It was Kim’s idea to trade off days in the journal, but she hasn’t felt like writing so I will fill in the last few days. Monday saw more of Orléans and also a train ride to Blois. There was a castle there, but not too interesting. We didn’t go in, instead we saw the rest of this cool ville… windy streets, old churches, more Loire river valley. Then back to Orléans and another internet stop at a smokey bar.
We had to go back to Paris Tuesday to try to get to Lisbon, but all the speed trains to Lisbon (from Paris) were booked solid for days. From now on we have to remember to reserve ahead of time (even with our passes). We waited all day in the train station for a train to Irun, Spain. After an all night ride (with some sleep) we got to Irun and hopped on a tarin to Madrid. Six hours later, tired, dirty and hungry, we arrived in Madrid. After fighting off a slick con man we found ourselves at a hotel in the middle of Madrid (a prime location again). The lady at the front desk was really rude to me (so was the international ticket agent at the station when we reserved our seats for Lisbon for Friday… forgot to mention that… and oh yeah, he screwed it up so we have to go fix it tomorrow… anyway) but the room is really nice. We’re switching our days in Madrid for Lisbon so tomorrow is off to the Prado and maybe the Royal Palace. Hopefully Saturday will find us in Lisbon with less problems.