Spain and France - September 2010

This was a long weekend trip flying out to Spain and travelling back all the way by rail. During the last few years I have started to take a long weekend break in late September but this was the first of these to leave the UK. It was tentatively worked out when in France in June 2010. Whilst travelling from Perpignan to Carcassonne, via the Train Jaune and the standard gauge La Tour-de-Carol to Toulouse line, the outline of the trip was worked out in my head with txt confirmation from Spain that what I wanted to do was workable. The initial thoughts developed into a 6 day plan but it was cut short thanks to French air traffic control being on strike. So I lost the first day. Thankfully I was able to go the next day and this change didn't screw up the trip. My itinerary was:

Friday 24th September - Fly from Bristol to Barcelona with easyJet, then on the Spanish AVE high speed train inland to Lleida.

Saturday 25th September - On the ARMF operated 'Tren dels Llacs' part steam, part diesel hauled trip from Lleida to La Pobla de Segur and back.

Sunday 26th September - Looking around Lleida in the morning before catching the AVE back to Barcelona. Then it was on to France by train on a Spanish gauge changing Talgo service as far as Beziers where I stayed overnight.

Monday 27th September - Beziers to Paris by train via la Ligne des Causses across the Massif Central to Clermont Ferrand then, reprising my route from June, on the Bourbonnais mainline onward to Paris Lyon.

Tuesday 28th September - A morning exploring parts of Paris I hadn't seen before walking Promenade Plantée and buying a sizeable amount of French cheese! Then back to the UK on Eurostar and to Bath by First Great Western HST.

Tren dels Llacs

2-8-2+2-8-2 Garratt 282F0421

2-8-2+2-8-2 Garratt 282F0421 at Balaguer station.