Friday, May 22, 2009
International CANDLE search ???
We parked, the car, at Days Inn, and took the shuttle bus, to the airport.
Land at Reus Airport, bus transfer to Hotel
Hotel Dorauda Palace
4 star, very clean, two pools, (with an extra pool on the roof)
Not too far from the town/beach, across some very busy roads (only “niggle” was the hotel was along a short, 50 metre, incline, manual wheelchair “not impossible” but a long struggle).
(a more detailed report, of the hotel, will be posted at tripadvisor http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g562814-d291032-Reviews-Dorada_Palace_Hotel-Salou_Costa_Dorada_Catalonia.html
For my liking, Salou, is very English. Not much evidence you are in Spain !!.
Even the Paella, I had, was a frozen meal !!
A ride on the “Noddy Train” will let you see the town, 3 Euro for round trip, trip is LONGER, than what you think. Catch it at it “stops” along the road, indicated by different coloured balls, corresponding to the route, it takes.
Prices, on a par with UK, perhaps on the dearer side, HINT McDonald`s is has very prices, (tea / coffee, is popular with the locals.
Seems there is plenty of PUBLIC toilets (metal buildings, with timber coverings) NOTE : STEPS to them !!!.
Train station Salou (day trip Dawn, Alan and Jason).
Main Station in Salou, has a ticket office, cafe (small) toilets (metal, TARDIS type, coin operated ) .
Find it at the Southern end of the promenade, (by the MARINA) about two streets further back, (Portaventura has a station, but is unmanned, and a bit out of the town).
Can get very busy, buy your ticket DONT FORGET TO VALIDATE IT BEFORE you get on the train, in the RED machines on the exit door of the ticket office.
Trains are clean and spacious, except busy times, when it becomes very crowded.
Beware of the large gap, between the train and the platform and the very BIG step up to the carriage. Disabled travellers will find this difficult, but plenty of help is at hand !!.
Toilets available, on trains, and at the stations.
Main stations seem to have some sort of lift, for wheelchairs, but saw NO evidence of this elsewhere.
Salou to Barcelona takes approx one and a half hours, THREE stations in Barcelona Sants (ground level)—Pesseig de Gracia (below ground, STEPS-to ground level)—Estacio de Franca (ground level), and near to the Zoo and Arc de Triumf.
Return journey Adult 12.10 Euro – child 8.10 Euro
Times (we used)
http://www.renfe.com/ or (better still) your hotel can supply you with a timetable.
Salou 8.43 – 10.13 – 11.42 – 14.13
Barcelona SANTS 13.33 – 15.03 – 16.33 – 18.03
Third station, Estacio de Franca, up to the
Museu de Xcocolata http://pastisseria.cat/en/PortadaMuseu
A very interesting museum of chocolate, with plenty of objects too see, plus some impressive exhibits, plus a shop and cafe.
Then up to Arc de Triomf http://www.aviewoncities.com/barcelona/arcdetriomf.htm a HUGE, RED brick archway, in a very pleasant public park/pedestrianised area, we had picnic in Pg.Lluis Companys http://www.aviewoncities.com/barcelona/parcdelaciutadella.htm (a packed lunch was supplied, by the hotel, as we were taking a evening meal). A great place to have a picnic, a busy place, but a it is so massive it is not crowded (A view I have of Barcelona, as a whole, it is very busy but so “big” and widespread, the busy-ness dosen`t seem too bad)
Along too the Parc de la Ciutadello Zoo http://www.zoobarcelona.com/ZOO_Barcelona/English/English.asp
A MASSIVE Zoo. A very popular place, for all ages, and a place to spend alot of the day.
The animals seem to be in large enclosures, and there is plenty of animals, to see (not like some zoo`s)
16 Euro for adult - Disabled 5 Euro - 9.60 Euro child
Back to catch, the train, to Salou
But which one ??, there were 14 trains, on 14 platforms – no indication, which one and no one to ask (language barrier).
One day, we arranged to meet – Sarah Allen-from LWA http://www.livingwithataxia.org/ in MacDonalds, in Salou . We met there, as it was easy to find and tea coffee, was a reasonable price (the cheapest place in Salou, no wonder so many people go there !!)
Sarah lives, just outside Tarragona, just along the coast.
Portaventura, http://www.portaventura.co.uk/ (Day 1) HUGE Theme park (owned by Unervisal Studios) (Dawn, Alan, Elaine and Jason)
Tickets bought in UK, before departure (fairly dear, but its worth the cost) take your own food and drinks, as inside the park its very expensive.
Alan and Elaine hire mobility scooters (25 Euro, each, per visit !!!!!!!) and it is adviseable, as the park is huge and all on a slope.
Rides on rollercoasters Tami Tami, Tomahawk, Tren de la Mina
Underwater submarine ride, Sea Odyssey, Serpiete emplumada
Portaventura (day 2)
Rollercoasters Stampedia and (NOT me) Furius Baco
Water rides Grand Canyon Rapids, Silver River Flume (both NOT for me)
Monday, (Alan and Dawn) trip to Barcelona
Salou to Barcelona / Estacio de Sants (another massive station)
We exited, the station, on the bus station side, but couldn’t find the Bus Turistic http://www.tmb.net/en_US/turistes/busturistic/busturistic.jsp office/bus stop !!
Back into, the station, we exited the opposite side, to find the right office/bus stop.
Paid, got tickets, maps, money off vouchers,(worth 180 Euros).
Blue route (2 hours) from Sants return to Sants train station. (our plan is to see a very brief view of what is on offer, in Barcelona, and too return on a (cheap) weekend visit).
As the bus route is a “hop on Hop off” we got off at Teleferic de Monjuic (cable car) which has magnificent views of Barcelona. At the start of the ride, it was pretty scarey !!. Each “Gondala” can take up to people, but Dawn and I went for one between us (plus it is wheelchair friendly ).
A youtube video I have found http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EeFe4Mr2KM
After the ride, we caught, another bus, on the blue route, which continued on the journey, back to Sants railway station.
In Salou, we walked along the promenade, met Jason and Elaine, shopped, stopped for tea, before
returning, to the hotel, and pack, our luggage, ready for our return flight, in the morning, to Cardiff.
The weather, in UK was WARM ??, enough for us to be able to sit on the patio, and continue topping up, the TAN
The next morning, I was to get the bus, in StClears, to catch the train to Chesterfield
At Newport, the train connection, I was going on, was NOT stopping at Bristol Parkway due to trespassers (where one person was killed) on the line, and then all the electronic displays were not working due to a computer problem at the, main, signalling depot, in Swindon
I was attending a meeting of Sheffield Ataxia support group, where Dr Marios H (Dr at the Ataxia clinic, in Sheffield), was speaking.
I managed to arrange to stay with good friends Dave and Glenys, who were also attending the meeting. I also had the opportunity to meet Neil (Daves PA).
It was a very interesting meeting, where we all seemed to learn alot more about Ataxia, and its complexities plus the TASK the Drs have when dealing with the diagnosis of the Ataxias.
We all made very good contacts/friends. I hope to attend, some of their meetings in the future
Dave, Glenys, Neil and I went for lunch, at a local carvery eatery, before returning to their house.
My return, train journey, was delayed by vandals, on the train / track (in Sheffield) and again, the train was delayed, as a freight train was on the same track ???.
Will get photos uploaded to flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanroygbiv/
Video clips at youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/alanroygbiv