When we were planning this trip, Rachel said she wanted to go to Barcelona as part of her time with us. Brennan figured out that we could take a train from Reims to Barcelona and then Rach would fly out of Barcelona after 2 days there. We knew it would take the majority of Monday, but we had no idea how difficult the train trip would be...
We were scheduled to be on a train that left Reims at 7AM. The train station was a 20 minute walk from our Airbnb. We were still at the apartment at 6:30 and it was a little tense since we all were running behind. I have NEVER seen Brennan walk as fast as he did from the apartment to the train station. I think we made it in 12 minutes. We were booking it across the empty city streets, rolling our loud suitcases the whole way.
We got to Paris in about 45 minutes and had to switch train stations. We did this very easily and ended up at the station with several hours before our train left. I sat with the bags while Rachel and Brennan went to find coffee. They managed to grab a table at Pret a Manger and we sat in the cafe for the next few hours.
When it was time, we got in the mass of people all trying to get to the platform for our train to Barcelona. Once we got through the ticket check, we had to figure out which train car was ours. It took quite a bit of maneuvering, but finally we found car 18.
We stood in line to get to the second level where our seats were. We were at the very first car of the train, in the seats at the front. The seats are in groups of 2 or 4, so we sat in a group of 4. Brennan sat next to a lady facing backward and Rachel and I sat beside each other facing them. The car was completely full and we had to find spots to stick our backpacks because there was very little room by our feet.
The trip was supposed to take 6 hours. We ended up being on the train for nearly 10 hours. At one point we were stopped for nearly 1.5 hours. The announcements were all in Spanish and French (understandably), but we had no idea what was going on. From what we were able to piece together, we think there was a problem with the electricity on the tracks or something with the extreme heat temperatures that was affecting the tracks. Additionally, there was supposed to be wifi and air conditioning, but both were spotty and unreliable. We brought some snacks and water with us, but after 5-6 hours, Rachel and I ventured to find bathrooms and snacks. We found bathrooms with no functional sinks or toilet paper and a snack bar that had very limited options. We bought 2 packs of M&Ms, a bag of gummy bears, and were given 3 waters "for free". It was ROUGH.
While we were on the train, we got a FaceTime call from my mom about an hour into the trip letting us know that one of our close friends from Ohio had passed away unexpectedly. This led to a lot of crying, trying to call our parents, and find out details about what happened. We tried to figure out how we could get back to Ohio. We had really spotty internet access which made everything more frustrating.
Needless to say, we were very thankful when we got off the train in Barcelona. We tried to figure out the metro system and even bought tickets, but were all so exhausted that we just couldn't do it. We ended up taking a taxi ride to the hotel and eating dinner at the hotel restaurant at 9PM. We had Iberian ham, chicken croquettes, papas braves, and sangria. The food was excellent and we were very thankful to have water, space to spread out, and fresh air. Our time in Barcelona started out rough, but got much better the next day!
The picture below was taken about 30 minutes before we got to Barcelona. You can see how done we all are. Rachel's face sums it up perfectly.
We're Brennan & Megan
Since June 2022, we have been traveling to learn more about ourselves and the world around us.