26 cities on 37 days (Interrail 2008) – France & Spain

General info:

  1. Spanish trains need booking… and 15 of August is super high season!
  2. 15 of August is also super high season for hostels in Barcelona – book in advance!
  3. You can actually sleep in the train stations! It is allowed if you have a ticket! But they will wake you up when the train station opens at 5-6 in the morning.

6. Nice – 10/8

Anecdote of our city experience: I can’t forget the very old, very tanned lady that was sunbathing topless…

NiceWe left our stuff to the hotel of a guy we met on the train.

Nice is a pleasant city, it has an old-fashion glamour. It is the paradise vacation city of 30-40 years ago. But not anymore.

The beach is very long, but that is the only positive. You have to sit on big pebbles, the sea is blurry and after walking a couple of meter, it is too deep already. Coming from Greece, I was not impressed at all.

We got our very needed shower on the beach, after swimming a little bit. We saw the whole city pretty quick, not much to see. We tried to sleep in the park (more tourists were sleeping there), but someone tried to steal my boyfriend’s bathing suit (??) so we went back to the train station and found even more interrailers sleeping outside, so we joined them.

7. Marseille – 11/8

Anecdote of our city experience: We were standing outside of the train station, close to some young men that looked like they were smoking marijuana. Out of the blue, one of them approaches us and asked us where we are from, we answered, and then he left (it is not like he spoke english). Five-ten minutes later he approached again and took a McDonalds milkshake cup he had left near us (we didn’t notice, we thought it was garbage). Apparently he put his drugs there and left it next to us because some cops were walking close by. SERIOUSLY!

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Marseille is a very interesting city. The thing I remember most vividly are the sirens. You could hear sirens too often, which gave a sense of danger in the city.

We saw some nice buildings, some of them of Moroccan style. We climbed up a hill to see a church and from there the island where Count Montecristo was held captive (see cloudy photo below).

In the end of the day, we went back to the station, the drug incident happened and then we found out we can actually sleep inside the train station (it had started to rain for the first time in our trip and we didn’t know where to sleep!)

8. Barcelona – 12/8 – 14/8

Anecdote of our city experience: We could not find a single ticket to the rest of Spain! Well, only for cities very close, but we needed to sleep! So we just went back to the borders with France. There were 3-4 trains there, we asked were they go and we chose Paris over Strasbourg (to this day, I haven’t visited Strasbourg yet).

100_0384We actually only spent 2 days in Barcelona, we arrived on the afternoon of 12/8. I got a list of hostels at the train station and started calling. They were all full!! Horrible! We finally found a pension (private room with shared shower) for 60 (!) euros per night. Too much for us at that point, but no choice.

I had been to Barcelona before. Nice atmosphere, Gaudi buildings, it is a cool place with cool people. And I love Sagrada Familia! I can’t wait to see it finished!

We should have appreciated the weather more, after Barcelona we had to keep our jackets close!

9. Paris – 15/8 – 17/8

Anecdote of our city experience: We could not take a photo outside of Louvre, everything white was turning pink in the photo (see below) because of the reflections created by the pyramid! Of course we thought our camera was broken at first, it took some time to decide it was the pyramid’s fault.

ParisLouvre

We walked around the train station a little bit and we found a pension with 40 euros per night, pretty good price and our own room!

We loved Paris. There is so much to see there, you will never get bored. I had been there before with friends, but I saw much more now. We saw everything in a tour guide, even the far away places, didn’t stop walking the whole time we were there. And we climbed the Eiffel Tower, after waiting 2 hours in line. But it was the first time we climbed a tall building, so it was worth it! We stayed there until it became dark.

Paris is amazing, you should all visit it! We go almost once a year now, driving from Netherlands. But still I haven’t been to Versailles!

10. Bordeaux – 18/8

Anecdote of our city experience:We bought roller-skates, that we then had to carry through the whole trip! Yeah, we thought it would help us move around faster, but we could not use them as much as we wanted. We still got them however!

Our day there was short. Not much to see, a nice cute shopping street.

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After seeing the city center, we went to a park and napped on the grass for a while. Then back in the center, we played with the weird water fountain (picture above), we roller-skated and then back to the train station, to take our train to Brussels

 

 

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