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Our guide took us through a typical day: ‘We have five meals.
Breakfast, then tapas at midday, lunch at 3pm, more tapas at 8pm, and then dinner some time before midnight.’She then recounted a period she spent in Dublin where her host family dished up Irish fare at 6pm on the dot every day. I simply could not see how I was going to survive for 13 hours until breakfast the next day.
The sleek bullet train looked magnificent as it pulled away effortlessly from Madrid’s Atocha station on its way to the east coast city of Valencia - a journey of 240 miles it makes in just 98 minutes.
There was only one problem - we were supposed to be sitting on its comfortable seats, not watching from the platform after a fruitless last-minute dash.
Pristine, roomy and with a set of headphones to watch the TV screens above, it was the kind of rail travel most Britons can mostly only dream about.
Our economy seats were better than first-class seats I’ve experienced in Britain, Eurostar aside.And so confident is Renfe that its trains will reach their destination on time that it will refund the full ticket price on any journey that is more than five minutes late.Needless to say, we pulled into Valencia’s Joaquin Sorolla station on time, and were soon heading into the old city.There’s no real need to engage any other transport than your own two feet to see the major sights.After our visit to the Reina Sofia, there was just enough time to stock up on baguettes stuffed with serrano ham and cheese at El Brillante, an iconic Madrid bar opposite Atocha, before finally taking our seats on a later service to Valencia.