In praise of the trains of Spain

Seeking a break from routine, Penny and I went to Cordoba for another look at the splendid Mezquita and an investigation into Sephardic cuisine in this centre of pre-inquisition Judaism.

Eschewing the car, we decided to take the train so we could:

a) get there quicker. Driving through this seductive country with its multitude of historical sites, one cannot help but stop at every turn to explore, photograph, sample local wine…

b) drink more.

c) read more. Having a irritatingly enquiring mind, I have to research my destination thoroughly before arrival for fear of discovering too late that I had overlooked an intriguing detail.

We boarded at Ronda, 15 minutes’ drive from Cartajima, at the centrally located railway station. An overhead information board counted down to the arrival time of our train which was exactly on time.

The airy, roomy carriages were spotlessly clean. The staff both on the train and in the stations were smartly dressed, exceedingly polite and smiley, and efficient. Announcements were clear and comprehensible. And, most noticeably, the other passengers were quiet and well-behaved.

Why, one wonders, were we surprised? Why am I bothering to blog about it? Part of the answer is that we are all, including we residents, being told that Spain has gone to the dogs. The other part is my British origins that inform me that train systems are a joke and are always unreliable and dirty, with bad food and smelly loos and bursting with scary football fans.

Our trip to Cordoba was a most relaxing experience. I recommend when you next consider Los Castaños, consider the train. For the Spanish railway company’s website, where you can check prices, routes and make reservations, click here. Ronda is on the line that connects Madrid to Algeciras. And we can collect you from the station.