We’ve all done it, those of us who travel to a new city, and take a taxi in from the airport that is. We sit in traffic, going nowhere in a cab for like 30 minutes to an hour, only to find out that we were just around the corner from our hotel.
On our second trip to Istanbul, the traffic was ridiculous upon entering Sultanamet. Finally we made it to the Blue Mosque. Though we hadn’t been to this hotel during our previous visit, I remembered the area as it was yesterday. I loved Istanbul so much that the people I met, the streets I wandered were ingrained in my memory. “I’m like 99% sure that our hotel is just around this wall,” I said to Damany. “We should just get out and walk.”
“I don’t know,” he said “it was a year ago.” I insisted that I remembered, that it was right next to the leather shop he had bought his jacket at last year. He insisted that if we got out and I was wrong, I would’ve been irritated that we were lost on foot with rolling suitcases. He would’ve been completely right. However, the hotel was just behind the wall, and it took about 25 minutes to reach it.
In Amsterdam, we decided to take a taxi from the airport because we had gotten in so late. Not only was it horribly expensive, and treacherous to watch the meter click up, it also took far longer than the train ride to and from the same points.
After many years of travel, I think I’m ready to start taking more trains and buses, bringing my travel costs down, and putting myself on more of a local’s level. While visiting a friend in Guatemala, we took a night bus from Guatemala City to Flores, 8 hours. The bus was spacious, it was a lot cheaper than renting a car, we were able to sleep on the bus overnight (saving us money on a room), and all-together easier as we didn’t know the roads and maps are not always so trustworthy.
I feel like I don’t know why I’ve been so stuck on taxis and rental cars for so long…it really seems like an isolative measure that is kind of opposing the real mission of travel in the first place, to interact more with other cultures and get to know their way of life. I’m ready for no more rolley suitcases, ready to avoid taxis when at all possible, ready to get to the nitty-gritty of travel…just what fits in my pack, and wherever the road may lead.