We’ve been to the Arctic Circle. We’ve nearly touched the Black Sea. We’ve crossed the shifting borders of the Balkans and the solid rocks of the Alps. We’re hungry. We smell. We’re on our last pack of Pro Plus.
It’s the final leg of this monstrous journey. It’s time to head South.
At 10pm on Saturday July 20th we climb onto Train Number EN477, the overnight to Barcelona (City 32), where we arrive in the morning of Sunday July 21st. We’ll have a few hours in this, perhaps the friendliest big city in Europe, and then we’re onto the train to Madrid (City 33).
Madrid will be just waking up for the evening when we arrive, and we’ll have a few hours to experience the nighttime warm-up of the Spanish capital.
I’m really looking forward to the next train: the sleeper from Madrid to Lisbon (City 34), where we’ll arrive on?Monday July 22nd.?We’ve got a day in Lisbon, more or less, which some will use to ride the funiculars, others will wine and dine, while I will head up to the crematorium (the only one in Portugal) which is where we said goodbye to my Dad five years ago.
The Iberian peninsula has given us the southernmost and westernmost parts of our journeys. At just past 9pm we’ll get onto our last sleeper, to Hendaye, where we arrive on the morning of our Last Day. Then it’s a quick skip up to Paris Montparnasse, a glimpse of the Eiffel tower, and the Eurostar back to London.
We get into St Pancras at 9.30pm on?Tuesday July 23rd.?We’ll have covered about 17,000 kilometres of track. Beer will have been consumed, and wine. Bellies will have rumbled. No doubt a few connections will have been missed, and everything I’ve written over the past few days will be thrown up in the air as we scurry to get back on track (as it were). Maybe we won’t all make it. Maybe none of us will.
But I’ll be posting from the route, here and on my Tumblr page. You can follow all of us on the Disorient Express?Facebook and Twitter accounts, and there’ll be updates too on the main homepage for these trip, GCERC.
And I’ll see you on the other side. Wish us luck.