Thursday, July 29, 2010

TRIP TO SPAIN #1: THE EPIC JOURNEY OUT

Last week I went on my first ever trip to Europe. It was not for the purpose of studying public transportation. But you don't need to know that . . .

Our trip to Spain involved no less than six modes of transportation. Here they are . . .
1. Car, from Provo to Salt Lake International Airport. I was going to take the bus, but I would have had to catch it at 6:45 for a flight that left at 12:00. I was actually okay with doing this, but the other members of my party were not. Sigh.

2. Plane, from Salt Lake to Atlanta to Madrid. Someday, when I am a rich and famous Busninja, I will fly business class. Then my knees won't hurt when I get off the plane. Also, I may be able at some point to sleep on a flight. I even took a sleeping pill on the flight from Atlanta to Madrid, since we were going to arrive in Madrid at 10:00 a.m. local time. No effect. Instead, I watched Alice and Wonderland and Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Barajas Airport, Madrid
3. Madrid Metro, from Barajas Airport to Nuevos Ministerios. We walked all the way across the airport to catch the Metro, only to find out that it stops at all the terminals. Boo. Oh well, it helped burn off some of the paella I ate later that week. The Madrid Metro was nice and clean, and it moved quickly. It was also pretty full, which warmed my heart. It cost €1 to ride. Yay.

4. Cercanía Renfe, from Nuevos Ministerios to Méndez Alvaro/Estación del Sur. The Cercanía is a mid-size train, larger than the Metro but smaller than the high-speed Ave. We started out underground but went up to the sunny side to transfer to the bus station (the only part of Madrid I saw by day outside of the airport). The train station we waited at, though a ways underground, was clean and well-ventilated. Which is good, because we were all very tired. It cost us €1,3 to ride three stations on the cercanía.

Cercanía Train StatonInside the Cercanía
5. Intercity Bus (ALSA), from Estación del Sur to Granada. This bus was clean and air-conditioned (for which we were effusively grateful), but somewhat cramped, and included no bathroom. The picture should amply indicate how excited we were to still be traveling. It cost us €16,4 to ride this bus. It took us about five hours to get to Granada, including the bathroom break.
Estación del Sur

Somebody remind me again why I'm doing this

6. City Bus (Transportes Rober), from Estación de Autobuses de Granada to Hotel Carmen. I liked the city bus in Granada (more on that later). The level of patronization once again warmed my heart. The downside of that was that we had to stand, and we were so fetching tired. But then we got to the hotel and we were able to rest in peace (double-meaning intentional).
Interior of the T. Rober Route 3 bus
All in all, it was an epic journey. Stay tuned.

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