I don’t take buses. I grew up in a suburban neighborhood in upstate New York where cars ruled the road. Just now, in 2017, has one singular bus appeared. So with that background information in mind, let’s get into my harrowing tale of getting stranded on the side of a Barcelona highway.
I went to Barcelona with my best friend of 10 years and her friend from college. It was our last night in the city and since we had to be at the airport around 5am, we moved from our hotel in the center (Hotel Denit – would highly recommend) to a hotel right across the street from the airport — Hotel TRYP. We headed out to the bus stop to soak up our last few Spanish hours at the fountains of Montjuic.
It sounds silly because a fountain show seems cheesy and could be done anywhere, but this was perhaps my favorite part of Barcelona. It was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen before. After the fountains, we went to a really nice restaurant called Pulperia Can Lampazas where I think I ordered a really expensive bottle of wine by accident (I think they charged us for the cheap one instead?) and they gave us complementary after dinner drinks. A little tipsy, we boarded back on the bus home. Again — I do not take buses! This is very important to remember! I assumed buses went to all stops listed on the schedule, which was my first mistake. My second mistake was not pointing out that I saw the buttons that told the driver you wanted to stop (because I thought they were for stopping in between scheduled stops, so I didn’t think it was relevant).
Anyways long story short we missed our stop. One of us went up to the front of the bus to talk with the driver and she popped a quick U-turn and dropped us off somewhere, told us to go straight for a little and make a left and boom we’d be there. No problem, right? Nope!
We started walking and we couldn’t find anything. No hotel, no businesses, nothing. We were in a more residential neighborhood and the panic of being lost started to set in. We started snapping at each other, assigning blame and generally not contributing to a solution. I turned on my phone data to try to pull up a map, but it wasn’t working. I called my mom to try to have her send me the phone number of the hotel and she didn’t answer. I called one of my good friends from home and he answered! And sent us the phone number! The hotel gave us the address but unfortunately it wasn’t really a big help since we had no idea where we were.
So I kept walking, far past where my friends had stopped (sorry pals, I know that was worrisome) and eventually stumbled upon a restaurant! I explained to them in Spanish what was happening (although I’m sure they would have preferred Catalan) and they pulled up a map, asked me how I was getting there and I said “by feet!” They laughed and told me I definitely was not going to make it that far. They called me a taxi and I told them I wasn’t alone but my friends and I were fighting at the moment and they were on the street. During that sentence I dragged out the “pero” (“but”) and they thought I was saying “perras” (“bitches”) just as my friends arrived and they laughed. The waiter said I owed him a beer for saving our lives and to his surprise I pulled out a beer we bought at a convenience store before we left Montjuic!
After this very dramatic and perilous half an hour we loaded ourselves into the taxi and made it back to our hotel safe and sound.
But! Learn from our mistakes!:
- Maybe learn how buses work.
If I had ever taken a bus before, this whole situation could have been avoided. Likewise, if one of my bus-going pals had paid more attention to how this specific bus worked, it could have also been avoided. Try to be knowledgable before you start and aware once you do.
- If something goes wrong, be POSITIVE!
Us getting bitchy with each other was not helpful in no way shape or form. We added to each other’s stress and inhibited our ability to this critically about possible solutions. Negativity never helps a situation improve. Even if you’re in a bad place, keep a smile on, act like it’s going to get better and make positive actions towards your goal. And you’ll reach it. People are much more likely to help a friendly face than a rude and overwhelmed lost tourist. A positive attitude goes a long long way!
- Know there is a way out.
My sister once told me that there are very few decisions in life that cannot be undone and I think this holds true. Okay, we were lost. Okay, our mode of transportation left. Okay, our internet didn’t work. BUT, I was able to make calls. We were able to find a point of reference for a taxis to pick us up, and people to help call that taxi. Just relax and remember that even though it wasn’t Plan A, Plans B, C, D and E are also very viable options. Calm down and find those plans. Or, probably better, have one up your sleeve before you even leave the hotel.
- Maybe have a beer to bribe your saviors with just in case.
A joke, but ya know, never hurts. 😛
- Maybe learn how buses work.
Happy & Safe Travels!
Ciao for Now,
Also- my old roommate used to say “it either makes for a great time or a great story” (or something to that effect) and that’s so true! Keep that in mind while you’re finding your way. Or, as the Olsen Twins once said in their critically-acclaimed action movie, Getting There, “it’s all about getting there.”