Day 54 - Trains

4 February 2022

Up early. 5.45 am. Porridge for breakfast. Bikes loaded and we are away by 6.30 am. I love trains. We are booked on the Regional Express. An old train. Slow. Not fancy like the MD. The Regional Express has been my favourite train in Spain.

We get to Madrid Puerta de Atocha with time to spare. We can’t see our train on the departures screen. Shell checks with information. She points us down the hall, and to the left. It makes sense. This is the part of the station we arrived from Seville.

I grab a few jamón bocadillo for the train ride. Nine hours is a long haul. We get to the platforms. Still, no 7.15 am Regional Express to Barcelona. Shell talks to the ticket man.

Wrong station.

The station we need is 8 km away. We have missed our train. I look at the ticket. Madrid - Barcelona. That is all it says. Train numbers. Bar codes. Times. Nowhere does it mention a station.

The ticket customer service people offer a refund. What else can they do. We head back to the ticket office where we purchased the tickets yesterday. I am hoping the guy who sold me the tickets is there. He is  not.

The lady confirms what we already know. There is no other to train we can catch to Barcelona today. There is more news. The Regional Express only runs Monday to Friday. Today is Friday. Next train is in three days.

When things like this happen you want someone to blame. Anger and frustration are the main emotions. My focus is the guy who sold us the tickets the previous day. Why would he not mention it is a different station? It would be the obvious thing to do.

Wasted energy.

We need to be in Barcelona Monday for an appointment. Trains are off the table. I want to leave Madrid. The city is not taking our break up well.

I track down the car hire section. We wait until it opens and book a van. Throw the bikes in and we are off.

In fairness, it was a lovely drive. The country side is beautiful, as it would have been from the train. Stop that. I have moved on. The trip provided Shell some time to comment on my driving.

“Should I put my helmet on?” - Rachelle Griffin

“I wonder if you could spend some time in your own lane?” - Rachelle Griffin

“The car thinks you are too close to the car in front. I agree with the car.” - Rachelle Griffin

We arrive in Barcelona, drop the car off. Not quite straight forward. We went to the wrong drop off location. A u-turn, driving up a one way street and some moments as a pedestrian and we got there in the end.

Ride the bikes into Barri Gòtic and it feels like home. I am already thinking about wine tonight. Todays debacle is a distant memory.

Madrid has blocked me on Facebook and is now listed as single.

“Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” ― David Whyte


  1. Madrid sounds like it will start stalking you in your sleep and leave notes under the windscreen wiper of the car (well, spokes of your bike).


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