Monday, July 28, 2014

A Tale of Two Metros


I do not like the Barcelona metro.
Flickr Credit: VivirElTren.es

Actually, if we are completely honest, I do not like the metro in general. My dad thought it was cool that there was cheap public transportation available to the people, but I mostly felt train-sick and felt proximity-swiped as more and more people crammed in.

But the Barcelona metro was worse.

Before going on either, though, it would have been nice to know a few simple things about them. Therefore, wary travelers, if you ever decide to get on a Spanish metro, keep these things in mind.

Madrid Metro
Barcelona Metro
  • The Platforms Are Open—if you realize that the platform you’re on will take you in the wrong direction, you can go up an escalator and through a hall to come back down and get to the other side, quickly and easily.
  • There Is a Wall—you generally only see one set of tracks, and if you realize you’re in the same place you may actually have to go outside again to find the right platform (which could cost you a couple of Euros)
  • Crowded, but manageable—there are lots of people, always, but there are usually enough cars and frequent enough trains to give you a little elbow room.
  • Sardines—with the exception of early morning, when most Spaniards aren’t out and about yet, the metro is cram-packed, and sometimes morning isn’t even a guarantee. It is terrible.
  • One Pole—if you hold onto a pole, there will be one pole that other people may hold onto as well.
  • Pronged Poles—sometimes there would be two or three bars on a pole so that more people could hold on, or you could have extra space, which was nice.
  • Beep—when the doors are about to close, there is a single, loud beep. It’s okay.
  • Death Noise—when the doors are about to close the doors go BLUR BLUR BLUR BLUR and you have to hold on for dear life because that was terrifying. Or at least it was the first time. It was always annoying, though.
  • Street Musicians—sometimes there would be musicians who would play and their songs would echo through the halls. Some were good, and some were bad.
  • Street Musicians—there were also street musicians, and they were about the same as Madrid.
  • Occasional Air Conditioning—air conditioning doesn’t really seem a thing there, and the metro is hot. Sometimes you would step onto a cool train, but other times you’d just have to boil in your sweat.
  • Less Occasional Air Conditioning—there was maybe one train with air conditioning, and zero platforms. It was almost always hot and stuffy.
  • Smells Funny—sometimes like poop, and other times like cigarettes. If Febreeze is as great as they say they are, then they could make a great partnership with the Spanish metro.
  • Smells Funny—more like poop than cigarettes.
  • Dual Escalators—if there was an up escalator, there would be a down escalator. It was nice.
  • One-Sided Escalators—usually the escalators just went down.
  • Quiet—almost no one talked or looked around while we were on the metro; usually they were occupied with a phone, Kindle, book, or regular paper and pen.
  • Loud—there’s very little individual time on the Barce metro, mostly everyone is looking around and talking during the ride.
  • Smooth Transitions—newcomers wait for people to exit before getting on the train.
  • Rough Transitions—you scramble for an open space in the door, and try to get a good spot before all the other people do.
  • Sort Of Clean—the Clean Fairy hasn’t been around, but it’s for the most part bright and generally good looking.
  • Sort Of Not Clean—it’s darker and dirtier, and the design is rougher, which gives it a yuckier feel.

All things considered, I know that Madrid is less a crash site for tourists and more a grand compilation of business, politics, history, and people whereas Barcelona is where introverts go to die, and I think the metros represent that.

It was an interesting experience, not one I’m eager to try again, but it will remain very much linked with all my memories of Spain.

2 comments :

  1. This update made me laugh so hard. XD My previously nonexistent desire to go to Barcelona has been weakened even further.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. XD Well, I meant every word of it! But I'm sure Barcelona has some great aspects. I just didn't find any. ;)

      Delete

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