We took breakfast in the hotel – Special K with chocolate twists and a brioche. I love brioche! Unfortunately, there is only one place I know that sells brioche in Sydney – Cheryl’s Bakery in Illawong, which I tend to visit only when getting a haircut.
I had attempted to wash a shirt and underwear the night before, but they still weren’t dry. Raced into the main street of Avignon to purchase underwear (Monoprix) and a t-shirt (H&M). Ran back to the hotel, changed and checked out of the hotel and rushed to the station. Reached the platform with 3 minutes to spare. A couple of women weren’t so lucky, going to the wrong platform. They crossed the tracks just as the train was pulling out and somehow climbed aboard with heavy luggage.
The train ride to Portbou on the Spanish border took us through a wide range of landscapes. Stony provincial hills sparsely populated with cypress pine changed to rolling vinyards, past Chateaus, historic cities, windfarms, an old windmill and an abandoned castle. My favourite part was when the train ran alongside and then right across a causeway through stark and lonely seaside wetlands, emerging at Port Nouvelle with its huge factory.
We then crossed into the hills above tiny bays of blue ocean. Stunning scenery. Through a tunnel, then the train stopped at Portbou, a tiny Spanish border town with a big railway station covered by a huge canopy.
We had about a two hour wait for the two hour ride by railcar to Barcelona. The packed train stopped at many small towns, running past mountains topped occasionally with a castle tower. The icy clouds were threaded with jet contrails, an amazing sky.
Our hotel in Barcelona is posh and situated right above the pain train station. We walked Las Ramblas, had dinner in the Barri Gothic and headed back to the hotel.