High speed train to link Valencia and Madrid in December
Friday 19, November 2010
Paella lovers rejoice! Getting to Valencia will get a lot easier come December. Just in time for the New Year, the Alta Velocidad Espanola, the AVE, or high-speed train will inaugurate service from Madrid to Valencia making the trip in only 90 minutes.
On December 19, the first trains will depart, traveling at speeds of up to 205 miles per hour. Eventually up to 20 trains a day will make the trip. The AVE will have two-class service in 12 coaches with 365 seats: four Club Class coaches with 71 seats and eight for Tourist Class with 294 seats. Currently the train from Madrid to Valencia takes more than three hours and 45 minutes.
The new service will be a boon to travelers, Valencianos and Madrilenos alike. Upon arrival in Spain, Americans will be able to transfer seamlessly to this charming region on Spain’s Mediterranean in time for lunch. Valencia epitomizes the lure of Spain today – the wonderful blend of traditional and cutting edge. The city has a charming old quarter full of Gothic and Renaissance monuments. The art nouveau mercado central is one of the best food markets in Europe. Native son Santiago Calatrava designed the futuristic City of Arts & Sciences which contains Europe’s largest aquarium, an interactive science museum, a planetarium with IMAX theatre, a state-of-the-art opera house and the Agora where the Valencia Open tennis tournament is held. The waterfront was redesigned to host the American’s Cup twice and every summer, the city stages a European Grand Prix with cars racing along the circuit that hugs the harbor and yacht marinas. There are charming villages in the region – notably in the provinces of Alicante and Castellon – and 300 miles of beautiful sandy beaches.
Spain’s reputation for exceptional cuisine – both traditional and modern – is well established. While Valencia is the birthplace of one of the country’s most hallowed dishes, today local chefs are making creative use of the area’s bountiful produce and several have been awarded Michelin stars. The region takes its heritage seriously and celebrates some of Spain’s most colorful, vibrant and noisy festivals – like Las Fallas, La Tomatina and the Moors and Christians, among many others.
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