Traveling Do’s & Don’ts

Here are a few tales about the ups and downs of my traveling experiences over the past 4 months while abroad in Spain.
Dublin, Ireland

The morning of I woke up around 6am because I went to bed early and naturally my body was awake and ready for the day to begin. So I woke up went to the kitchen to check emails and make sure I was ready to go and then became enticed by a new blog post on a blog I follow. I made breakfast and continued to take my time because I did not leave up 9am from Granada. I had ordered a BlaBlaCar (the equivalent of US’s “rideshare”) and did not think to check that until 8am the morning of. Mind you I ordered one with a 61 year old grandpy whom I am sure does not know how to effectively use the BlaBla website. Why wait until 8am you may be asking? Quite frankly- sometimes I am really terrible at following through. I submitted my reservation but when I checked it, he had not accepted and we had spoken earlier in the week. So without hesitation panic starts to set in, and I am scrambling to write him, make other reservations, etc. in order to make my flight to Ireland. I rush into my room and awake my sleeping roommate to borrow her Spanish phone to see if I can call him. When I get back to my iPad I am pleasantly surprised. 15 minutes had passed and he finally responds telling me he will meet me where we decided on earlier that week. Well I informed him that he needed to accept my reservation so that I would receive a code for him that would process my payment. Thankfully he accepts and we decide to meet 15 minutes ahead of schedule, so actually like 5-10 minutes earlier (Spanish time…still gets me). I gather my things and rush to the gas station which is our point of meeting. Sure enough I am there “early” and he arrives on Spain time. This station is a very popular pick-up place for BlaBla and I see a few older candidates whom none of are Miguel. Then an old Mercedes rumbles down the road and onto the sidewalk, I am praying this is not my driver after seeing a brief clip of his driving style. Without fail, Miguel gets out of the car and calls me over to hop in. We pack my luggage in and I head to the front seat. Side note, I am the only BlaBla passenger (and only passenger in general) because he failed to accept and get back to others. He is super friendly and begins introducing himself and then decides to inform me it was in fact his first BlaBla experience. I KNEW IT. This turned out to be a safe and quick ride to the airport and relatively seemless. Miguel was a nice older man who’s humor and kind demeanor worked out to my advantage. Nonetheless, maybe pick a BlaBla driver with reviews to avoid the morning of heart attack or figure it out before 8am the day of your departure. Learn from my mistakes, but I must say I lucked out. Thanks be to the Big Man up top!

Zurich, Switzerland

I ordered a BlaBla car with Manuel, a guy who goes to the Malaga airport multiple times a week and also very early (5am departure from Granada). I would call myself a regular customer and therefore we consistently have met at the Hipercor meeting spot in Granada. On my way …4:45am I realize I did not confirm the meeting spot. Thankful for the nocturnal Spanish and find a guy walking down the street I am on. He seems approachable and I ask in somewhat of a panic if I can borrow his phone. Then I realize he is extremely good looking and I look like a crazy, half-asleep American. He kind;y obliges to my request at this ridiculous hour and I am able to confirm with Manuel that we are in fact meeting at Hipercor. Thank Jesus! I tell the kind hottie thank you and speed off in the direction of Hipercor. I arrive and am praying that God will allow him to come pick me up and some miscommunication did not happen over the phone with my sub-par spanish and his quick, blended speaking. As I wait for 15 minutes I begin to lose hope and sure enough 5 minutes later Manuel and his little beat up car round the turn and head in my direction. I hop in and head to Malaga. Yet another successful BlaBla ride that could have ended in an absolute mess. God is so so good to me, he is always looking out for me.

Florence, Italy

My roommate and I headed to Florence together and made it to Malaga (AGP airport) and our flight without a problem. We landed and grabbed bus tickets to catch our train from Rome to Florence. We just missed the first bus and wait 30 minutes for the next one. We did not ask anyone the length of the bus ride and only when we were 45 minutes into the ride and cutting it close to our train departure time did we realize we were in fact going to miss our train. So we sit back and accept the reality of this first mishap. We make it to the train station with 2 minutes until departure and sure enough miss our train by seconds. We buy other tickets and cut a line of approximately 100 people to run down the platform and barely make it to the second train! We finally arrive in Florence and spend 4 lovely days in the magical city. On the way back we hop on the first train we see that says Florence to Roma, when the ticket man comes to check our tickets he informs us we got on the wrong train. After some “language-barrier” confusion he tells us the train we got on is the slow train and takes 4 hours and that our tickets were for the bullet train which only takes an hour. We both begin to freak out a bit, and ask him what our options are. He says to stay on the train because there is no way for us to get to Rome faster. Again we are sitting back and taking in the fact that we are going to miss our flight. This one stings a bit, but we find a flight and bite the bullet. When we finally arrive to the train station we hop on the train to the airport. We meet this super nice British guy, Ben; who helps us navigate the railway as he is on his way to pick his mom up from the airport. When we arrive we head to check in for yet another surprise. My roommate made the reservation for 2 seats under 1 name and they “could not change the reservation because it was against their policy”. BS! *Cough cough* So now we have a real problem, luckily the wifi in the airport is spot on and we can use the internet. We try for about an hour to figure it out and see if anything can be done, but no. So I tell me roommate to proceed to the flight so we don’t spend/waste any more money. We depart one another and sadness sinks in. I have to find another flight, ASAP. I try to buy one for her flight but the clerk asks for 416 EUROS, I literally just walk away at that point. We lost all day, and now I continue to lose on my own. I have not cried in I don’t know how long, many many months if not a year and when I sit down to FaceTime my sister to vent my frustration it comes out in tears. I was just so mad at the world for all the things that had gone wrong and of course couldn’t just go my way, she was a gem and boosted my spirits. I signed off and made reservations for a flight the following evening at 6 pm. Super thankful we planned to return a day early and had a holiday from school tomorrow. I prepare for another night in the airport and get ready for bed. I have become somewhat of a pro at sleeping in weird places, the airport being the most used. I find a little crevice between two walls and tuck my things away and prepare a bed from my clothes and use my beanie to cover my eyes and rest into the morning. Can you even call it rest? My body is beat up! The following morning I wake at 9 and get ready in the airport bathroom for the day. I camp out at a cafe with amazing cappuccinos and charging outlets. I book my return BlaBla and finally get home to Granada at 12am. Florence was probably my favorite trip, and yet the travel aspect was by far the worst.

Hope you at least got a laugh out of my crazy travel experiences. If you are more curious about my abroad experience or traveling in general just post a comment or email me! I am more than happy to share my do’s/don’ts, favorite places, transportation experiences, accommodation experiences, and more. Much love!


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