this mattered, though, as discovering Madrid was great fun.









Once unpacked we went out for a short walk of about an hour around the area and as it was bitterly cold we soon went into the little café we for delicious rolls with ham making for a simple but very filling making for a good supper.