Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Train to Valencia

Now that I have access to my iPhone photos, I can go back and fill in the gaps. Let me say right up front that my preferred mode of travel is definitely the Spanish AVE trains--mind you, I haven't tried all the others though I did take a short trip in a French TGV quite a few years ago. Access and security are efficient and easy, the trains are lovely and comfortable, much quieter than an airplane, they serve a snack and beverages and you get to see the countryside. What's not to like? Here is a slightly blurry photo of the interior and yes, those seats are comfortable:

This is the streamlined front of the train:

Streamlined because, did I mention this?--the top speed is 300 kilometers per hour.

The train to Valencia takes around an hour and three quarters (which includes two brief stops), a distance of around 400 kilometers. By the way, Spain has the second largest number of high-speed train routes by kilometers in the world. China is first and Japan is third.

The history of civilization in Spain goes back to the founding of Cadiz by the Phoenicians around 1100 BC, which makes it over three thousand years old. Travelling through the countryside you see that just about every square inch of land is in use. For the first half of the trip, there were mostly olive groves:

But for the second half, grapevines. Sorry for the photo!

And that's about it for the train to Valencia. I didn't take any photos on the return because my iPhone was out of juice.

I'm going to divide up the posts so the next one will be on the opera at the Palau Reina Sofía.


Will Wilkin said...

You will remember that train ride for the rest of your life! There are certain moments in travel that make indelible impression on the visitor. I can tell you had one when you reflected on the 3000+ years of civilization in Spain (fleetingly brief compared to our evolutionary prehistory) and the look of virtually all the land being put to human use. Those kind of insights become part of your personality, part of your life experience and understanding of what we are as a species in time and place.

Bryan Townsend said...

You are so right, Will! I have traveled across Canada on the train--well, from Vancouver to Montreal at least--and that was also a memorable experience, but recalling it highlights the differences. In Canada you see thousands of miles of nearly empty landscape with hardly a sign of human habitation. But in Spain, areas of forest are few with the vast majority of the landscape in intensive cultivation. I just wish I had a few more pictures!