Spain's long-delayed high-speed train service has been launched between Madrid and Barcelona, cutting the travel time to 2hrs 35mins city centre to city centre. It's been a long wait! We traveled on the AVE service to Cordoba from Madrid's Atocha station 6 months before the bombings happened, and what an absolutely amazing experience that was, wooshing at 300kph across the parched highlands of central Spain. It was always odd that a high speed service has been in service for 15 years to Seville - set up in time for the World Expo there - while the train service to Barcelona was a decrepit slow train that took us all day to get there. It didn't help that the track was washed out by recent floods so the train had to go the long way round.
But now you can leave after breakfast and arrive in time for lunch in two of the most fun cities I have ever been to, Barcelona and Madrid.