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Why You Should Not Take the Metro in Europe

Why You Should Not Take the Metro in Europe

Locals in big European cities like Paris, London, Oslo, Munich, Madrid and Barcelona love their underground metro systems.  They whisk people point-to-point quickly and efficiently.

But for visitors, the metro is probably not the best choice for these reasons:

  • You Can't See Anything By Traveling in a Hole in the Ground:  In the metro, there is no scenery as the train disappears into the dark tunnels.  There is no perspective of how far you are from one point to another.
  • Lots of Stairs:  Using the metro usually involves going up and down stairs.
  • It Can be Smelly: Welcome to the big city.  Things can be a bit dirty and stinky underground.  Sometimes you see those little critters running around too.
  • Do You Feel Safe?  That's up to you.  Nothing scares me more than standing on a crowded metro platform while a train approaches.  And if there is an emergency and you need to get out of the station quick?  
  • It's Hot!  I don't know about you, but standing around in a noisy and hot metro station is not the most pleasant way to spend time.

So, if not the metro, how does the traveler get from one place to another?

  • After years of doing it, the bus is the best way to get around almost any European city:
  • See Everything:  Passing through neighborhoods is by far a more pleasant way to travel than by riding underground.
  • Perspective:  Just how is it from one point to another?  By traveling by bus, the traveler gets that perspective.
  • No Stairs:  Well, maybe one or two.  But the bus driver will hold the door open, waiting for you to get in.  He/she might even say bonjour/hola/good day/hallo.

It's much more pleasant in every way to take the bus.   But what's even BETTER than the bus is if you are lucky enough to be visiting a city with a tram.  Oslo and Munich have The Professor's favorite tram systems.  Get all the benefits of traveling by bus, with (almost) the speed of traveling by metro.  So, next time in Europe, don't take the metro.  Take the bus or tram.

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