Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Bus Ride

Yes, we took an overnight bus from Lisbon to Sevilla. No, I would never do this again.

Getting from Lisbon, Portugal to Sevilla, Spain is not as easy as you may think. I suppose we could have flown, but I don't think it really occurred to us. There is no train from Lisbon to Sevilla, and renting a car to cross into another country was problematic and pricey.

So the bus it would be. An overnight bus seemed like a good option. It was a seven hour bus ride and it just seemed to make more sense to spend that seven hours traveling over night than during the day. One less night at a hotel or apartment to pay for AND we wouldn't waste precious sightseeing time.

I should back up a little bit here. We returned from Sintra and while we walked back from the bus station to our apartment, we passed the Metro Station where we would catch the train to the Oriente Rios bus station where you can catch international trains and buses. David asked me if I wanted to head down there and check out how much the ride would be. Actually, I really DIDN'T want to. I just wanted to get back to our apartment. But, I said sure and we proceeded into the station.

We went down a flight of escalators. And then another flight of escalators. And then another...and then another. Four flights total. I felt like we were traveling to the fifth circle of Dante's Inferno and it was certainly hot enough to feel like it. Why are subway stations always so hot?

As we traveled down, David said, "You've got a key for the apartment, right?" Well, no actually I didn't. When we got back, we stood on the street for a minute or so yelling up to our fourth floor apartment. Turned out the door wasn't locked anyway.

After checking out of the apartment, we headed back to the Metro station, the four flights of escalators, and after some disagreements with the ticket machines, we were on our way.

The Oriente Rios station looks pretty cool, but when you get there and don't really know where to go, and there does not seem to be any kind of an info desk to go to, it's just a wee bit frustrating. The bathrooms are also gross. I read someplace that this station is as busy as Grand Central, but now I cannot find the link. Regardless, it was one of two stations at which we could have caught the bus, and I picked the wrong one.

Turns out, we were the second stop, so by the time we got on the bus there were only single seats left. You of course have the people that are already asleep sprawled across two seats, the people that need a seat just for their plastic bag, and the married couple that each need two seats to themselves and will wave off anyone that tries to sit with one of them. I found a nice seat next to a woman who at one point tried to ask me or tell me something. Unfortunately, I have no idea what she said, so from that point on I tried to sit as still and quiet as possible so that nothing I did could possibly be a problem. She seemed very nice, but I had no idea if she was trying to ask me not to do something, or do something, or compliment my bag. No clue.

On the plus side, the seats reclined very far. On the negative side, an hour or two into the ride a woman got on who decided she was going to be the only person on the entire bus to have her overhead light on. She also gestured to me that I should not recline my seat so far. Argh! It is 2 a.m. lady! You are the only person awake on this bus! Your light is keeping other people awake! Invest in a personal book light! Eventually, she did turn her light off, at which point I attempted to recline my seat further, but it appeared she had placed a curse on it. It would not move.

In addition, the woman next to me decided she would try to sleep sideways so that her hip and leg were encroaching on my seat space. :-(

And since I am complaining, it was NOT a smooth ride. Overall it was pretty bumpy, and since the seats were leather or pleather or some such thing, sudden stops would leave you sliding further and further towards the floor. Oh, and I really think there was a point there where the driver was lost - we seemed to be going in circles in some little town for quite some time.

No one else really enjoyed the bus ride either. All my friends commented on how hot it was. My seat was actually chilly, so I must have chosen somewhat wisely. There was about a 20 minute break at some sort of travel plaza, at which we all stood around in the cold complaining about the bus. Oh, and then there was the family that got on and when it was suggested that the little boy would not be able to sit with his mom, he started to wail. I had earplugs in at that point, but I could still hear him. Fortunately, someone did offer to move...another husband and wife I think that were trying to monopolize seats, I think.

Overall, bus ride...not so great. I wouldn't recommend this unless you have no other choice. Crowded, uncomfortable, bleck. At least it didn't smell weird, although my friends might disagree with me.

We arrived in Sevilla about 5:00 a.m. Yay! Someone left their iPad on the bus! No! What happened? Check back for more.






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