Hop on the bus, Gus – in Spain

Minutes to spare. Hours to wait.

The reappearance of employment for poor old working Partner meant the reappearance of the commute to Spain run for me. (Hop) On the bus.

Not only is he out of the house for 11 hours of the day Mon-Fri, he has to work Sats too.

So I did the usual check of bus times from La Linea to Málaga, and the direct ones from Algeciras to Málaga too, in case I missed the intended bus.

Plan: get up, sort self round, walk to La Linea, get 10.30 bus.

Reality: get up, sort self round, get distracted with internet decide to tidy flat, mop out and leave place looking good for POWP.

Naturally, because buses are timed sensibly in Spain, the next one after the 10.30am is 4.30pm. That’s right. A whole six hours between them. Which is why I’d looked up the times from Algeciras because you might as well hop on the local bus to Alge and get the directo.

Anyway, I was so disorganised/idle/putting it off that I decided the 4.30 would do just fine. So off I goes to La Linea and arrived with five or ten mins to spare. Not good. It was full. Full???? It’s never full. Or at least it was never full when it left at 2.30 before they changed the times. Perhaps that’s why they changed the times.

Next bus? Seven o’clock. Now, there is stuff all to do in La Linea at the best of times, but hanging around for two and a half hours was not my idea of a good time.

Next bus to Alge? 4.45. I decided to take it, and with any luck would arrive in time to catch the 5.30 directo to Málaga. See, this is why I memorise bus times. Important to know your options.

I sat on the bench talking to a Moroccan woman (in Spanish), as you do while you wait for a bus. Go ask the driver if he’s got any spare seats and can let you on, she said.

Well, I would never have done that years ago in case he said no, but these days this is the woman who jumps out in the middle of the road and says STOP! if she wants a bus to stop. So nothing ventured, I walked up to the throng of people to collar the driver. Whereupon I discovered he was in the middle of telling two or three other people that NO, he did not have any seats left, at all.

I didn’t bother asking. Went back to chat to my new-found pal, who it turned out lived in Gib and was going to visit family in Algeciras.

Bus to Algeciras arrived. I sat opposite the exit door. Jumped out in Alge with five minutes to spare and dashed to the ticket office praying for no queue. Phew. Ticket to Málaga on the 5.30 please.

‘It’s full.’ Yet again.

In olden days when buses were full, they would sometimes put on a second one. Not any more.

My bus.  Please come back and let me on :(
My bus. Please come back and let me on :(

I could have a seat on the 7.30. I didn’t have much choice did I? It would still get in before the La Linea one at 7pm because this was a directo, so ETA around 9.30pm. Could be home by 10.30pm.

I bought the ticket. Algeciras is not a bad bus station in which to while away two hours as it does good tortilla and cheap rioja so off I went to the bar. Another dilemma. There was a choice of tortilla (not normal in most bars but this one often has two or three). Potato one, or potato and peppers? I struggled to remember, one of the alternative ones was too moist, ahh, that was onion. I’ll have the pepper one, I said. Any chance of chips? I asked. Nope. Cookers closed down. Oh well.

Good. Extremely good.
Good. Extremely good.

Time goes relatively quickly with a glass of rioja or two and some tortilla.

Nice bar. Good enough to while away the time.
Nice bar. Good enough to while away the time.

Off to wait for the bus. Like many people, I sat on the floor.

Waiting for the bus. As we all do.
Waiting for the bus. As we all do.

And watched the goings on.

Oh! There is young roughseas, backpacking around the med. No wonder the buses are full. Nuisance backpackers cluttering up the buses.
Oh! There is young roughseas, backpacking around the med. No wonder the buses are full. Nuisance backpackers cluttering up the buses.
No, not young me, backpack not big enough.
No, not young me, backpack not big enough.

Once in Málaga, just before 9.30, I shot round to my local bus stand. Technically I think you are meant to buy a ticket, but plenty of people just get on and pay cash. Time was short and no time to queue at the ticket office. I arrived and saw the bus pulling out.

I went to buy a ticket after all. I had half an hour to kill. The rest of it was killed in the bar with a San Miguel.

So now I’m on the 10pm bus and it’s dark. ETA has been revised to around 11pm. When we pulled into the central Málaga bus stop the bus was nearly full. After that, the bus stopped at every single bus stop in the world for someone to get on or off or both.

Dark. Full. Will I even spot my bus stop?
Dark. Full. Will I even spot my bus stop?

This journey used to take 40 minutes. It now takes the best part of an hour. It took an hour and a half before I arrived at my village.

Would I wander around in the UK at 11.30 pm on a Friday night? No. Gib yes. Spain yes. Well, again, I had no choice.

Crickets chirping, frogs croaking, and as I walked up the approach to my pueblo, a horse waiting patiently for his rider to finish his drink at the bar. Very Clint Eastwood. I stroked and patted him. The horse, not Clint Eastwood, while the young lads swinging their legs on the wall ignored me.

White horse
White horse

I walked up my street, saw the neighbours’ light was on, and called that I was home. I went in and locked the door.

Door to door? Eight hours.

On the return journey I was slightly more organised. Left the house around 9.45am, said goodbye to the neighbours, and skipped off to the bus stop about ten minutes walk away. Just as I was approaching the main road down the dry stream bed (as you do) I saw a man appear with a bag. Not looking good. I reached the main road and saw the back end of the bus disappearing to Málaga. Oh, no. Not again.

I sat and waited for nearly half an hour. When the bus appeared the driver had already spotted me and had his indicator on. I jumped up in relief. Once on the bus I decided not to look at the clock. Either I’d get there in time, or it would be a few more hours wait at Málaga. Shut my eyes, although did take a few cheating peeks.

We rumbled along quite merrily until we started to hit the Málaga suburbs and people started getting on and off. More delays. The only bright spot was the Spanish radio phone-in about noise problems.

‘What noise annoys you, Javier, from Madrid?’ asked the presenter. What a top job to have, being a Spanish radio journalist on a phone-in prog. All you have to do is ask the question, give their name and location, and then sit back and occasionally say ‘Sí’ while they ramble on endlessly about some crap or other.

However at 11am we heard about Mariana Rajoy’s (Spanish prime minister) views on terroristas.

‘Rajoy is sick,’ erupted one woman opposite me. ‘I can’t bear the man, he talks a load of rubbish.’ etc etc etc so naturally the rest of the front of the bus joined in, including the driver.

And she missed her stop. I love Spanish rule-breaking though. She promptly asked the driver if he would let her out in the middle of the road and he did. Haha!

I started clock-watching again. We arrived in Málaga with eight minutes to spare for the 11.30. I could do it if there wasn’t a queue. I shot first off the bus and dashed around the concourse. Horrors!! Long queues. No. A mistake. That was for Tourist Infomation.

Portillo had two taquillas open. Only one person at one, and an empty one. I couldn’t believe my luck. Ticket for the 11.30 to La Linea, I gasped.

‘Hurry, it’s about to leave,’ he said, calmly printing it out. Well, he wasn’t the one who needed to dive on the bus. Because the next one was at 2pm.

‘Gracias, voy corriendo.’ Thanks, I’m running for it.

Bit of an exaggeration as there was a huge group of people hanging around the bus waiting to get on, so I fitted in a quick toilet visit. TMI, no.

Again, in olden days, longer journeys used to stop for coffee, food, and toilet. Now you are expected to sit with crossed legs and starving for three hours.

Luckily I had brought some left-over food with me, so by the time we arrived at Marbella, I decided to have some tapas. Some fake salami slices wrapped up in my garden lettuce with half a tomato. Yum.

I was busy concocting this rather neat little delicacy when I noticed a Bolivian woman standing by my seat. I’d moved into the window seat because the air-con was on and I had no shirt so my arms were getting cold. At least the sun through the window was warm.

‘Is this seat taken?

No. Well only by my bag. I moved it quickly.

‘No, no,’ she said. ‘Please finish your food.’

I’d been doing the time-old trick of trying to hog two seats by forcing people to ask you to move/wake up/move your bag/whatever. Guilty as charged.

At San Pedro she moved to another double empty seat. I don’t know why she picked me in the first place. There were other empty seats.

Anyway, I sat happily in the window seat until we got to Estepona. A middle-aged man got on. And decided to sit next to me. Shit! I should have gone back to the aisle seat. Oh well.

He deserved to pay for sitting next to me by providing information. ‘What’s happened to the bus station?’

We’d stopped at a new location with just a couple of bus stops. I was like the elephant’s child (kipling) and wanted to know.

The bus station had gone. It was crappy anyway and needed a revamp. But it was to be made into a kiddy park. What is with this obsession with kiddy parks? Either they should be playing football or faffing around on their computers. Why waste tax payers’ money on yet more asinine kiddy parks?

‘Where are you going? La Linea or Algeciras?’ La Linea, I replied.

‘Me too’. Well that’s great but if you think I’m talking to you all the way to La Linea you can think again. I looked out of the window. He fell asleep and then snored.

He cleverly woke up at La Linea. We chatted for a few more minutes and he invited me for a beer. Aww. That was nice. I declined, hopefully with some degree of grace. Apart from anything else he’d already rescued his dead cigarette out of his pocket desperate to light up once off the bus. And – I wanted to see my dog.

‘Well, if you decide to come, you know where I am,’ he said kindly, and let me off the bus before him, holding up everyone else. I sorted my passport and took the hike across the frontier, the runway, and a bus pulled up to take me home.

Top travel tips and prices

Tips

1. In my case I totally stuffed it up. DO NOT leave getting your bus ticket with a few minutes to spare. I ignored my own advice that I have given out frequently :D
2. At peak times, leave even more time, ie summer and weekends. I made a total FU by travelling Friday evening, I should have remembered this from before on Saturdays, but it was so long ago ….
3. ALWAYS have an alternative travel plan.
4. If you are a woman in your 40s or 50s and want to pick up a man, I recommend the direct bus between La Linea and Málaga. I joke not. I don’t know how it works for men.
5. Travel early. Eat and/or take something with you. Go to the toilet before the journey in case the one on the bus is locked, it frequently is. If there even is one.
6. Check out arrival times. Add some time on because it may well not arrive on time. Important if you doing a connection.
7. Check out where your bus is coming from – it may be delayed if it is coming from half-way across the country especially in bad weather. Rain delays everything in Spain.
8. If you wish to have two seats to yourself, sit in the aisle seat, don’t shower, have a drink, smell of cigarettes, eat something, and/or go to sleep and snore. You MUST look scruffy and intimidating. As ever, it’s easier for men than for women.
9. Do not trust anyone, and use max security for passports, cash and ID. But be polite, most people are actually nice. Just be aware.
10. Take something to cover your arms on the buses, the air-con is cold. Keep your luggage to a minimum, you don’t need to carry your baggage around with you.

That’s probably all you need to know in life and how to travel.

Prices

1. La Linea/Algecrias – €2.40 (usually every 45 mins, and same length of journey)
2. Algeciras/Málaga – €14.75 (takes around two hours)
3. La Linea/Málaga – €12.89 (three hours)
4. Málaga to my pueblo – €2.37
5. Two glasses of rioja plus tortilla – €4.70 (Algeciras)
6. San Miguel in Málaga – €1.40 (tap beer)
7. Bus home to Gib – nothing, free bus fare with Gib ID :)

Check portillo for the La Linea/Alge routes to Málaga.

And for the old Brits out there – White horses. I used to rush home from school to watch this. If you watch the vid, the singer, Jackie Lee, has actually taken the time to comment on the youtube post.

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67 comments on “Hop on the bus, Gus – in Spain

    • Como quieres. I’ve not seen any posts from you for a while. Good to hear you are still around.

      Mostly the extra buses were big city to big city eg Málaga, Granada, Córdoba, Sevilla but Algeciras did make that at one point. I was told I could chance an extra bus that may or may not happen or book the later one. I booked the later one.

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  1. Always liked that Bus, Gus song.
    Your trips always seem like they could be movies. Sometimes it’s sort of “I Love Lucy”-ish. This time it seems more art film-ish with dramatic lighting and clearly portrayed portraits of people. Maybe you should get one of those GoPro cameras and attache it to your head and become a film producer.
    (Oh, those big backpacks…must be summer. Traveling Spain always did seem safe.)
    Lazy Molly sends paw waves…it’s still to hot to take afternoon walk

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    • Yes, I did too. I often sing snippets of it. As does Partner who as ever, knows the words better than me. I like the way it starts off quite dreamily and then racks up a beat. I went off them at one point as I thought they were too ‘soft’ and popular, but I’ve gone back to liking them again, so the old Greatest Hits comes out now and again.

      I quite liked the silhouettes of the couples so yes, arty in this instance. That’s the way the light falls in the Algeciras bus station. A film set in making eh? They were all mobile photos hence the lack of clarity but they were good enough to create the impression which was what I wanted.

      Big backpacks yes. I couldn’t work out what nationality they were but certainly looked as though they were doing the Europe summer run. It was nice to look at them and know that I’d done that too. I do like travelling in Spain. Sure it helps knowing the language, but even when I only had a few words it was still pretty friendly and easy-going.

      Pippa smiles and returns the paw waves and quickly returns to the search for breakfast with a glare at me.

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  2. Just catching up aftet two days catching buses into, out of and around San Jose to sort out paperwork sabotaged by a notario….frequent, cheap, kind drivers and friendly passengers. I love them.
    The notario is another matter.

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    • How far is San José from your other place? Can’t be that far. I love the way passengers just start talking to anyone or even the aire. On the bus from my pueblo to Málaga, one man move seats to start talking to a total stranger and they merrilly chatted all the way into the city. People are also so non-discriminatory to non-Spanish speakers, ie me. They listen to my faulty Spanish and reply quite happily, chattering away about whatever. I don’t remember buses full of pleasant talk in the UK. You get it in Gib though.

      Notario? I wonder if it has any connection with the word notorious?

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      • Fellow passengers are very chatty and very patient with my Spanish…they are my best teachers I think.
        I find when visiting my mother in Southampton people are chatty…but the journeys are somewhat shorter.
        It’s just an hour by bus into San Jose….but the notorious made sure I had to do it twice…not to speak of shuttling between offices.
        My regular lawyer is looking after her mother…so not available at short notice….the back up lawyer is down with a ‘flu, so I used one who’d been recommended to me ages back.

        What a crook!

        All is sorted…I have my papers, she does not have my money…but my feet are quite sore hammering the pavements between bus stops and offices.

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        • Bus passengers really are great aren’t they? Can you imagine people being bothered with a Spaniard trying to speak English on a bus in the UK? My best teachers were my neighbours, the television (mainly the news and soaps), and my linguaphone tapes. I highly recommend linguaphone for any language (I have the portuguese tapes too – I just don’t have something to listen to them on as Partner decided to throw out the walkman because it wasn’t working well).

          I did chat to some people I knew on the bus in my mum’s village, and Partner talked to the bus driver on a long journey to Leeds, but people don’t normally talk to strangers, in my experience, that’s the main difference. And there is no concept of social class on Spanish buses. That’s what Ilike.

          Most English-people I know who live in Spain despise the bus and can’t wait to buy a car so they don’t have to mix with the lower echelons. Nor do they offer lifts once they have that car, they will wave at you and drive merrily past, while our Spanish neighbours invariably stop and ask if we want a lift. Sometimes we want the walk, but at others the offer is appreciated and taken up. Only ever had one lift from an English family.

          Pleased to hear you have your papers. Perhaps even more pleased the notorious does not have your dosh. Feet up, or in a bowl of warm water perhaps?

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          • The American immigrants here don’t use the bus either….you can see them edging away from you when you mention a bus ride – saying such a thing puts you down with what the said immigrants tend to refer to as ‘the natives’.

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          • Ha! Exactly. The Brits (most of them) look at you quizzically. A rare species who gets the bus? You can see the question on their forehead – what’s wrong with you? Are you poor/ Mind you, some of the Spanish/american latinos are car obsessed too. They get it when they have to and then jump back into their box on wheels.

            One wouldn’t want to be lumped with natives would one? Non WASPs and all that. Do they really call Costa Ricans natives? :(

            For my part, I always feel I’m getting somewhere when people speak to me in Spanish not English, and assume I am local not on holiday. Says to me I haven’t wasted my time. And if the natives are happy to talk to me, so much the better.

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  3. On the (subject of) buses…..

    O Civile, si ergo, fortibus es in ero.
    O Nobile, deus trux. Vadis enim, causen dux

    and

    Caesar ad sum iam forte,
    Brutus et erat,
    Caesar sic in omnibus,
    Brutus sic in at

    best wishes,

    Reg Varney

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  4. I like the way, even when life and buses happen, or not, while you’re busy making other plans, you make it part of an enjoyable journey. I’m not sure about in the middle of summer and tourist season but a few peaceful hours on a bus sounds great. Actually, I’d prefer a train, at least here in Australia, as the Greyhound buses are an adventure of the worst kind, I believe.
    Interesting that the white horse was waiting for his rider. As far as I know, in Australia, drink driving laws apply to being in charge of a horse as well. It looked like a nice horse. I’d also have given him, the horse, a pat.
    To tips… I like #3… always have another plan :)

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    • These days I don’t even bother reading while waiting for a bus, or even when I’m on one. It’s just as easy to sit, wait, watch, think. There’s a Yorkshire saying that I can’t remember correctly, on the lines of ‘Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.’

      I did both in Aus, at the time I was more into trains but the buses were perfectly fine. What I don’t recommend is doing buses overnight. I had to do that in NZ because the bus was full and it was so uncomfortable. Buses in Spain are very good and very cheap. They reach more places than the train because of the mountaineous terrain.

      I had a friend in the UK who got told off for being drunk on his bike but no action was taken against him. In Spain they’ve only recently tightened up on drink driving ie treating it as a serious crime. Before it was often just a pat on the back and a warning, although we have a neighbour who often disappears for a while, presumably to jail, after he has been caught yet again. Nice bloke, drives down the old railway track to the bar and then back home. Hardly touches the public highway. Often leaves his keys in the car while he is in the bar. I pity the person who would even think of touching his car, he’s part of an extremely influential family (and I don’t mean in the good sense). Anyway, I doubt the law has even considered drunk in charge of a horse. Or even a pair of draught oxen and we’ve seen that too.

      When I was younger I made the most methodical plans and expected them to work out. They invariably did. With old age comes more flexibility and an acceptance that whatever happens the glass is still half full and not half empty.

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  5. While I was reading through this I was thinking, hmm, get a new plan, Sam, but then I got to your top tips and you covered it in point 3.
    Public transport anywhere ain’t what it used to be.

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    • Just discovered about four of your comments in the spam obv when you were trying to sort out your comp with the techy person! I added this one because I liked the comment about public transport. Probably on the decline after Beeching.

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    • O lordy, now I really do look like a spammer! Thank you for weeding me out of your spam box – I think it has (hopefully) unlocked the problem. Nothing to do with the computer but at least it made me give it a jolly good overhaul!

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      • I figured best not to publish all the other posts! Just wanted to let you know that all your trial comments from the shop did work, my fault for not checking my spam sooner. Glad to hear you are all OK again.

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    • I was thinking of the tips as principles, but figured top travel tips was a bit more basic. Don’t be coy, Roy, probably applies to tip number four.

      For some reason , when I hear this song, I hear him singing the travelling is all inside your head, rather than the problem is inside your head. Either way, it’s all in your head.

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  6. You weren’t really leaving your lover, were you? :? I’ve read your post through three times, and still am not quite sure why you were going to Malaga. Did I miss something. It sounds like a really exhausting day. :)

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    • Well only temporarily. I did think that when I listened to the song. Although if I ever did, I probably would slip out the back (Jack), hop on the bus (Gus), and I’d make a new plan (Stan). And I’m too old to be coy (Roy).

      I’ve got a finca the other side of Málaga, which is why some of my posts are about Spain and some about Gib. (See strapline to blog about life in Gib and Spain). We go back regularly to check it out, sort the garden, feed the chickens, pick up the post and chill out. When he works, I have to go back on my own on the bus. Does that help?

      The journey up was somewhat tiring. I stayed five or six days and the journey back was much easier. You can’t do a return journey in a day on the bus.

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  7. I did not need the video. You gave me one earworm at the start of the post, replaced by another currently playing.

    Just in case you would like more blogging chums, Bumba stories is good value. He loves buses, and bus conversations.

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    • You gave me a new word. Never heard earworm before although goodness knows there are enough of them. A new post? Top ten earworms?

      I like to add music occasionally. It’s good to listen to it on other sites sometimes, I heard an excellent song yesterday that I didn’t know (Judy Collins) and listened to a number of times. Hey, there could be someone out there who doesn’t know S&G.

      Bumba? I’ll look him up. Anything bus-related must be interesting to someone like me. Ta Clare.

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  8. #5 was worth every damn cent…errr…penny, whatever.
    Nothing worse than waiting if you don’t have (a) someone to talk with (which you did) or (b) a good book to get lost in. I’m presently reading “Reality is Broken,” by Jane McGonigal. It will spawn at least one blog post if I ever get time.
    Interesting adventure, though, and in the end it was not as bad as it could have been. Too bad, though, about the crappy bus policies. Not much better over here, I’m afraid. We are falling victim to the “Everyone Drives Their Own Vehicle” mentality. Me–I LOVE public transportation when it works like it does in other Canadian cities like Montreal.

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    • I think you are spending a penny? Yes? (Old fashioned term in English for going to the toilet because public ones used to cost a penny – dread to think what they cost nowadays, I think it is 50p or a quid in gib!!). Cent would actually apply though as it is centimos in Spain with the euro.

      My waiting tolerance has gone up hugely over the years. As a kid, I couldn’t bear waiting for the bus, and would time it down to the last minute to arrive at the bus stop. Life changed when I went to India. I learned how to wait.

      I used to read when waiting, or do a sudoku from a free paper, but now, I can just sit and wait. Old age eh? Your book sounds a bit serious, I’ve got a load of book reviews to add too.

      Spain went through a (rich) phase of revamping lots of bus stations and I was fully expecting Estepona to get a new one, instead it gets scrapped :( I like bus stations. The timetables for buses are illogical. In some places (eg the Canaries) you get buses first thing in the morning, lunchtime and evening. I can understand that. But the ones from La Linea go at 8.50, 10.30, 16.30 and 19.00. Crazy. No sense to that at all. Coming back there is one at 11.00 and one at 11.30. Then nothing until 14.00. They are obviously scheduled to fit in with something but certainly not passengers :D

      Having moaned about that though, Spain does have good bus services. I think it dates from the days when hardly anyone had a car and if they didn’t use the bus they rode their donkey. Interestingly as there is less money around, more people are on their bikes again, and motos too. Although we have far too many vehicles (three Land Rovers), we only use one for essentials – going back to the finca together and taking the dog (can’t do that on the bus), and loading up with shopping when he is working. Otherwise, it’s walk, cycle, bus.

      Public transport has an unfair and undeserved bad reputation. People should use it more than they do. I think your environment and population makes it difficult but here in Gib it’s easy to use. There are limited services to villages in the mountains in Spain but they still exist, you just need to fit your journeys around them. Not everyone can do that in today’s society.

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      • My Irish-born mom always used that phrase! I’d totally forgotten it. Thank you for awakening so many fond memories!

        You are correct about the population density here being a big factor on why the buses are not so popular. Even in the city, though, Metrobus is not nearly as good as it could be and it’s not the fault of the municipal government; the system is well maintained and managed. The problem is that not enough people opt to use it owing to that “I must use my own car” mentality. Consider my case: family of six and one vehicle. I spend a lot of time taxiing people here and there for work and university and would dearly love to put most of that back on public transit. My office at Memorial (where three of my kids also attend) is about 10 minutes away by car (on a low-traffic run; it’s usually more like 15-20 minutes in traffic) but the bus run would be about 1:40! If I caught the 7:30 am bus at the end of my street I’d get there at 9:10, 40 minutes late! The bus is geared up for the few shoppers, not work-commuters. Madness! So, instead we all commute. Wife: 8:00am, me:8:30. Three boys, in with me during the academic terms (which is how it should be–otherwise they’d be in bed until the last minute). All of this is punctuated by runs out here and there to drop any of the three to their part-time jobs, as needed. It should not be that way! That sort of stuff is why we have metro bus in the first place!

        Going to get another vehicle in the fall… Oh, and the big cost is not paying for the thing; it’s keeping it insured and running. Presently with me and OH on the van it’s about $1100 per year for insurance and about $5500 per year for gas. If I put the lads on the thing for insurance it jumps to about $2500/y and the gas, well, …lord save us!

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        • Back when I was a kid, it was a polite phrase, because you couldn’t possibly talk about anything as graphic as going to the toilet.

          There is such snobbery around buses. And so many pre-conceptions. Or mis-conceptions. Everyone who uses them is either a raving lefty (true in my case), or dirty, smelly, poor and not to be mixed with. Not true at all.

          Car is about status. Personal space. Freedom. etc etc. Recently we had a new road made in Gib. It’s clear that planners don’t walk or bus because the obvious thing to do was add a couple of zebras at appropriate places. Months later they did.

          When I started work, I didn’t have a licence so got two buses to work. And walked to all my interviews. No hardship. Later with car, (when I put on weight although probably still borderline BMI skinny), I used to give a colleague a lift. Slightly out of the way but not much. I lost patience when she started telling me what time to pick her up because she’d washed her hair and wanted to dry it at the office and blah blah yawn.

          In my last job I had a lease car for work, but chucked it. Apart from the fact that sciatica made driving difficult, I was doing less mileage for work, preferred public transport and the bus was a hell of sight cheaper than the lease car cost per month.
          ‘You’ll never last’ said my secretary sagely. She was wrong. I bought a big coat and some boots and waited happily at the bus stop in snow and rain. Some colleague offered me lifts. Others drove past with their noses in the air.

          Cities are easy, although depending on where you want to go, it can take a long time and connections, but in the country? Difficult. The Canaries had it right. Buses in the morning for work, lunchtime to go home, and then later back to work, and another bus in the evening. If buses were built around commuters would more people use them? Doubt that.

          That insurance is wicked. Thought ours was dear. Our Landy is £400-500, and that is fully comp and commercial. Insured for both of us. We probably spend around £500 a year on diesel. We do low mileage, and only run one vehicle at a time so only one lot of insurance. The other two are off the road.

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          • Yes, insurance is wicked and it’s due primarily to two factors:
            1-people scamming it. Want a new paint job? just vandalize your own vehicle. Etc.
            2-the crazy insurance economics. A fool in a truck passed me a few months ago going way to fast. Flicked a big rock at the windshield and I had to replace it. At the glass place I asked how much the insurance would be paying: $650. I then asked what it would be if I came in without insurance and was willing to pay cash: $400!!! Insurance companies don’t really make $$$ on the premiums directly; those are carefully collected to be 100% payouts. Instead they make money from holding our money for short periods so if the premiums are high it’s because we, collectively, are using it up. Hmmm–I bet, though, that insurance companies invest heavily in companies like that auto-glass outfit and such, eh? A nice profitable vertically-integrated market for sure.

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          • Never thought of that for a paint job, but that’s probably because Partner is a professional paint-sprayer so not an issue for us.

            We got some new glass a couple of years ago. €350 more or less. I dislike insurance at the best of times. If it wasn’t compulsory I wouldn’t have it.

            You sound like my MBA course with your vertical integration :D

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  9. I’m so sorry that I have not been in touch iwth you. Lots happening. I’ve only read part of your post and It is quite interesting. I’ll need to return when I feel better. I have wondered if I had missed some posts. Please see my reply to you over on/in my blog.

    Regards,
    yvonne

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    • Thanks Y. Don’t worry about readiing/replying, look after yourself. I’ve read and replied on yours.

      I doubt you have missed anything. I’m on my ‘summer hours’ schedule which basically means I’m unpredictable. Very bad blogging technique apparently but who cares? Basically means I post less and sporadically but I do try and keep up with comments on selected blogs, although it is often a splurge all at once. Chin up.

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  10. I felt like I was with you on that journey, your description was wonderful :-)
    I smiled at your ‘travelling companions’ I usually end up with someone similar, even on a short journey. I must remember your isle seat tip.
    What a lovely sight the horse must have been……worlds apart from my town, where I certainly wouldn’t want to walk at that late hour.
    The tunes? Not much else can I say about Paul Simon except fabulous!! I love his music.
    I vaguely remember the TV program, but probably a bit old for it ad I’d have been seventeen then.
    Champion the wonder Horse was my love :-)

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    • A long post, but there again, it was a long journey. Thanks. The TCs make the journey more of an adventure though don’t they? I still think it was sweet of the man to invite me for a drink but a session in the bar couldn’t compete with wanting to get home to Pippa.

      The horse was beautiful. I fell in love with him instantly. He was so quiet and gentle. There are so many horses around where we live, they are part of the scenery but I can’t resist saying hello to them. I wonder if non-English speaking people talk to/stroke strange animals? It’s usually Brits I notice doing it.

      As I said above, I went off S&G at one point thinking they were a bit soppy, but with comes .. well, something, and I realise that their music was rather better composed than I’d originally realised. I love the rhythmic intro to that one as well.

      How do you mean old for it?! I used to come home from work as a journalist and throw myself in front of the TV to watch captain Pugwash. Still watch some of the youtube clips now. A does a mean imitation of captain P shivering his timbers or whatever he used to say.

      Champion was beautiful. I loved Mr Ed the talking horse too. I’m sure I put him in my scrapbook (full of animal pix ….)

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  11. I’ve never really done long distance bus journeys, always seemed easier to take the train. I’ve criss crossed Europe many times on trains during years of business travel; never wanted to hire a car as you had the hassle of trying to find where you were going and then the hassle of parking it when you got there. Internet and GPS has somewhat changed that though.

    One time when I drove to work, I used to drive past the bus stop a colleague used to get to work. If she had missed her bus and I saw her there, I’d give her a lift in and she’d actually get into work before she would if she’d got the bus. We couldn’t make it a formal arrangement though as I didn’t go into work everyday and was often away for weeks at a time busy criss crossing Europe on trains.

    Buses are really good in London now, much cleaner and more frequent than they used to be. You can also plan your journey over the Internet so you know exactly where you need to get off even if you haven’t been there before.

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    • I used train in the past too. My trip around Europe on interrail and most european travel generally. But Spain isn’t suited to trains. I wouldn’t use the bus for long journeys but two or three hours is easy enough.

      I used to get the bus in London quite a lot. Usually down/up Regent St, or on my way to work after I left the tube station. They were pretty clean and tidy then. Double deckers with a conductor/tress.

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  12. Good and clean London buses are more as a result of the law of unintended consequences than anything else. Ken Livingstone brought in rather badly worded regulations around the control of diesel emissions from lorries, but when they came into effect it was found that they did apply to buses as well, with the result almost the entire fleet has been replaced with new ones.

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    • Whatever your view of politics and ken, I don’t think he had bad ideas for London.

      His idea of getting people out of vehicles and onto public transport wasn’t wrong. The way he went about it was. He probably didn’t know enough about vehicles – or people.

      I won’t get into the ‘let’s scrap a perfectly functioning vehicle because it’s old’ argument on here, because we’ve discussed those issues on Clouds.

      Whereupon I shall do exactly that. We had a couple of inner London jobs. Class work, really enjoyed it. Took Land Rover in to drop off tools and equipment, used tube/train for rest of job, picked up at the end of it. No pollution, minimum personal vehicle use.

      The ideal is to get personal commuters to use public transport, and to get workers to take their tools to the job to start and complete and use pt inbetween. And for the bloody schoolkids to use pt too. But that’s just my view.

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  13. I do enjoy reading about your adventures. They are so far removed from the way I live. There is no public transit here and I haven’t been on a bus ride for years. My traveling tales, if I took the time to recount them would be focused on traveling by ferry.

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    • I probably write about the bus from to time to remind people that it works, it is cheap, it is sound, and it is a good way to travel.

      You meet people, it is a relaxing way to travel and it doesnt involve one person jumping in a car to drive 200 kms.

      OK, so I had to wait. But, at the end of the day, I had a good journey, had chance to get a decent tapa, and arrived home safely. Can’t ask for more.

      I am a huge advocate for public transport. It makes such a difference to our environment. I can’t call myself environmental if I jump in a car every five minutes when there is an alternative.

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  14. Hey,, i never thought I could enjoy a story about a bus ride,, a few added twists it could be a Hitchcock thriller… smiling.. I loved this very much, I was looking at the Google map of the Gib and waters, mostly because I had watched the recent Gib program,,and wondered,, could you have taken a ferry of sorts,, or I presume that there was not a ferry.. but the reason I looked as I say the program covered mostly the fishing waters and the Spanish ignoring the rules. You know this because of the post you wrote anyway. But the program actually brought it home a little more because they followed police launches and the capturing of Spanish fishermen. Also a rather poor painter called Queenie’, she was asked to paint a couple of chihuahua’s of the only mortician on the island. He dresses them up in clothes, mostly pink, I will not say my thoughts on this. Anyway the paintings were crap, and the mortician thought so to. How she got a reputation as a good painter is beyond belief. [hoping you do not know her, if so I apologise,,heehee!] And again the program followed the Ape controller. But the best bit was the local band called the ‘Noize’ playing the first ever open concert starring Jessie J..
    I will stop now do not want to bore you,,, lovely post thank you as always.. I will work what to call you one day.. for the moment lets say ‘K’ as it appears on your pictures.

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    • I like to think I am the world’s expert on buses :D The truth is, I do enjoy it. Total adventure. Meeting strangers, a fleeting conversation, and off elsewhere. Sit on the bus and watch the world go by. Mmmmm.

      There are other bus tales kicking around on here. I should probably have added the links. I’ll do it for the next bus trip tale.

      Bus faster. Only ferry to Spain was across the bay to Algeciras but was stopped because it was unprofitable. Also one to Morocco at weekends.

      Thanks for the update on the Gib progs. I’m surprised they covered the fishing dispute, from previous accounts it had sounded quite light but the fishing issue is serious.

      Never heard of queenie, you will be pleased to hear, so no worries there. Not into dressing dogs up either, apart from a raincoat for Pippa when it chucks it down in winter.

      We live just down from a rock place (as in music not geology). We often get free music :)

      Thanks Gerry. You can call me what you want. I get Rough, Roughseas, Ms Gib, and probably other names that I’m not aware of. And ms by Lady BB ( a moody blues reference). Anything goes apart from Mrs.

      I never thought about the © so you can call me K if you want. Others do that too.

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      • Thanks for this, I did think ‘Rough’ but I wondered,, if you see my point,, smiling..I was just trying to seek a name that was nice and original,,,, so from now on then ‘K’ it is.. I was aware of MS,, something good with meaning… this story the more I think the more I like and hope you do more in the future,, silly expression that really,, ‘cos you ain’t gonna do it in the past are ya’ but a story comes to mind in reference to buses, more a depot for me. Our depot in Lymington where many a cold night was spent, giving the local travellers a free gig.. friends and I spent so much time in our teens, and crashing out on the back of buses. This depot is now being sold for development. No doubt rich peoples flats.. I had put a reminder to do a post about it, Infact my friend who now lives in Seattle emailed me about doing one in remembrance,,, so you ‘K’ you have inspired me,, one for the FUTURE… Thanks.. ;)

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        • i did comment when the one blogger called me ‘Rough’ the first time and said that some people might take it the wrong way. I won’t bother saying what images it brings to mind, you can probably guess.

          K is usually for people who email me, but you are welcome to join the K (KK?, no I think not). MS is nice, it’s just a personal thing with a lovely blogger who you know better than me.

          Travel tales appear as and when. I wrote this one up because it took Sooooo long to get home because of just missing a bus at every bus station. And then when I walked home up the street, everything was fine. At 11.30pm.

          I used to sleep on the back seats a lot when I did this run before, but these days, I tend to sit opposite the door so I can jump out FIRST. Plus, back seat journeys weren’t improved when a woman said she didn’t like bus travel and vomited all over the floor. I haven’t written that one up. Or maybe I have.

          Looking forward to your bus tale/s. When you sort out your blogs eh?

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  15. I’m glad Ad asked the question. I had an inkling but got lost in the detail (not hard to do)
    I really only stopped by to ask if you’d been to Morocco, and what you thought of it, following the ode to them on the previous post. I think I’d get less bemused in your Everypic blog :)

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    • Hatiha Jo. That’s why I have lots of blogs. Take your pick. Or pic.

      I’ve written about Morocco today over on Clouds. Strange coincidence. Tanger, Rabat, Casablanca. Is where I went.

      Liked Tanger, stories about that. Rabat was good too. Could buy a drink! Casablanca was soulless.

      Worth a trip? Yes.

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        • Well that comment must have imprinted itself on my mind. I ended up dreaming about writing a blog post – especially for you – about Morocco! I better get on with it at some point. I’ll put it on everypic if that makes it easier for you ;)

          I visit a private blog called ‘After hours at Rick’s’. The theme is black and white and there is a picture of Bogey at the top. I think it is so clever, I admire it every time I read it.

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          • Oh no- I’m giving somebody nightmares now!
            Yes please, and I don’t mind where you put it.
            A private blog sounds intriguing. I want to go there, of course. :)

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          • No, it was OK, it was just working and writing while I was asleep and thinking of a photo for it!

            I thought you would. I would have done too :D

            It’s a bit of an élite circle so I don’t know how I weasled my way in. He’s a good writer though and I enjoy his posts (how annoying am I?). But there are no photos, and he can write long posts, so maybe it wouldn’t be your thing?

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          • It’s fairly serious with a few book/film reviews chucked in.

            I don’t like galleries! My brain starts to shut down faced with 100 pix. OK, maybe it isn’t even open anyway.

            I’ve not gone. I’m replying to comments on Clouds.

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