Traveling Around


Spending time in Paris four years ago was great: visiting the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, the Marais, the Luxembourg Gardens, and all. We did, however, have to invest heavily in the purchase of métro and bus tickets to travel around the different arrondissements of the widespread city. No problem with that here. The town of Collioure is relatively compact and our main mode of transportation is our own two feet. And pound the pavement we do: from the port to the windmill, to the mountain-top retreat known as Notre-Dame de la Consolation. It’s so hilly in this area, in fact, that I keep thinking of the humorous expression “it’s uphill both ways”! All of this exercise is good for us, of course, and, while I might at times complain (who me?), my Fitbit is really loving it. The activity tracker is forever sending encouraging messages like “Feed Me!” or “Let’s Roll!” Fireworks and rockets go off whenever I arrive at my recommended 8,000 steps a day, which I do a lot, really a lot. Often I hit 10,000 steps, once even 14,000.

A real godsend for us to get to see other nearby towns and cities is the aptly named Bus à un Euro. As you can probably guess, for just one euro (about $1.07) you can take it as near or as far as you want among the places it serves—from the tiny town of Cerbère (pop. 1500) on the Spanish border west of here to Perpignan, the big city of the region with over 118,000 people. We have already taken advantage of the bus for trips to Perpignan as well as the towns of Banyuls sur Mer, Port-Vendres, and Arglelès. It is reliable (usually running only about 5-10 minutes late) and a safe way to navigate the hairpin mountain roads. There is even storage underneath for suitcases, bikes, scooters, and large boxes from stores like IKEA, not that we’ve needed that to this point.

Drawbacks to the one-euro bus are few but there are a couple. What we noticed right away is that there is very little legroom. I’m sure there are no more than 24” from the back of the seat in front of you to the front of your seat--except if you’re lucky enough to snag a place in the first row. The other problem is that the number of bells to ring when you want to get off is quite limited. Unless we’re missing something, which is always a possibility, there are two: one upfront near the driver and another near the rear exit door. Which means you get jostled around something awful trying to make your way to the bell.  

We can also take the train out of Collioure which we’ve only done once so far. Only slightly more expensive than the bus, it’s quite comfortable and fast...five minutes to Argelès! There’s even a one-euro train out of Perpignan we’re going to explore one of these days. Another thing we’ve been checking out is Ouicar. This company has the unusual idea of renting cars, fully insured, from individuals. That would be a big help since there are no rental companies outside of Perpignan, a half-hour away.

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