Europe: the final countdown

Trip Start Sep 03, 2011
Trip End Jun 04, 2012

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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Friday, April 20, 2012

Our departure from Venice was swift and stealthy on a early and wet Sunday morning. Our first two casualties for the day was the loss of food bags, the first was left on the train back from Venice on Saturday night (leftover chicken, pickled veges and salad) then in our haste to get onto the train that morning our crackers,  bread, tuna and other salad and veges got left behind on the platform, funny thing was when I went to use the toilet on the train and our bread was in the bin. Rude, take our food but our bread it isn't good enough! 

Our route out of Italy to Lyon France took us through Padua, Verona to Milan. Even though we didn't get to stop and look around these amazing places it was thrilling enough just to say we travelled through. Then from Milan we had to figure out at what stage we would get onto the French train, but as we tried to quiz the Italian Rail ticket staff we were dismissed because she did not know, so it was our problem. This has been a typical Italian attitude we have encountered if they don't know or understand you,  then it is your problem not theirs, "figure it out yourself amigo!". So we did figure it out and found the platform the SCNF train was leaving from and were very relieved to find the friendly and helpful French train staff who got us to Chambery to make our connecting train to Lyon Part Dieu. As we hit France and more alp backsides we encountered a fresh spring snowfall and more picturesque French towns and villages. We had headed to Lyon in case Hannah was able to catch up with a friend who had been an exchange student in Hobart, but unfortunately she was unavailable. So we headed out of Lyon as quickly as we arrived, we spent the night at a commuter hotel and we managed to find accomodation in Spain to head to, at a place called Pineda de Mar, about 50kms north of Barcelona on the water. At 9.20am we headed out on the train to Avignon just in time to see a huge wind fallen tree that decided to take out the back of a taxi. Pretty speccy even though we missed the actual collision. The only other casualty seemed to be a traveller who looked dazed and grazed and obviously had missed serious injury. On that note we thought it quite fortuitous that we caught all the action of the fallen tree had produced and its removal in Avignon at that time and on the day we should be passing through our old stomping ground.

Our trip that day required us to also stop in a place called Perpignan, then Port Bou on the French/Spanish border, then change trains at Macanet to get on the local line to Pineda de Mar. Our whole trip took 11 hours but they had estimated 14. But we figured out the trains and their times as we got closer to Barcelona and managed to reduce our travel time and changed trains a couple of extra times to get into Pineda at 9.00pm instead  of 11.30pm, which was a bit more of a decent arrival time for our apartment owner Montsie. It was a smooth and hassle free trip which was much appreciated and welcomed as was our arrival to beds and a place to put our feet up for 4 days.

Pineda in the day light was in a beautiful spot. The train line to Barcelona runs alongside the seaside through their beach and holiday destination for we suspect some locals and  the English in the summer? The kids seemed to think the Spanish go to the Canary Islands in the summer. According to Montsie, Pineda has less of the young drinking tourists and more families, so very nice and gentle.

Thursday we made it into to Barcelona to look at the Gaudi buildings and Sagrada Familia that we missed on our first trip through. They were pretty amazing and unusual in design and colour.

Today we got the local train to Barcelona with about 20 traveling high school students from Germany at a guess, with all their luggage and touristy paraphernalia  and one lone supervising adult.  Admittedly we blended in with the traveling group with all our luggage so that was a plus but as you get older why is it that travelling packs of teenagers and all their accoutrements, accessories and attitudes are so annoying? Anyways, we dumped them at the Atocha train station and we continued our journey onto Madrid. We had about a 2 hour wait before our 3 hour trip back to Madrid.

As our departure from the continent looms after 2 months of training, busing and 1 ferry we have been most fortunate to see what we have seen. So much we did not get to see, but most impressed and satisfied with all that we did see.

We are looking forward to our time in the UK and to returning back to Australia. Not long now!

Adios, Au Revoir and arrivaderci! 
The card reader has died so I will have to figure out another way to load photos. The camera cord gets too overwhelmed with the amount of photos and has trouble performing.


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