Friday, November 21, 2008

The Talgo train Madrid-Paris

I love trains
everyday the Talgo train leaves Madrid at 7 pm and arrives in Paris the next morning around 9. I took it a few times to go and visit and my parents when they're in France. It is always full and the staff never changes.
I get bored on bus or plane but never on a train. There is always something to do like listening to your neighbor's conversation, trying to start a conversation with your neighbors, reading, thinking, getting up to watch the landscape, making endless trips to the bar compartment
trying to engage conversation with the waiters whose dexterity I admire when they serve drinks
but the best part is when the controller comes and helps setting up the beds. On the Talgo, men and women sleep separately. I find it difficult to enter into a deep sleep and feel always groggy in the morning but I like the idea of crossing miles in the horizontal position, in my snug little bed.
I had a bit of insomnia these last two nights and I enjoyed counting my favorite train trips like the one from Kosice to Prag. It was the best ever, my travel companions and I could never sit still and eventually we met Tzigan musicians who transformed the trip into a mad feast. I also have a sweet souvenir of a trip in an old train going from Sligo to Dublin, with practically no passengers. I took trains in Madagascar too but the most enjoyable time was spent on the quay waiting for the train sometimes a whole morning. The first time I discovered Venice was by train coming from Austria and it was purely magical. I was on my own but still, it was very romantic...

I dream of travelling through Scotland by train, getting on board of the Transiberian or taking the Venice Simplon Express (does it still exist?)

I would love to hear of your favorite train trips and if you sometimes don't prefer trains to planes

Have a great week end !!

25 comments:

Katie said...

Wow so cool! I would love to try that train. :)

Steph said...

I used to take the train from Brighton to London. The trip was only a little over an hour, but I loved nibbling on cheese toast and drinking tea while writing in my journal in the dining car.

Lynette and I were given a 1st class compartment when we went to Salzburg from Vienna during a 2005 film shoot. Something about drinking beer and eating tomato, mozzarella, basil and butter sandwiches made the 5.5 hour journey seem really special.

I wish the U.S. still had the train travel it used to have before jet travel took over. It's a big, beautiful country that should be seen from a train window. There is the California Zephyr, a luxury train that goes from Chicago to San Francisco, a whopping 1,900 miles!

l'air du temps said...

i have not heard of this Talgo train. how wonderful, i absolutely adore this idea. i must make this trip soon. thanks so much for sharing your experience and sentiments. these are incredibly wonderful journeys you have been on. i am inspired indeed.

i love trains and planes and buses too. i love the feeling of going somewhere.

i very often used to take the bus from madrid to barcelona. i liked packing my goody bag for the long haul. books, yogurt, bocadillo, writing notebooks and my cell phone course... to send text messages to my friends. 'just arrived in zaragosa... there in 3 hours.' knowing they were waiting for me with a nice bottle of wine on standby.

have a wonderful weekend dear Lala. i'll be in touch soon. my goody package that you sent has found its way to me. i thank you soooo much! they are so lovely! and of course i've a little story to tell you in connection.

until soon dear Lala,
besos

kendalee said...

Oh what a lovely post Lala! I love to travel by train too - harks back to a bygone era in the best way! One of the loveliest little trips I've done is up through the Lake District to Glasgow and then on to Oban on the west coast to spend some time in the Hebrides. When you get to do your Scottish-train-dream trip, you should definitely include that part of the country, it's beautiful!

Another train journey that I love (more high speed!) is the Eurostar from Waterloo to Paris. How good is it to leave London in the early morning, arrive in Paris in time for breakfast of chocolat chaud and pain au raisin overlooking the Seine, spend the day shopping and gallery hopping and then head back in time for a late dinner at home?! Love it!

I've always fancied the Transiberian too - still on my wishlist... :o)

A Cuban In London said...

I loved your description. I could almost see the landscape through your eyes.

Have a nice weekend, you too!

Greetings from London.

tangobaby said...

Oh, you've hit a daydream-making subject of mine! Ever since I went to Venice last year, I've wanted to go back to Paris and take the train from there to Venice (or vice versa, I'm not picky). And then I want to take the TGV somewhere, anywhere. And I especially want to board the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the "Toy Train."

There is an old steam engine here in the Santa Cruz mountains that is a fun recreational ride but I'm afraid that the US has ditched the historic and wonderful way of trains for cars and planes. The only other trains I want to take are those that don't exist anymore: the Orient Express from Istanbul to Turkey, and the famous 20th Century Limited. With the appropriate fabulous luggage filled with gorgeous period clothing. *sigh*

Thanks for the inspiration. Perhaps I'll be lucky enough to take the Talgo someday too.

Linda Sue said...

Oh yes- I grew up on trains, my father was a conductor, my uncles all rail workers- my brother and engineer. Trains are preferable to any other transport. Funny, my next post was going to be about trains...Love them!I took a train across country alone at age 12, was well cared for and enjoyed that trip more than any other, even though the rail workers went on strike in the middle of the desert hundreds of miles from home- My father had to drive there to collect me. It is always an unpredictable adventure by rail!

Rob (Inukshuk Adventure) said...

One of my travel musts is the Via Rail Trans-Canada from Toronto to Vancouver, 4300km, travelling across the prairies and over the Rockies. It will be a wonderful photographic extravaganza. Would make a for a few good blog posts.

Train travel is so much slower and deliberate allowing time to see the world go by. Similarly like driving, infinitely preferable to flying in most circumstances.

Vanessa said...

Where are you now, dear Lala? Say you're coming to Paris!

Christina said...

This needs to go on my, to do list! ; )

#3,298- take a train from Madrid, to Paris! I love it!

You've made me day dream again, Lala. : )

Sara said...

You make me want to take a trip on a train! I do enjoy the short train ride from LA to San Diego here sometimes...much nicer than fighting with all the traffic on the roads. The only long train trip I've taken is from Los Angeles to New Orleans...with two teenagers in tow. It was rather exhausting, but a very dear friend was at the end in New Orleans who showed me the town. I think trains through Europe would be very cool....

willow said...

I am so, so very envious of your European trains! I wish America hadn't gone completely the way of the automobile. I would love to travel up through Scotland on a lovely train just like Wendy Hiller in "I Know Where I'm Going". Sigh.

Mary-Laure said...

I love trains too... I once rode the Trans-Siberian, from Beijing to Paris via Moscow and Prague!!!

Scarlet said...

I would love to travel by train...if only I could do so to Spain. Que rico seria. ;)

Edi Style said...

Lala, my memory of train is the one from Hungary to Austria. I was inside the luggage compartment the whole ride. It was a good ride because it brought me here.

Jojo said...

Our trains in the states aren't exactly the same as they might be there and it has been about 20 years since I last road Amtrak but I do have a good story. I was taking the train from Atlanta to D.C. to visit my sister. Something went wrong mechanically so we stopped in North Carolina and the train went dark. It seems they had shut off the electrical system. Unfortunately several people had been in the bar long enough to have had too many drinks and a fight broke out. We were all scared to death but it was so dark in the train we couldn't figure out who was fighting! I stayed in my little spot until the electrical system came back on and by then those having had too much to drink had passed out. We then safely arrived in D.C. It was one crazy ride!

One of the things I enjoy most about sleeping on a train is the rhythm of the train passing over the tracks.

High Desert Diva said...

I've never been on an overnight train trip...it sounds like fun!

Gabbi said...

Great photographs...I love trains, how wonderful it must be to not have to travel so far to get to France...

Yoli said...

Lala a mi me encantan los trenes. Que rico y que romantico.

Relyn said...

Trains are such a lovely way to travel. I say that, but I have only traveled that way twice and by air countless times. The thing is, air travel seems soul-less while train travel is still romantic and exciting. You feel like anything could happen. I think it is because you know you could just get off along any part of your journey and rewrite your entire life. Who gets off a plane mid-flight?

My best train trip was from Port Said to Cairo. It was no frills, no fancy, crushed, crammed, and loud. I loved every minute of it! What an adventure! Well, dear Lala, you've done it again. I think I will have to post about this soon. I'll see if I can dig out some pictures, too.

Dakota Bear said...

What a wonderful site I like your posts.

I had a chance to take the TGV from Lyon to Paris is early June while I was in Europe. That's was an exhilirating experience. Would love to do it again. Wish we had that type of transportation here in the USA.

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