Speed like the wind can not be seen, but unlike the wind you don’t feel speed.
Our Paris taxi had been ordered for 6.00 am on our departure day and it was a pleasure to see it pull up on the stroke of six, for the twenty-minute drive to Gare de Lyon. As I mentioned in the previous blog we had decided to use the train to our next destination, Barcelona, rather than fly.
The train being a double decker allowed us to book four seats upstairs around our own table. The extra height, due to double decking, gave us a much better view of the scenery during our trip to our first Spanish city. The transit time was supposed to be about six and a half hours, but due to a problem on the line we were about half an hour late. The delay didn’t bother us because we were not due to meet our ‘greeter’ at the apartment until 3.00 pm.
The trip was well worth the money because of the views of the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea at the same time as we glided along at over 300 km per hour.
Pyrenees in the distance.
Crossing very low lying ground on the coast
We stopped at Perpignan, 30 km short of the Spanish border, followed by the next stop Figueres Vilafant, which is in Spain, via the 8.3 km Perthus Tunnel.
Until recently passengers had to change trains, because the rail gauge in Spain was different than that of France. Fortunately for us, this problem had been fixed in December 2013.
Our apartment was a three-bedded apartment with the master bedroom en suite and the second bedroom next to the main bathroom. The layout was quite ‘roomy’ and it also had a large balcony with a table and four chairs for our ‘Happy Hour’ before dinner. Although we had everything that we wished, from microwave to percolator, the one thing that was missing was a kettle to make a simple cup of tea! We had to use the microwave to boil the water.
We were on the second floor. The lift looked ‘old’, but it wasn’t, plus it was very efficient.
This is the corridor from the main entrance – our bedroom and the main bathroom was on the right.
I searched my original booking looking for website pictures of the bedrooms, but the whole place has been refurbished.
What a difference to my original picture of the corridor from the entrance. The mirror made the place look a lot bigger and lighter.
Our room which has been refurbished, I couldn’t find a photograph of the room during our visit.
Our friends had the main bedroom and en-suit, after all they did sleep with a washing machine in Paris.
This a a picture of the original main bedroom.
Dining come sitting area in the large lounge. In the picture below you can see the door to the main bedroom.
Happy Hour area
Our location was about a ten to fifteen-minute walk to the major shopping stores and the main city square – very convenient. Our first port of call was to the tourist office for a map so as to familiarise ourselves with the layout of the city. As the sun set the lights of Barcelona added to the excitement of the city.
Barcelona is a vibrant and entertaining city with plenty of places to visit on foot, although we did use the metro system a couple of times – buy ten trips and get a discount. We were four adults so we passed the card back and forth over the barrier every time we used the system – this worked very well and the system, being colour coded, was easy to follow after our first usage.
The difference in the standard of accommodation between Paris and Barcelona was huge. The pictures of the Barcelona apartment matched the web site. Decent accommodation adds to the overall enjoyment of the first visit to any city.
We would return to the Barcelona apartment if we ever do the self catering again in that city, but there is now way that we would return to the Paris accommodation – even if it was free.
Next stop Madrid.