On this post I want to tell you how we missed our bus in Porto. My intention is that you don’t make the same mistakes that we did.
In the previous post I told you about my day trip to Coimbra from Porto. In Porto, we bought the round trip train ticket. To begin, our experience in Coimbra had not been very good, we were tired and the winter time did not let us see much.
Here you can read about our experience visiting Coimbra from Porto.
We missed our bus in Porto
And well … long story short, the train back to Porto was delayed. There were many desperate people, we among them. It was our last day in Porto, and we had already booked our bus in Porto towards Madrid.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the train from Coimbra stops in the Campanha station. We needed to go to the Sao Bento station, because we left our luggage in some lockers at the Trindade metro station, near there.
When the train arrived, we thought that we’d be able to arrive on time to take our bus in Porto. We had bought the ticket with enough spare time before the departure, but the stars lined up against us. The train made an extra stop that it didn’t on the way to Coimbra, so it took longer than normal.
We arrived at Campanha station and there were still many minutes before the train departure to Sao Bento. At that moment I saw that there was a metro, of course, the metro! We rushed to buy tickets to Trindade Station, already quite nervous. Then we took the metro to Trindade and ran to the luggage lockers.
We didn’t have coins for the lockers!
There were about 10 minutes or so left, and when we got to the lockers … We had no coins! (spent them on the subway). The lockers could only be opened with coins, the shops in the station were already closed (it was about 9 p.m.), nobody wanted to change our money.
I dialed through an intercom for emergencies in the locker, since there was nobody of the staff to help us. They answered and I told them that we had no coins. They told me that upstairs, on the subway platform, there was a candy machine where we could change our money (note: candy machines give coins). So we ran to find the machine. As soon as we got the coins, we took out our suitcases and rushed to get a taxi … there were no taxis …😩
Honestly, although nervous, I was already quite resigned, it was not possible for us to arrive on time. We were already about 10 or 15 minutes late. And indeed… we missed the bus in Porto to Madrid 😞. To make matters worse the station where the bus left (a Flixbus that we booked online) had no office or anything. It’s called Garagem Atlantico and it was basically that, a dark parking lot, where a bus departed from time to time.
I had no charge on my cell phone to check other online transportation or hotel to stay (2% battery or something 😑). We waited while connecting the cell phone to electricity. There was another Flixbus to Barcelona, I think, I don’t quite remember. By chance, it occurred to us to ask the driver which was the closest place to Madrid through which they would pass, and he said Zaragoza.
Luckily they had seats available but the tickets cost us an arm and a leg. It was expensive. According to them, it’s cheaper online, but they didn’t give us time to buy it that way, because the bus had to depart.
Anyway, we got on the bus on the way to Zaragoza and although we did lose money, we didn’t lose the night of accommodation in Madrid.
In Zaragoza, we waited like 2 or 3 hours before leaving to Madrid. And since there were 2 days left until Christmas Eve, the buses were full.
What to do if I miss my bus?
Unfortunately, the bus company will have no mercy on you. They will not wait a few minutes for you, nor will they refund your money (if it was your fault). The only thing left is to think quick, as it happened in our case that we missed the bus in Porto.
If you can’t buy another ticket with the closest departure at the ticket office, ask on the buses that are in the station. We were lucky because, there was only one bus in that gloomy place and it was the last of the day, since they were already rushing us to close the garage.
Another option is to check trains if they are available. If it is early, you will have more chance to look for options, and if not, you will have to seek accommodation.
To find accommodation if you didn’t find transportation for that day, try calling the place you just left. You can also check online on Booking.com (if you have battery and connection on your devices). Another option if you don’t get anything and it’s early is to go to the tourist office. There they usually have a list of hotels and other lodgings available.
What I learned about this experience
So from this bad experience I can give you some recommendations that maybe you’ve already considered, maybe not. They apply to travel in general, not only for this case. Here they go:
To begin I don’t recommend doing a day trip on the last day of your stay. It is tempting to take advantage of the time, but you can take advantage of it by visiting something in the city instead. Being in a hurry, tired or stressed you will not enjoy the trip. Besides, you’ll risk missing the transport as it happened to us.
Luggage lockers are very useful for when we have to check out early or our transportation leaves late. Buuuut, take a good look at the conditions. In this case, the locker had a code that they gave us printed on a piece of paper.
We were careful of taking a photo of the number in case we lost the darn paper (suggestion of the staff in the lockers). But I never considered that you could only pay with coins. It is paid according to the time you have left the luggage, not in advance. And we also didn’t think that when arriving late, the staff would no longer be there.
The lockers staff were quite friendly, and despite the bad experience, I highly recommend it. I clarify that the fault was ours for not noticing that the machine only worked with coins, so take note of all those details. This is the City Lockers website where you can see what locations they have in Portugal and the rates.
Another tip is try always to have coins, they are useful for lockers and to buy metro tickets. Some machines, in Versailles France, for example, only accepted coins, not cards or paper. The truth is that we never know when we are going to need them. And if you don’t have them, remember that the candy or coffee vending machines, etc., can be used to change your money. You can find one in almost all stations
If you miss the transportation as we missed our bus in Porto, you can ask other drivers if it’s possible that they take you near your destination. That saved us from spending the night on the streets of Porto.
A good attitude is everything
After the bitter experience we arrived safe and sound (poorer but safe) to our destination.
And although it did depress us a little, because we’d already had other problems in another destination, we tried to overcome it quick. These things happen when we travel. On the train back to Paris from Versailles I heard that a couple had also missed the train and were afraid of having to sleep under a bridge haha. I don’t know how they solved it, but everything has a solution.
So the most important is to have a good attitude and not panic. When it’s overcome it will be one more story to tell about your trips. If I hadn’t missed the bus in Porto, I couldn’t tell you about my experience and give you these recommendations.
Now, tell me, has something similar happened to you on your travels? Have you missed your transportation? What other tips could you share with us? I read you.
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