For the past week I have been on Spain, visiting Barcelona and Lloret de Mar. Getting to Spain is usually a breeze. I say usually because my journey did not go so smoothly. Here are some travel tips that hopefully you will use so that you avoid the mistake I made.
- from Paris to Barcelona direct
- Buy your train ticket in advance to save money
- Travel first class or second class. I recommend first as it isn’t that much more expensive
- You will likely be required to get a reserved seat which is included in the cost of single tickets (vs. passes)
- When you arrive at the station check the board for departures and locate your train and what platform (voie) your train will be on
- When you go to your platform don’t forget there are trains on your left and right. Be sure to get on the right train
- Your ticket will indicate the coach/car and seat. I was so focused on getting into the correct (first class) car and found my seat, number 91.
- As the train started leaving on time, the announcer listed the towns. Hmmmm, Perpignan was listed and it is on the way to Barcelona. I asked another passenger if this was the train going to Barcelona. She said yes.
- As time went on I started getting worried. Something didn’t feel right. I got up to check if I was in car number 11. No I wasn’t. Maybe I was just in the wrong car. I walked through the train and discovered there were only 8 cars. No car number 11!
Yes that’s correct. I got on the wrong train and spoke to the conductor who said I should get off at the next stop in Nimes. Here’s the good news: there was a direct train to Barcelona but it would not be leaving for another 5 hours. Here’s the bad news: I would have to buy another ticket ($175) and it would have to be in first class as second class was sold out. There was nothing else I could do.
As I sat in the train station whittling away my time I realized there are a lot worse things that could have happened to me and that I am exceptionally fortunate to be able to travel and afford to make mistakes while travelling.