My first trip to Madrid.
I am excited. It is my first trip to Madrid. It is my first time on the Ave high speed train.
We leave Fuengirola station at 08:45 and one hour later we arrive in Malaga to catch the 09.00 high speed train to Madrid. There is security and x-raying of bags. I find this a bit unexpected for a train.
However, calmly and unrushed we took our pre-booked seats and sat back. We were off smoothly.
An attendant came round with a set of headphones. By 09.10 we are passing mountains on our left and agricultural land on our right. The area is dotted with houses and the occasional white pueblo. We are travelling at 186 km hr. The temperature is 14 degrees.
A movie, Charlie Wilson has started. I pass but understand that it can be watched in English with Spanish subtitles. There is a language choice.
We are now in a long tunnel after which as we emerge we see plenty of olive tree plantations, green fields and greenish brown hillsides that remind me of another country.
We stop at Antiquera (Santa Ana) bathed in sunshine at 09.26. As we pull away a flock of birds begins to follows us but veer away to the right in formation. The other passengers in our carriage are reading reports, talking on their mobile phones and using their computers. The train is doing 288 km . Now we’re motoring!
We stop at Cordoba at 10.00 for about a minute and we are off again. Dark skies are taking over from the blue but after 20 minutes the blue returns and just as quickly change to grey clouds and fog as we pull into Puertollano. Fog has now descended and is a pea-souper with little to see beyond the hedge groves and within 20m on either side of the train.
The fog lifts as we slide into Cuidad Real. Another Ave pulls into the station going in the opposite direction on its way to Malaga. The toilet on the train is a modern treat and the cafe/bar area is as lively as all Spanish bars with lots of chat and noise.
The final hour of our journey is through lush green land. I wonder why there are no seat belts as on airplanes but there is plenty of leg room. The green fields eventually give way to industrialisation, the sprawling mass of residential properties, commercialisation and offices.
We are in Madrid Atocha.
That didn’t feel like 3 hours!