When we think about the Camino de Santiago we think walking, maybe cycling or even horse-riding. Trains, buses and planes do not come to mind. But we will need them…
- First, you have to get in and out of Spain and that will most likely happen by plane.
- Once you are in Spain, you need to get to your starting point, the town where you will start your pilgrimage. And you have to get out of Santiago, once your Camino is done.
- Even after you have started your Camino, you might sometimes skip a stage or two, for a number of reasons such as time constraints or health issues.
In the latter cases, you will probably use tren (train) or bus (or the occasional taxi, which is also conveniently called taxi is Spanish!).
Some of you suggested that I should cover this topic in my mini lessons, so that is the plan for the next couple of weeks. This week we’ll navigate our way around the estación de tren (you might find it also referred to as estación de ferrocarril, but estación de tren is more common).
- Whether you are travelling by tren, bus or plane, your ticket is called billete (by the way, we use the same word for banknotes, so you get two Spanish words for the price of one!).
- Where do you buy your billetes de tren (train tickets)? En la taquilla (in the ticket office). Well, you can also buy them online, but if you are already at the station and you don’t have your billetes yet, then you should look for the taquilla.
- On the information screens you will see in which vía (platform), your train can be found.
- Vía can be translated as platform, but it literally means track. La vía is for the tren, but people stand on the andén (platform). So, let’s say that your tren is leaving from vía 3: you wait for it on the andén (waiting on the vía would be illegal, not to mention too dangerous!). Does that make sense? Please, let me know if it’s not clear enough.
- Before you get on the tren, you need to look for some information on your billete: first of all, the number of your vagón (your billete will say coche, but we don’t call it like that when we are talking).
- And finally, you’ve made it to your vagón. Your billete will also tell you what number your asiento (seat) is. You can now get comfortable and enjoy!
- Oh! I almost forgot! The person who walks up and down the tren checking that we all have billetes is the revisor.
** Last minute addition thanks to Marilu, a reader, who kindly reminded me: if you are travelling by train and you are over 60, you can get a Tarjeta Dorada (golden card). You can buy it (€6) at the taquilla and it will entitle you to discounts of up to 40% on the price of your billetes. You will need to show your passport in order to purchase it. Here’s the link to RENFE’s website with all the information about it (it’s in Spanish): http://www.renfe.com/viajeros/tarifas/tarjeta_dorada.html
Estación de tren
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