Andalucia Diary – Seasonal Travel Notes

Anorak moment

Okay, so this is going to be an anorak moment. A homage to train travel in Spain. Ave_andrewforbescom
On December 23, those living on the Costa del Sol will be able to ponder
the choice of taking Click Air or one of the other low cost shuttle airlines to
the nation’s capital, or hop on to an AVE (Alta velocidad de España) high speed train.

40 years ago seeing people use a donkey isn’t the country living
cliché it is today. It an extremely
short time, Spain has embraced technology and development is not just playing “catch-up” with the
world: in many areas it is set to take the lead. Already Spain has left the UK
(the inventor train transport) far behind with it’s crowded and late running
200 km bone-shakers and by 2010, Spain’s growing high speed train network that
will eclipse that of both France and Japan and become the largest and fastest
train service in the world.
So the Iberian Peninsula is shrinking
and our little part of Andalucia is getting closer to the powerhouses of Spain.
Barcelona gets connected to the “alta velocidad” network on Dec 21, Valladolid the next day and Malaga, the day
after that. So soon, we can let the
train take the strain and be in Madrid in about 2 ½ hours, without even a murmur
of the words that I always hate to hear by alternative means: “the captain has
switched on the seat belt sign as we’re passing through a some turbulence” or
even worse, “air traffic control have asked us to circle for a little while due
to congestion of inbound flights”. I have to say, that although I’m no train
spotter, I’m looking forward to taking the service to Madrid,
as it is a great way to see the countryside. When I was last up near Antequera,
it was amazing to see the sweeping via ducts crossing the valleys, and the
immense tunnels being drilled to get the trains through the Sierras down to the
Andalucia’s capital was the first city to be connected to the AVE hub in Madrid, and over the years
has never suffered a single accident.
Despite all the bad news that is recycled about Andalucia,
it’s exciting to know that the new train stations from Malaga to Marbella and
beyond, along the coast are already being architected designed and the work for
construction is posed to commence. In fact the infamous Banana Beach complex on
the edge of Marbella that has become short-hand in the international press for
the disrespect for local planning laws, is illegal for the very reason it was
built on the exact site dedicated for the new subterranean AVE station for Marbella. Well, I guess the town hall will have to find somewhere
else to start digging. The AVE network will
link with Malaga city’s new metro
system, currently under construction and will also soon be taken out to the
newly expanded airport and on to Fuengirola. Yet it’s thought there’s about 8
years before an AVE from Marbella to Madrid and the rest of Europe will be a reality. By 2020, all the main
lines of the Spanish network will be alta velocidad, with 90% of the country’s
population within 50km of an AVE station.
With the recent spate of Southern Spain bashing that the
British press has been doling out, many have pinned a lot of hope on the new
service and the increased investment it will bring from the capital – and of
course Madrilenos, coming here to enjoy the summer season, sip cold Jerez and
feel just that little bit superior. Ave Maria?

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  1. Alan
    AlanOct 02, 2007

    Hi. I have just discovered your blog by accident and am really enjoying reading it. My partner, also called Andrew, and I bought a small apartment two years ago in the Centro Historico in Malaga.
    We haven’t made the leap to living in Spain permanently (yet), but I love our regular visits (I’ll be out there again in a couple of weeks and am bringing my parents – my father is 91 – from Scotland to Malaga in November) and the fact that all our neighbours are Spanish. We are close to the theatre, very close to Malaga’s gay bars, only 15 minutes walk to the beach and surrounded by amazing restaurants and a wonderful market. I make some mention of this on my blog.
    Good luck with the life you are creating in Spain. I’ll continue reading your blog and, who knows, we might find ourselves in the same bar one evening. I’ll come over and say Hola.

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Andrew ForbesTravel & Lifestyle Marketing Communications Consultant | Travel Editor Web: Twitter : @andrewaforbes Instagram @andrewaforbes and @luxurynavigatorView all posts by Andrew Forbes »