In Part 6 we travelled by train at speeds of up to 295 kilometres per hour through snow, then sunshine and palm trees. Now read on …
Walking the dog …
When you’ve landed in a place the challenge is finding somewhere to ‘walk the dog’. As a dog owner you find yourself mentally noting useful patches of ground along a walking route which might come in handy for the pooch. I managed to find somewhere with trees and some scrubby grass just one minute’s walk from the apartment. Pipes was happy. He also thoroughly enjoyed loudly practicing his pidgin Spanish with the passing indigenous dogs.
Another day, another train
The next day we retraced our steps to Sants station to travel by rail from Barçelona to Almería. The cafe inside the door by which we entered the station was suitable to sit and wait with Piper. Another thing to remember is that cakes often contain currants or sultanas (derivatives of grapes) which can be lethal to a dog. Presumably the smaller the animal the greater the effect. Perhaps if a Pyrenean Mountain Dog eats a sultana it might be okay while a Chihuahua could be more damaged. So it’s important for me to keep an eye on the little chap’s grubbing around the floor. If I can, I take the easy way out and pick him up. That has to be balanced with the wish not to draw too much attention to a dog being in a food area, which can cause some folks to ask you to leave.
When the train was shown on the screen as being ready to board we took ourselves to the platform which was below ground level.
Eventually after a bit of a wait the RENFE (that’s the Spanish railway company) train was ready for us to board.
The train in Spain
We boarded the Spanish RENFE train bound for Almería and the slight downgrade in rolling stock from the swish French SNCF trains was immediately apparent. But we got free RENFE branded earphones from a train staff member. He moved down the train handing them out. So that was a bonus for us!
Piper nibbled on small kibble biscuits and small sips of water from a standard water bottle, during occasional sorties from the pet carrier. I exercised by walking up and down the long train (15 carriages?) in the bar where the patrons stand up to eat and drink and watch the countryside go past, I bought coffee, tea, and sandwiches for the family. I even combined a long walk along the train with a visit to the toilet. Ten hours is a long time to cross your legs! Ask Piper!
Arrival in Almería
Over the Spanish border, as afternoon turned into evening, the train slowed considerably as it alternately climbed and descended mountains on its way towards the city of Almería in Andalusia. Our excitement grew as the train braked to ease into the Estación Intermodal de Almería and another impending overnight stay for us.
Once again we’d gone the Airbnb route to find accommodation which had turned out so well in Barcelona. This time we spent a considerable time trying, in the near dark, to find the property via the directions we’d been given by the owner and with the help of Google Maps on my phone. Our destination, a large traditional homely apartment owned by a widowed lady, turned out to be in a gated apartment block. Indeed as the advertisement had promised she had a library and a piano, but given our arrival time and our departure the next day, we only had time to spend in our bedroom and bathroom.
Next time… Arrival in Rodalquilar