For the last couple of summer holidays we have taken our car through the Euro tunnel and driven around Europe. Two years ago we drove as far as Montenegro, and last year we went to Sweden, but this year we didn’t dare leave the UK in our ageing people carrier.
We thought taking a plane for about 30 seconds, but none of us like to fly and only do it if there is no other option.
So that left the train, now a viable option as the kids are old enough to carry their own bags, and so our holiday plans were centred around where we could get by rail.
In the end we decided on Spain, with a stopover in Paris in both directions.
It’s been a fairly straightforward holiday so far.
First we took the Eurostar from London to Paris and stopped over for a night there. This part of the journey was almost scuppered by the cab company sending a too small vehicle for us and our bags, then having our cab break down on the hard shoulder of the A40, but happily we made it in time. Eurostar were very understanding and let us slip in well after check in.
The look on DS’s face when he realised the train was moving was priceless.
From Paris we took a high speed train to Barcelona. This took almost 7 hours, so most of the day but as we were travelling close to 300 km per hour for much of the trip, it would have taken a lot longer in our car.
The train was full, so we were glad we had booked seats but we should have got on board earlier as there was no room for our bags close to us, and we had to leave them upstairs, one carriage away. We locked them all and used bike locks to secure them to the shelves as we’ve heard too many stories of stolen bags on these trains.
Food was avaliable on this train but it was pretty mediocre, so we will bring our own next time.
Once we reached Barcelona, disaster struck again when DD1 promptly left her backpack on the floor of the cab from the train station to our apartment. She lost her phone, her kindle, her magazines and books and we decided to avoid cabs for the rest of our holiday.
After 4 nights in Barcelona, we caught another train to Sitges, half an hour from Barcelona. This train was more like a tube train, there was one along every 20 minutes or so and there was plenty of room but nowhere obvious to put our bags. It was another two story train though and the kids were happy when we found seats upstairs.
And that’s as far as we’ve got so far. I’m writing this from a bench beside the beach in Sitges. I’m supervising the kids who are in the water, but there is also a vigilant life guard who is going to be much more effective than I would be in an emergency. I content myself with counting heads every few minutes, while reading and watching the world go past.
We are only here for 4 nights but are getting some seriously needed R & R while we enjoy the beach. Barcelona was very busy and some sea side air is a welcome change.
Our next train is in 2 days time, back to Barcelona, then we are off to San Sebastian for some more sight seeing.
So far, taking the train is working out okay for us.