Please enjoy our guest blogger: Gina Stark is a lifetime avid traveler, and now blogger who shares her adventures on her own travel blog as well as through her suuper social mediachannels. Find her and follow her on Twitter @SuuperG – if you can keep up!
I know. You’re thinking, “What a silly topic. “ Well, I’m writing this with the hopes of
helping you to avoid the silly feeling that comes from a lack of local know-how.
I pride myself on being a seasoned traveler; and I don’t mean doused in paprika! I’d
even been to Barcelona before taking my nephew Leon on this recent trip with the
sole intent to infuse him with a profound love for Spain (it worked, I’m pleased to
We arrived at our hotel late in the afternoon, but in Spain, even in spring, you can
count on daylight into late evening, so we made a plan to freshen up and get down to
the beach walk. I perused the metro and bus maps and schedules and felt confident
in my plan to take the bus on the way down and the metro for the return. This way,
we could take advantage of orienting ourselves to the city and our hotel location
with a daytime view as the bus traveled through Barcelona. Nice planning, yes?
Well, a few things were missing.
Our bus stop was only one block from the hotel and our bus number ran every 15
minutes so within the span of about 7 minutes our coach had arrived. We had come
from Seville, so a supply of euros was in hand, and I presented a 20 euro bill. The
driver was happy to accept it, but – he shrugged – he did not have change.
No problem, we hopped off at the next stop, easily procured change from a corner
store and waited patiently for the next #3 to come and gather us. Like clockwork,
there was our bus heading quickly toward us and the stop we knew was the correct
one because we were deposited there so unceremoniously only 15 minutes prior.
We stood dutifully at the edge of the curb as he approached, and then, to my
astonishment and dismay– whoosh – a blast of warm diesel-tinged air swirled my
clothes and hair as this second bus #3 unapologetically sped past. My nephew and
I looked at each other half stunned. He lives in New York and I think even he was
impressed at the gall of these drivers!
We studied the locals’ tactics and watched as they literally had to hail down the
buses – even though it was a designated stop! – to indicate a desire to board the
barreling behemoths of public transportation. We were successful with #3 bus #3. I
think Leon’s New York taxi training helped.
Some tips you might want to take away with you:
•Talk to the concierge at your hotel or stop by an information booth about
public transportation. Tell them your general plan and they may make
suggestions to help you avoid high traffic, dangerous subway times or rogue
•Carry smaller bills and change whenever possible and especially when
relying on public transport.
•Don’t rule out creative ways of getting around town. I absolutely love the on-
off boats in Paris that transport you elegantly to various points of interest
whilst offering a beautiful overview perspective of the city.
Normally, I take such travel setbacks in stride, but our evening striding along the
beach front walk was a bit diminished by a cool nip in the rapidly fading light.
Perhaps the 30 extra warmer and brighter minutes would have been worth the 15
If you’ve experienced any misadventures that may offer helpful caveats or
suggestions, we’d love for you to share. And as always, happy travels!
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