Sunday, November 3, 2013

On Taking Public Transport

Yesterday we went to a National Trust property about 35 miles west and a little north of Brighton. The bus trip took 2 1/2 or 3 hours each way. That may seem like a lot of time to get such a short distance but we were happy with that.

We talked about hiring a car, but decided against it because we like traveling in buses. When you are in a bus, you get to see the countryside in a way you don't when you are driving, because you are worried about traffic and navigating and you have to keep your eyes on the road. In a bus, someone else does all of that. In a bus, you sit up a little higher than a car, so you can see over hedgerows and fences. And we always enjoy people-watching on buses.

Because we were on the bus, we could see over the beach toward the ocean along part of the drive; we saw a fruit tree blossoming out of season in someone's yard; we saw a huge tree, obviously felled by the storm on Monday and not yet cleared because it wasn't blocking the road; we saw some lovely houses hiding behind hedges or fences; and we had amazing views of the Arun valley and various other beautiful places along the way.

Cars are great when you have someplace specific to go that's difficult to get to by bus. I used to love having one when we came on visits the the COGs parents when the kids were small. In those days, the car became a kind of temporary haven our private space for the duration.  In a car, you can cover a lot of territory more quickly and you are free to deviate from the plan for the day.   We could, for example, have stopped at the Roman Villa we saw a sign for, if we'd had a car. Or because we had a car in Normandy last summer, we were able to stop at the various beaches which was not something we had planned for.  So there's definitely a place for cars. And, if we'd had a car yesterday, we wouldn't have had to wait for the 1 bus per hour, or figure out where to catch it.

On the other hand, while waiting for the bus,  we chatted to someone and looked around the charming old village, which we wouldn't have done if we'd been parked in the car park next to the main road that skirts the village.

So, that's why we like taking public transport - especially buses. It's because the getting there is half the fun. Sometimes more than half.

1 comment:

Kate said...

You make bus travel sound quite delightful, but I think you need to have time to spare and opportunity to fill in what you missed. You can make your way to the Roman villa another time. On the other hand, last summer in Normandy, some of us may never get back there, so if we hadn't seized the opportunity to see the Normandy Beaches, we might never see them at all.

On the other hand, how great to let someone else do the driving and to sit up high surveying the world!