From San Sebastian to Granada in 12 Hours and 90 Euros

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One of worries about this trip what how to get to San Sebastian, Basque to Granada, Andalucia at a reasonable time and price. Using a few websites and from the grace of God and Google maps I made it within 12 hours and for 90 Euros (about $102).

Here were my options:

  • Driving: The most direct way to go was to rent a car for the day and drive it one way. It would about 7.5 to eight hours. The costs of getting to the rental place, the cost of the day rental, the gas (which is blindly expensive), purchasing an international driver’s license from AAA  and then gettingfrom rental place to hotel would have been in the $300 range.
  • Flying: This would have been the fastest at 3.5 hours. Iberia has flights via Madrid for $378.
  • Trains: This would have been the longest and most cumbersome. I would have had to transfer trains at stations at Zaragoza, Madrid, Cordoba and Antequera. The cost would be $192 and take 11 hours. if I missed any of those connections I would be screwed.
  • Bus: As far as I could tell, there is one overnight bus that leaves midnight and arrives at noon. That’s no fun.

Here’s what I did: train to Madrid and bus from there to Granada.

Got a 7:28 train out of San Sebastian, which ends at Barcelona if you needed to know. A bit early after a night of holding court in town until 1:30ambut what can you do?

I transferred at Zaragoza. It was ten minutes late but we had a 33-minute window for delays and to get to the other track.

Picked up train going to Madrid, which was a high-speed train with much nicer seating, roomier and better amenities like charging stations, etc.

The train actually got to Madrid’s central station, Atocha, ten minutes early at 1pm. This gave me an hour to get to the city’s main bus station, Sur, for a 2pm ASLA bus to Granada. It’s a 20-minute through a whole lot of nothing. With luggage in tow, it was more like 25 minutes. Now I know how Vince Vaughn felt at the end of True Detective. A taxi would have been good, it’s a five-minute drive, but the taxi line was equal to that of an iPhone launch circa 2009.

The ASLA bus was the nicest I’ve been on so far. You have charging outlets, a bathroom, a little roomier, and an entertainment unit where you can watch outdated film’s like Mr. Popper’s Penguins in Spanish.

There’s a stop off at the nicest highway rest stop I’ve ever seen. There’s an upscale bar where you can have a drink and drive off!

I arrived at the Granada bus station at 7:15, got a cab to my hotel and was in my room by 7:30! Hazzah! Who’s the man!

Seventy euro for the train and 20 for the bus all pre-paid via the RENFE and ALSA websites.

Best part besides the low cost, I got to enjoy the Spanish landscape while listening to Hop Along Alvvays, Chvrches, YACHT and Black Angels on my iPod. Typical travel music.

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