Public transport is a fun way to see a town or a country.
John and I decided we no longer wanted to drive a car in Europe. It was a big decision at the time. It was an admission we were getting old. We wondered if we’d see enough, experience as much, feel free to move. We needn’t have worried.
Travelling on public transport leaves us both free to look at everything we pass instead of concentrating on the road. It means no more navigation woes. There are no more negotiations about whose turn it is to drive.
Public transport has been easy to use. Buying bus and train tickets in another language is nowhere as daunting as it might appear. It helps if you have a go at asking for what you want in the local language.It’s not essential. But if you try, people seem to go out of their way to help.
Public transport is inexpensive. We like to travel like locals rather than tourists. We use concession fares when available.
Not having a car means we don’t have to find parking, especially in cities. We’re also more inclined to stay one place for a few days. Travel becomes more leisurely when there’s no compulsion to go as far, or see as much as possible. There’s time to absorb the sights and sounds and odours of a new place.
Without a car, we’ve had some amazing adventures that usually involved our first getting lost. Then we enjoy whatever happens until we are ‘unlost’.
When we’re away we often hop on a local bus to … anywhere, really. When we are tired of walking, a bus is a good place to sit and rest. Ferries, too, provide respite for tired legs. Both provide the option of hopping off as the mood takes us. There’s usually somewhere for coffee at a terminus. Often there’s another route for the return journey.
Public transport provides a good way to see parts of the city tourists don’t usually frequent. It helps to place a glossy, romantic city centre in a context of lives lived in the suburbs.
We don’t always hire cars in Australia now, either. Public transport works well here, too.
Possible adventures on public transport on our next holiday to Melbourne
- A train to Bendigo for the day
- A train to Ballarat another day
- A train to Geelong
- A bus to the Dandenongs and then a ride on Puffing Billy
- A bus to explore the Mornington Peninsular and Phillip Bay.
We should have more sense, at our age!