Gonna take a fast train?

I took a train today from Barcelona to Madrid. The journey was 640 km, or roughly the same distance as from Boston Mass. to Washington DC.

It took 2 hours and 30 minutes. No shit.

Moreover, I did not have to go through all the security, the tra-la-la that surrounds air travel. No, I showed up at the train station in Barcelona 10 minutes before departure and I was on the train and in my seat with plenty of time to spare. Arriving at the downtown train station of Atocha, i had a 5 min. walk to my hotel.

Total time door to door was about 3 hours. No shit.

Imagine if you could travel from Boston to DC in just 3 hours TOTAL time. Can you?

Of course, arriving in the Atocha station made me remember the terrible terrorist attack that killed 191 people there in 2004. The attack occurred just days before the general election, and I think it was crucial in assuring the victory of the opposition party in Spain. Zapatero won, he was anti-Bush and he pulled all the Spanish troops out of the Middle East.

And guess what? Since then, no more terrorist attacks in Spain.

This got me thinking. Sure, the Spaniards “backed down” — sure, they “gave in to the terrorists” – but what does that mean? By “giving in” they simply said “this is not a fight to defend our country, and why should we be involved in this anyway?”

Result: they have peace, and security, and trains that can travel at 200 mph.