I’m back! The past few weeks there have been appearing posts on Monday, but no weekly diaries. I’ve been on a holiday to Albufeira! A while ago I posted that I was going there by train on my own (my friends went by plane) and now that I’m back it’s time to share my experiences! This week I’ll share my outward journey to Albufeira with you. Next week I will share the return. So, how has the outward journey been?
Ditching the plane
About a year ago I calculated my impact over the past year (2017/2018). My score was worse than I expected. If everybody lived like me, we’d have a big problem. It was clear that there was one big problem: flying. And since there is no way to fly sustainable and I do want to save the world, I decided to ditch the plane. The first holiday that was a fail, my dad booked a flight. But now I was going on a holiday with friends and I had all the power myself (gheghe!). I told my friends straight away: I am not flying there. I asked if anyone wanted to come with me on this adventure by train, but they wouldn’t. So, it was an adventure all by myself. Personal growth! Because gosh, this was an amazing experience.
The outward journey
Enschede to Haarlem
My journey started at the 29th of July, a Monday. The first part of my journey was starting in Amsterdam at 7:15. I live in Enschede and so there’s no way I could get in Amsterdam in time because it’s about 2,5 hours from Enschede to Amsterdam and the first train leaves at 6 am in Enschede. I have family living in Haarlem (about 20 minutes from Amsterdam) and so my grandparents and I went to Haarlem a day before my journey. Great, I got to spend some family time! We slept in Haarlem and the next day my journey would start.
Haarlem to Amsterdam
Tuesday the 30th of July, time to head off to Albufeira! Today my grandad brought me to the station at 6:30 am. Very sweet! But also very early. However, 6:30 is okay to me. Once at the station my train to Amsterdam was cancelled. Great! This journey hasn’t even started yet and it’s about to be terrible (my thoughts at the time). Luckily, there was another train going to Amsterdam and I was in Amsterdam at 7 am. The trip from Haarlem cost me 2,70 euros. Once there I had to wait for about 15 minutes till the Thalys came, I was going to Paris!
Amsterdam to Paris
I love the Thalys. You have a reserved place, electricity and a lot of room. Amazing! It took about 3 hours to get to Paris so that’s a piece of cake. The view is okay, it’s mostly The Netherlands and Belgium so I’ve seen that plenty of times. We had a little problem on our way unfortunately but after 20 minutes of delay we could continue our jouad a transit of 2 hours in Paris so the delay was fine! The trip to Paris cost me 35 euros. Once in Paris I bought a single ticket for the metro. I knew from Seat 61, the train bible, that I had to get M4 to Mairie the Montrouge. It was not busy and a ticket is 1,90 euros, very cheap. I had to get into Metro line 4 to Paris Montparnasse. It was about 20 minutes with the metro. I think the metro in Paris is very easy. The signs are very clear! From the metro station Paris Montparnasse I had to walk about 700m to the train station Montparnasse. This was also very easy in my opinion, but the fact that I has 1,5 hours to transit helped with that. Once there I went to the bathroom and waited until the platform I had to be at appeared on the screen. About 15 minutes before it did and I was going to Hendaye!
Paris to Hendaye
I went into the TGV. This is a high-speed train which travels from Paris to the border of France (Hendaye) in about 5,5 hours. Amazing! When I checked the screen we were traveling 316 km/h, so cool! This trip cost me 49 euros. The TGV is very relaxed as well. I had a reserved place, electricity and a window seat! I have to say that the view was not that great in France. It was a boring view, very arid. I entertained myself with Netflix, a book and Sudoku’s.
Hendaye to Lisbon
Once in Hendaye I had to wait an hour for the next train. This hour was fine, you don’t need that much transit time since the station is small. In contradiction to Paris, where I really needed the two hours. I ate some dinner while waiting and then the train appeared. I was going to Lisbon! This was a night train and so I had a bed! Yes! I booked a bed in a four-person cabin. All the cabins are one-gender, so I had a female-only cabin. Maybe not that LBGTQ-friendly. But for me it felt nice and safe knowing that there were only females. I shared the cabin with a Canadian woman at first, but after a while she switched. She went to another cabin with her boyfriend and a small family came in with me (it’s a long story). They were really friendly! I was anxious, was I going to sleep in this train? I did! Very well actually. I slept from 10 till 7 am. I woke up quite a bit of times, when we stopped or I had to go to the bathroom, but that was fine. I loved that I could sleep, because spending a night traveling without a bed is my worst nightmare. I had electricity, a bed and a great view! This is honestly the best part of the whole journey when it comes to the view, but I slept for the most part (because well, I love sleep). That is a bummer really. This trip to Lisbon cost me 38,20 euros. So cheap!
Lisbon to Albufeira
Once in Lisbon at 7 am I waited two hours for my last train to Albufeira. I ate some breakfast while I waited. All the food I ate on my journey is food I took with me. This way I saved a lot of money and waste too! The last part to Albufeira was 2,5 hours. This view here was very arid as well, but it was okay. As I said, I had Netflix and a good book. The last part cost me 16,50 euros.
At 11 am I arrived in Albufeira! Woohoo! I was so exited. I was quite nervous for it but it all went so smoothly! Once in Albufeira the pressure to make transits was off and so I took a bus to the Albufeira city centre. From there on I took another local bus to our appartement. I always love local buses, you see the city in a different way I think. Traveling with the locals, ahh. I was in our appartement at 1 pm! This last part by bus only cost me 1,40 euros! It felt good to be there so early. I had an extra day of holiday, since my friend were flying late and so were there at 11 pm. I did some groceries and enjoyed the sun already that day!
I loved the outward journey! But I think I love it because I see it as an adventure. Most people see traveling as just a way to get to their destination, as fast as possible. I think of it as a way of transportation, but as an adventure too. I loved seeing new places, discovering new things and just relaxing. It was amazing to me, sitting in the train. Seeing the landscape change, the climate, everything. The most special part for me was in the night train, lying in my bed watching the sunset. Ahhh. That was good! Even though I loved the journey, I think it would have been even better with someone else. Sharing experience is even more special I think. But I can only find out by doing that, so maybe next year! Overall conclusion: I don’t want to fly ever again! This was a 30-hours adventure!
This trip cost me 142,80. I think my friends paid 330 euros for their flight to Albufeira and back to that means a one-way ticket was 165. So, the train was cheaper!
I also made a Youtube video of this outward journey, which you can watch here! It is in Dutch.
Next week I will share my return with you!