Public Transport abroad

I know I have written about going to Disneyland Paris a few times over the last month but so much happened in three days that  it has been really hard to get it all out and into words. I have been wanting to write this post as a warning really to other passengers and potential train users in Paris.When I was looking at getting from Paris airport to Disneyland Paris we were told a few options. There was the shuttle bus that took over an hour and was always busy so might be hard for the Wheelchair, pushchair and our suitcases for £100. There was also the option of a private taxi which might take around 40 minutes for £120, we could have looked into getting cheap car hire in France or there was a 10-minute train for £100. Can you guess which one I went for? Less time and less money

Getting the train from the airport was not too much trouble, it was at 10 am in the morning so we missed rush hour and the train station was underneath the airport. Once I had decoded the train times and made sure we were near the right platform (after nearly having a falling out with Hubby) we could relax and await our train. There was a clever sign which told you where your seats were within the train and signs along the platform to ensure you were standing at the right place for your carriage. When not in a rush and when the platform was not busy we were able to board our train, load the luggage and wheelchair without much fuss.

Arriving at our destination was quick and effortless. Our return journey however was not. Travelling in the evening we arrived early at the station to find that many of the trains including ours was delayed. Well with our limited french that is what we worked out after staring at the boards for a few minutes.

This station was a lot busier with many people leaving to go home after their holidays. The station was confusing enough with different sections for different train operators.  It was pure hell, to be honest, and my stress levels were unbelievably high. We were struggling with our bags, pushchair and wheelchair so we found a member of staff and tried to convey our need for assistance. With broken french, this was not very successful and the busy train was not suitable for the wheelchair. With no help at all, we struggled to get on board. Even though we had seats we couldn’t get to them.

It was a completely different experience when we went to Kos. Although we only hired a car for our last full day it was brilliant to be able to drive around the island and view the different landmarks. We went off the man roads and travelled through the hills going through small local villages and really getting a feel for what Kos was all about. We saw some amazing scenery and really enjoyed our excursion. We visited the main town of Kos and stopped for some lunch in a completely non-English speaking restaurant which was an amazing (if slightly humiliating) experience.

Hiring a car allowed us to experience the island in a whole new way, see things we wouldn’t have seen and immerse ourselves in Greek culture rather than just seeing the tourist area. I think it was important for the girls to really get a good look at where we were and to understand the differences and how people live in other countries. Staying on resort would not allow them to do that and even visiting the local tourist town hides the reality. We really enjoyed hiring the car and wish we had done so earlier in our break so we could have travelled to the south of the island too. I hear there were some lovely beaches and quaint little towns that we missed.

One other positive from having the car is that the kids fell asleep in the car so were lovely and rested and ready to play in the pool when we got back.

Our holiday to Disneyland was over and my stress levels were increasing. I found it really destroyed the buzz of the holiday as we rush around and got annoyed with each other and our situation. After all the hassle we agreed that hiring a car was definitely the preferred mode of transport. Not only would we get to see the country we were visiting but we could also relax and take our time.

It was such a shame to end a holiday with such a horrible travel experience and it will certainly make me think twice about using public transport in a foreign country again.