View from our sixth floor apartment patio in Pogradec, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Pogradec, Albania .

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Gjyrokaster, Albania on October 6th.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A very smooth travel day...and we met Louis!

Yesterday was a travel day, but because we pre-planned a lot, everything went smoothly.

Our motorhome exchange friends Tana and Graham live in Torrevieja, Spain. They are an expat British couple who have an apartment in Torrevieja, but also a small motorhome. For anybody new here at Travel with Kevin and Ruth, they came to Canada to use our motorhome back in June and July of last year. Now, we get to use their motorhome for a couple of months here in Spain and Portugal.

Our best option to get to Spain originally was to fly to Barcelona. But then, we had to make our way from Barcelona to Torrevieja, a distance of about 570 kms (353 miles).

I explored the options a couple of months ago. We could have flown from Barcelona to Alicante, but it wasn't really that cheap. A better option was to take the EuroMed train and that way we would see some of the countryside as well. And, it was easy to see that booking in advance on the Renfre website offered the best discounts. So I bought the tickets about two months ago.

Tickets were €28.00 ($40 CAD, $30 USD) each...a price that would double if you were to buy them closer to the day of departure. It pays to plan in advance sometimes.

Our train was scheduled to depart at 10:00am. We had to make our way from Badalona to the main Sants station in downtown Barcelona, and that was just a single local train for about a 20 minute ride. Then, we had about an hour wait in the main train station.

Barcelona's main Sants train station.

Our train boarded at 9:30am, and everybody had assigned seats. The tickets very clearly stated which coach and which seats you were in. But it's always funny watching people get themselves sorted. We tossed our bags on the rack above our seat, and sat down. Simple, right? We don't get how it takes other people so long to get themselves settled. 

Scheduled to leave at 10:00am, and it was 10:02 when we pulled out. Not bad!

On the train to Alicante.

Didn't take long, and we were up to 158 km/h (98 mph).

For a while that was the fastest we went. Eventually though, we sped up and the highest I saw it at was 202 km/h (125 mph). 

It was really tough to try and take photos from the train. There was a really bad reflection on the inside windows and even though there were a lot of scenic opportunities, the photos aren't that good. I did take a video for you at one point...

And, here are a few still shots. Like I said, not the best.

Our train!

We arrived in Alicante exactly on schedule at 2:55pm. Pretty efficient system. Then, we had to make our way from the Alicante train station to the Alicante bus station. I had all of this planned and knew that it was only a ten minute walk.

We arrived at the bus station and went to the information desk where the girl told us to go upstairs to booth number 9 to buy our ticket for the 4:00pm bus. The ticket was €4.50 ($6.50 CAD, $4.85 USD) for the 45 minute ride.

But...Tana and Graham weren't going to be in Torrevieja to meet us. We had talked a month or so ago and they had a great deal on a cruise leaving January 5th...a day before we were scheduled to arrive. They felt bad asking, but they wanted to know if they paid the fees, would we change our train ticket to January 4th. Then, they could take off on their cruise January 5th. But we said to just go ahead...we're pretty self sufficient and we can figure things out on our own. 

And so they left on their 39 day cruise from the UK to South America and back. Wow!

Instead, the plan for us was to call their friends Pat and Rod who would meet us at Tana and Grahams apartment.

Our bus from Alicante to Torrevieja.

The ride was supposed to be only 45 minutes, but I think we got on the milk made quite a few detours to check for other passengers, and it arrived at 5:10pm or so.

Alicante and area is popular with British tourists. There are a lot of cheap flights from the UK to Alicante and so it's easy for the British to get away from the cold and damp and get some sunshine. So the coast between Alicante and Torrevieja is lined with hotels and resorts and rental apartments.

We also saw some boondockers along the way!

We walked from the bus station to the apartment...about ten minutes. As we arrived at the apartment, it was easy to spot Louis! That's the nickname of the little motorhome we'll be living in for the next two months. 

This is Louis!

Pat was there to meet us with the keys to the apartment. Tana and Graham are away on their cruise, and have left us the use of the apartment for as long as we wish to stay until we take off with Louis. We'll probably hang out here and relax until Monday, and take off with the motorhome then.

They've left us lots of little notes and well as a couple of bottles of wine...a very nice welcome, thank you very much!

Welcome, and enjoy!

She even made us a shepherd's pie and left it in the fridge for us so we wouldn't have to make dinner. Nice!

By then, it was dark so we didn't bother going out to look at the motorhome just yet. It's a beautiful sunny day today, and calling for a high of 17C (63F), so maybe we'll go check out the motorhome later. Hey. I'll make a video so that you can look at it with us!

Yesterday's journey from Barcelona to Torrevieja.

We bought a pair of these binoculars for ourselves at Christmas...Excellent quality, a nice case, and a great price. They're on deal of the day today...


  1. You are going to have such a wonderful time! Spain is wonderful, and I predict Portugal melt your heart as it did ours. Looking very much forward to following along on your journey, particularly in that we are going nowhere till the spring.

    1. We believe that you are correct with your assumption that we will have a great time in Spain! It certainly is starting out that way. :-)

      We have been to Portugal before, back in March/April of 2007 and we loved it but it was only for two weeks so we can't wait to go back and explore it even more.

  2. thoughtful of Tana and Graham. A very nice welcome for sure.

  3. Under your title where rich people park their boat .
    The boat that you have a picture of in the foreground is not even listed in world megayacht identification which takes place when it passes to the owners possession
    Theres only 4 yards in the world that build mega yachts and I can't even find a sneak peek of it
    And also does not show up on AIS vesselfinder so one would guess that it is under Final production
    Barcelona shipyard ranks right up there with yacht finishing in the world
    The picture that you took of that vessel Just under the pilot house bridge is the name any chance you could get me that name from your photos I'd appreciate it more research is needed
    But if you look really really close if you look on the other side of that new vessel you will see the megayacht Dilbar
    157 meter - 512 ft - USD 600 million
    The yacht Dilbar is a 157 meter (512 ft) motor yacht. She is the world’s biggest yacht measured by volume. She has been delivered to her owner in May 2016. Not much is known about her, but we estimate her cost at at least USD 600 million and she will probably accommodate 40 guests and a crew of at least 80. She replaced the previous Dilbar, which is still owned by Alisher Usmanov and now named Ona.

    And on the other side of that which you can't see is a smaller megayacht called
    the secret

    1. Nice detective work on those yachts Mr. Ed! So cool that we saw the world's largest yacht. :-)

      Sorry we can't help you out on the name of the other yacht though. Kevin tried to see if he could zoom in any better on the original photo but it is a no go. He couldn't make out the name either.

  4. Thank you Mister Ed on yacht info...very interesting. So who is Alisher Usmanove? I'll have to look that up. I love Spain so far...the country side looks dry with stunted grayish looking Arizona.

    1. Rita, Usmanov is a Russian business magnate and is considered by Forbes magazine as the richest person in Russia.

    2. Definitely some pretty interesting info on both the yacht and the man that owns the yacht. Sure wish now that we had walked down closer to see it better, maybe we could have been invited on board! ;-)

    3. Invited to board We probably couldn't afford the slippers
      Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov is an Uzbek-born Russian business magnate. According to January 2015 Forbes website data, Usmanov is Russia's richest man, with a fortune estimated at $14.7 billion, and the world's 58th richest person.
      His house in The English countryside is worth $77 million
      Also his plane
      The Airbus A340-300 is owned by Alisher Usmanov and is said to be worth $350-500 million. Billionaire Alisher Ashmanov he named the plane Boukhan. It is the largest private plane in Russia, even bigger than the President Vladimir Putin’s Ilyushin Il-96.
      Somehow or other I don't think we will be invited on that one either

    4. We can always dream, plus you know how much we love to meet people! ;-)

  5. Louis looks like a nice Motorhome! Enjoy your travels! Good you plan things ahead that really helps with costs and any unknown surprises!

    1. We think that Louis will suit us just fine for our 2 months of travel in him. We can't wait to show everyone what he looks like on the inside.

      Traveling and saving money all comes down to the planning. :-)

  6. Can't wait to see inside the motorhome. We RVers are all alike, aren't we? :-)

    1. Yep we sure are! As soon as we see something that is just a little different from what we are used too, we want to see what the inside is like. ;-)

  7. We're in Andalusia right now for the next week, on the beach somewhere between Cadiz and Cape Trafalgar. Not sure of your plans but maybe we'll meet up? We're in this area (Sevilla, Cordoba) till the end of the month and then heading for Faro, Portugal to meet up with friends. Keep in touch, Would be fun to meet up somewhere!

    1. We would love to meet up! You are more or less on the same schedule as us. We will be going a little more inland and then hoping to be in Malaga around January 19th and will then be making our way to Faro as well for February 14th to pickup my cousin and her husband at the airport. Keep in touch and let us know when we are close and we will make a point of getting together if we can. Take care and have fun.

  8. You sure lucked out with very decent people to do the motor exchange with. I loved taking the trains in Spain, clean and easy to understand.

    1. We sure did, it helped that a mutual friend had set us up compared to doing it through a site on the internet. If it all works out we would certainly think about doing this again.

      So far we have to agree, it was an excellent experience!

  9. I couldn't watch the video, it made my eyeballs dance! Louis looks like a comfy little home ... I'm sure you guys will enjoy traveling with him (I know we would!). Watcha gonna do in Torrevieja while you're there? Have fun, whatever!

    1. Yes, the video does move along a little quick! We think that Louis will work out just fine for us. There isn't a lot of extra room for sure but we also don't have very much stuff with us. It will take a little getting used to but I have no doubt that we will adapt very quickly.

      To be totally honest there really isn't very much to do here in Torrevieja unless you love sitting or strolling along the beach or wining and dining. We have gotten out and have done lots of walking but tomorrow we are outta here and headed inland where we think it will be more our style.

  10. Looks like fun! Lots of countryside pics please! :)

    1. Hopefully those will start tomorrow Chris! :-)

  11. Louis is definitely going to make Sherman jealous. Looking forward to seeing the travels in Spain and Portugal

    1. What Sherman doesn't know won't hurt him! ;-)

      We are looking forward to them as well and they will be starting tomorrow.


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