Madrid train station.

We checked out of our hotel in Madrid today to take the Spanish version of the bullet train to Barcelona. It was quite comfortable and a lot better than the Chinese one I went on just over a few months ago.

Madrid to Barcelona.

After around 2 ½ hours we had travelled just over 500 km to Barcelona. As we climbed off the train Paul handed me my luggage & we left the train to get a Metro ticket for Barcelona. I soon realised I had no walking stick & Paul admitted he had seen it next to my luggage but had forgotten to hand it to me. Guess that's what you get for bagging the window seat.

The Metro in Barcelona is nowhere near as good as the Madrid Metro, it was busy, hot & definitely not what you would expect in a big city. Most stations did not have lifts, the ones that had elevators only had up, not down elevators & not all of these ran or were throughout the station. In one station there was a large sign giving disabled passengers notice of a disabled ramp at one end of the platform to assist people in wheelchairs or prams to get on & off of the train. It didn't help you get there though as the station had no lifts, no elevators & had ups & downs at every level.

We soon got to our train stop & after asking for directions, found the hotel we were staying in. We were not impressed at all, it was a budget hotel in a completely different area to the one we had wanted to book into. The room had two beds that were pushed together, no cupboards, no wardrobes, no safe, no fridge & definitely no minibar. The bathroom was very small, had no bath & the toilet was so close to the sink you could have taken a dump & cleaned your teeth at the same time. To sit on the toilet you had to twist at an angle so as not to bang into the toilet paper holder. All of the rooms on our side backed onto the roof of the underground car park & the yards of the nearby shops & apartments. The ones on the other side overlooked a building site with a rubbish dump. If you had kids there is no way you could bring them here. The area outside was covered in graffiti & on a four-way junction. Two corners consisted of building sites & dumps, one a graffiti-covered restaurant &one an old school that had been turned into a church.

The hotel was in the Poblenou area of Barcelona & along the Poblenou Ramblas there were many nice restaurants & bars, & they were all filled with Spanish. In my mind, this is a better indication of good quality than what is served up in tourist areas, it's just a shame the hotel did not follow this train of thought.

We ate in a restaurant called 'Passeig 9' which gave us a great medium well done T-bone steak, it was a shame I wanted a Rib-eye medium-rare. I think & hope it was a translation error as they don't sell rib eye but do advertise it. After a full meal, we retired to our rabbit hutch, sorry hotel, determined to find somewhere better to stay tomorrow.