My ultimate public transportation fail & what I learned from it

Up until I set off for my second Workaway, I thought I had it down pact when it came to public transportation. I made my way through Denmark, Amsterdam and Madrid with little to no issues. So why would traveling down to Southern Spain be any different? Well, a lot. That’s the answer I discovered the hard way.

It all started the morning I was leaving Madrid. The plan was to take a train from Madrid to Cadiz, and then a bus from Cadiz to Conil. Seems fairly simple, right?

I arrived at the Madrid Atocha train station 25 minutes before my departure time. I was sweating like a hostage from carrying my 2 backpacks and a bag of bruising bananas. Once I saw my train’s platform number pop up on the board with 15 minutes to spare, I was off. Within 13 of those minutes, I found my platform at a two-story train station, went through security baggage check, got out of line to print out my ticket due to the eTicket not scanning, and then re-enter the security line.

To my luck, I arrived to my platform to see my train still sitting on the platform with 2 minutes to spare.

Unfortunately, that luck evaporated into thin air when I was told that the boarding process was over. So I stood there and watched my $70 train ticket go down the drain as my ride pulled out of the station.

After a quick panic call to my dad, I got myself together, purchased another ticket and was one of the first to board the next train to Cadiz. My prior research, directed me to get off at the stop before Cadiz to catch the bus. Again, false information. I walked back to the train station, purchased yet another ticket and went one stop further, finally making it to Cadiz.

In Cadiz, I located the bus station and gazed at the schedule in hope for a break to this hellish day. But the gods we’re not finished with me yet! I missed my bus by 10 minutes and the next one wasn’t leaving for another 2 1/2 hours.

Needless to say, I made it to Conil in one piece – except instead of doing the trip in 5-6 hours, I completed it in 12.

What I learned from this experience is that you can never be too prepared. Really do your research, buy a map, read online travel blogs/reviews, ask people for help – whatever it takes to get the answers you need. One website I use to find out about various types of public transportation is You will save yourself a lot of time and money by doing so!

With everything in life, there will always be highs and lows. While this may have been my lowest low on my trip so far, I learned and grew from this experience!



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