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Published: August 7th 2010
Atocha train stationSeñoras y señores, bienvenido a bordo del tren Altaria con destino Albacete-Murcia-Cartagena
Beautiful set to wait for our train
That's the first thing I always hear after boarding from Atocha train station is Madrid. When we decided to go to Murcia, Renfe turned out to be the best option as the confort is an important criteria. Though the train tickets are a bit expensive especially when compare to bus tickets, I rather spend the 4 hours ride from Madrid to Murcia watching comedy movies on tv, having enough space to strech my legs & even sleep in the comfortable big seat.
To get an idea, while the bus ticket is around 20 euro (6 hours ride), the train ticket costs 45. We found out it's better to buy roundtrip, as we will benefit of a discount (50%!o(MISSING)f the return ticket, except the busy season when is less). All Spanish are going in vacation oficially starting 1st August as we were about to see with our own eyes on our most recent trip to Murcia. Ever since we put our foot in the train station we've noticed there are even more people as usual, then the news that there are no more seats on next train and only
business class tickets to the one after. So from the 12:53 PM we ended up buying tickets to the 7:18 and as the guy at the tickets office advised us, all prices go up in the busy season (between 25 July till 05 September), starting from the hotel room till the lower discount offered on roundtrip tickets (ida y vuelta
As a traveler in Spain, we had some small problems with the language barrier. Starting from the bank, train stations even in the airpoirt, is hard to find someone who speaks english. I understand and speak Spanish at a begginer towards medium level as both Romanian and Spanish are Latin languages, have common roots and some words are even the same but for my native English friends it wasn't that easy to move along our journey, fact that made them a bit dependent of me. Of course there were plenty of situation when I didn't understand everything that the person in front of me was speaking about and not carrying a dictionary with me didn't make our life easier. The same situations are encountered by people visiting Romania though, with the only difference that Spanish will always keep the smile
Suitcases with style :)
on their face when they are trying to guide you even it turns out to be in the wrong direction 😱
As we arrived in Murcia train station, crossing the street around midnight, my first impression was that I've finally arrived in Africa (I was already travelling with my African friends so the place was the perfect setting). Our plan was to check in at the hotel Pacoche, close to Iglesia del Carmen, but not surprisingly at all, they didn't have any rooms available. So we headed off to hotel Casa Emilio just across the street from Jardin de Floridablanca
, a very lovely ancient park where we spent some time the next day. At the hotel, they first said they have no rooms available, but I managed to make it clear to the lady at the desk that after 4 hour ride with the train I only need a hot shower, I don't even care if i sleep on the floor. So for 40 euro I got a single room with a huge bed, air conditioner and long desired hot shower.
Thanks to the lady at the front desk, who gaves us a map and some good recommendations we started
exploring the city which turn out to have many more attractions than we thought. What I love about Murcia is that the old and new mix up together very well, you can find traditional products shops, African shops, Asian and so on, everything with an air of ancient architechure and history. Public transportation works very fine, with buses that actually come on the time displayed on the board.
On one of the streets starting from train station to Floridablanca boulevard is an African shop that also serves African food and everytime we stop by we order bitterleaf soup. It's been over one year since I have discovered African cuisine which got me very passionate about learning someday how to cook it as well.
In the morning we took our breakfast in one of those bars de tapas, very delicious our choice, unfortunately didn't write down the name but I have to admit that some of the dishes on the window didn't look too appetizing to me.
Walking on the Alameda de Colon street we intersectated with the river that separates Murcia from one side to another. Crossing the Puente Viejo bridge we discovered a new unknown Murcia for us and
is very difficult to describe in words the feeling I got walking around so I will let the pcitures speak by themselves.
As the time was not enough to visit all the cathedrals or museums, our plan is to travel again with the map in our hands this time, trying to discover some of the beauty of Murcia because every building we pass by seem to have a hystory of its own and maybe get some tan on the sea side area in Alicante.
I realise it would take years to visit all the wonders of Spain, but personally so far my favourite place is Murcia and though is a bit far from Madrid it has its unique charm.
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