Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Up at 8:30 am and checked out of the hotel by 10 am; having purchased food yesterday for our breakfast this morning helped get us out the door early. We took a taxi to the train station; we didn’t want to take the luggage up and down the stairs at the Metro. Our first train left from the main station and then we got off at the first stop. There we had to wait for an hour for our next train that would take us all the way to Valencia on the eastern coast. I checked out the first class cars…exactly the same as our second class except they paid much more for their tickets!
It was a long day; our train left at 12:30 pm and we arrived in Valencia at 5:45 pm. We were definitely on the “milk run”. But, it was fun seeing all of the town and the scenery as we passed from the center of Spain to the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. We passed through villages of only a few houses to large cities, stopping at many of them. Some of the stops were out in the middle of nowhere when people were waiting to get on the train…nothing in sight except for a car that had brought them to the tracks.
Many stone houses were without roofs out in the middle of vacant land. Somewhere I’ve read that people take the roofs off so that the taxes are reduced. If a family member comes back they replace the roof and the house is restored? Sounds good I thought. There were miles and miles of grape vineyards. Fruit orchards and as we neared Valencia: orange groves.
Arrived in Valencia and it was not where we’d expected! We were at the end of the line instead of at the train station in the center of town. After much confusion and question asking we finally got on a bus that had a wonderful driver. When we showed him a map…good old google…of our hotel he agreed to let us know when to get off. Sure enough…he let us off just two blocks from the hotel . His route was taking him another direction. He also pointed out the main train station where we will go tomorrow to catch our train to Barcelona.
Checked in the Catalonia Excelsior Hotel right in the city center; this is our first one that we’d arranged through otel.com. As of now we’re very pleased…it also includes breakfast tomorrow. Definitely a three star with all the bells and whistle including free wireless internet. Put our things in our rooms and headed out for dinner. We found a great little place that specialized in Italian food and enjoyed a wonderful meal about 7:00 pm.
After dinner we walked to see the Cathedral, only 500 meters from our hotel…an easy walk and good to stretch the legs after a day on the train. The city is preparing for a very large festival this weekend. They are building huge paper objects and will set them on fire over the weekend. Every street has light banners stretched across. Looks like we will miss one heck of a party!!
It’s late and I want to post this before signing off. Thanks for staying tuned….next chapter will be in Barcelona…another afternoon on the train! Buenos Nochos….