On first thought, the idea of flying alone in a plane to a foreign land is intimidating and scary. However, in reality, it can be incredibly exciting and liberating. Luckily, before my journey to Valencia to begin my year abroad, I had already flown solo. Although I’m not the best flyer, I do find that some good music and a good book makes the whole journey seem so much more pleasant. Then once you arrive at your destination you feel a big sense of pride at having navigated yourself to another country. But little do you know that the flight to your new home is only the beginning of an epic adventure of travel and transport.
Valencia has an amazing network of metros- which work in a similar way to the underground in London. The trains are super clean and the lines are usually very punctual. Tickets for the metro are also surprisingly cheap and it is the best option to get into the city from the airport in only twenty-five minutes. I think the metro system can be mastered in just a few days, with the helpful app by your side, however, the roads, on the other hand, take a little while longer to master!
To add to the confusion, the roads all have names in the Valencian language, and Castillian Spanish, which is the one we learn at school or university. So often a street has two names, which can make communicating with a taxi driver very confusing! And even telling relatives at home your new Spanish address that little bit more complicated.
This brings me onto my next point. Taxis. It is so quick and easy and also affordable to hail a taxi in Valencia. However, when we first arrived, with our level of Spanish leaving quite a lot to be desired, we actually ended up in an out of town housing estate instead of IKEA, because we didn’t quite pronounce IKEA in the typically Spanish way!
After a few weeks, scenarios such as these slowed down haha! In the first few months, amazingly, it was warm enough to spend days at the beach. In order to reach the beach, there was a tram line just a short walk from our apartment. This was ideal on warm, sunny days!
I didn’t do a huge amount of travelling during my time in Spain, but the big trip I went on to Andalusia was an epic journey. We had to travel by coach to Granada overnight! We left Valencia around midnight and didn’t arrive in Granada until 7am!!! It was an awful journey, it turns out that it is quite difficult to sleep on a coach. However, just arriving in Granada at sunrise made the whole journey seem less painful.
It seems that although the journey can be difficult, the destination is so worth it. Meanwhile, transport in a new city can be super daunting and scary at first but give it a while, and you’ll feel like a local in no time at all!
I am just crossing my fingers that I get to know the transport systems as quickly in my new home, in a few weeks time, which will be in Germany.