Postcard from... Madrid
Thursday 24 October 2013
A few months ago, I got a train from London to Edinburgh. It was one of the least pleasant experiences of my life.
The train was hot; it stank; there’s barely enough leg room for a five-year-old, never mind somebody of average height; and (probably worst of all) the kiosk sold “tuna melt” sandwiches, one of which was bought by my neighbour for the journey, only adding to the feeling of acute nausea.
Whatever you do, don’t visit the bathroom.
Fast forward a few months to Spain, which has been economically crippled by the financial meltdown of recent years.
Despite its economic woes, Spain has one of the best railway systems in Europe: the trains are airy, comfortable and there’s plenty of legroom, and if you’re travelling any distance there’s a film to watch. And they run on time from stations – like Madrid’s Atocha – that are worth visiting even if you’re not going anywhere.
Spain’s trains are operated by the state-owned Renfe, which seems intent on ensuring that the trip is enjoyable and relaxed – if you miss your train, no worries, you can get the next one.
Our train companies in the UK could certainly learn a thing or two by taking a few journeys through Spain.
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The one chart that shows how George Osborne is almost certainly going to be our next Prime Minister
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...