Last night we decided to grab a quick bite at the bar in the hotel. A little jamón de bellota, some queso manchego , a few slices of pan con tomate and a couple glasses of wine later we made our way back to the room, set the alarm for 7:00 AM and called it a night.
I have found that it is easy to fall asleep the first night in Spain. You are so worn out from your long travel day, you literally collapse in bed and you are fast asleep. The second night is a bit trickier because your inner clock is still in the process of adjusting to its new rhythm. That’s the long way of saying that I was up well before 7:00. We got ourselves ready and we were out of the hotel by 7:45 and at the train station by 8:00. We grabbed a quick breakfast and then headed for the waiting room.
I have become a bit spoiled in my old age and when I travel long distances by train in Spain I usually buy a seat in first class. It gives you access to a lovely waiting room that offers comfortable chairs, an internet connection, a number of snacks, as well as coffee, cold drinks and beer. When you are on the train they offer you headphones, your choice of newspaper and whatever the appropriate meal is. They also offer you a little champagne to precede your meal, your beverage of choice with the meal – alcoholic or non-alcoholic – coffee and an after meal liqueur if you are in the mood. Your seat on the train is wider with more leg room and it makes the three hour journey, in this case, a very pleasant experience.
Our train was scheduled to leave at 9:00 and at nine on the dot it began to move. We were scheduled to arrive at 11:59 and that is when the train came to a stop in Valencia. Scenically, the trip from Barcelona to Valencia is an interesting one. For about half the trip you are following the Mediterranean coastline as you pass through Sitges and Tarragona. Then the train moves away from the coast a bit as you pass through Castellón and an hour later you find yourself in Valencia.
We waited until our car emptied out so I could schlep the four suitcases onto the waiting platform. We made our way to the mouth of the station and our friend, Pepe Monfort, was there waiting for us. The walk to our rented apartment was all of five minutes and we were met there by a representative of the rental agency. We rode up to the fifth floor on the elevator and walked into what will be our home for the next six weeks.
The apartment is relatively new. I would guess it is about four years old. It is bigger than I expected. It is on two levels. On the first level there is a kitchen and a sitting area. The kitchen is a bit compact, but it has every appliance that one would want including a washing machine. The sitting area has a small sofa and a beanbag chair, as well as a coffee table and a small round table that will be the perfect space for breakfast. There is also a television set and a DVD player in the sitting room. The apartment also offers wireless internet. A staircase leads you to the sleeping area and the bathroom. At the moment there is sleeping room for four upstairs – a double bed and two twins. We have asked them to remove the twin beds and replace them with another table and some chairs to create an upstairs work space. They will take care of that at the beginning of the week.
We had lunch at 3:00 at a nearby little restaurant and then headed back to the apartment for a little down time and an opportunity for me to make this blog entry. We will head out shortly and buy some necessary provisions for the upcoming week. I can’t imagine leaving the house without my morning cup of coffee. Tomorrow we will go to the Mercado Central with Pepe and buy some fruit and vegetables and pick up a few other things to stock the fridge and later that evening we will have dinner with Pepe.
Marty – just love reading your blog! -okay I’m a bit jealous, too! It sounds like you are going to enjoy an amazing trip and we’ll be able to enjoy it along with you. The timing is perfect – your first autumn of retirement. What a way to kick things off.
Thanks, Penny! This is a totally different experience for us since we have never been abroad in the same place for this long. We have done the tourist thing and we know how to do that well. Living the very day life here for a month and a half will be the new experience.