Coming from an American city like Albuquerque to Europe has shown me just how different yet similar the two places can be. This is especially true when we talk about transportation. In Albuquerque, most people drive their own cars to work, school and home. A few people take the bus. To travel outside the city, many take the train but most travel by airplane. In Europe, however, things are very different.
In bigger cities of Europe like Istanbul, Marseille and Milan, many forms of transportation can be found. The main form of transportation is usually the subway/metro train that runs throughout the city on many different lines. Because the train can run underground, it is usually faster than driving in lots of traffic!
In many city-centers, there are trams that run above ground, usually on the street between streets of regular traffic. These trams make it possible for people to get around the center of the city. In Istanbul, the tram was more reliable than the metro because it was able to reach many historical buildings but also because it could go across bridges to other parts of Istanbul.
Buses are also important in most cities. However, I only travelled on buses to other cities or farther distances, usually because the trams and trains in the city were faster ways of getting to most destinations. In the southern region of France, buses travel throughout most cities for a very low fare. I sometimes take this bus to go to Monaco and Nice as well as the airport. While trains are faster than buses, buses are usually cheaper to take and can access parts of cities that aren’t close to the train stations.
The strangest form of public transportation I saw was in Venice. Did you know that there are ferries that take passengers to other parts of the city? Since Venice is built directly on the water, no cars can travel throughout it. The only option citizens and tourists have in the city is to take water taxis, ferries, and gondolas.
However, the most important way of getting around is simply walking! In Menton, most people walk. The city isn’t large, so to get from one side to the next it would only take a maximum of 30 minutes.
My favorite way of getting around definitely had to be taking the water ferry in Venice. I was so surprised that the city had thought of such a great idea. Large boats would pick passengers up at different ports just like buses do at bus stops. It was very relaxing to just look out the window of the ferry and enjoy the ride.
Because of Venice’s dilemma – being built on a lagoon and surrounded only by water – the citizens realized that it would be impossible for cars, buses, trams or trains to reach the city. This wasn’t a problem in history before these ways of transportation were invented. Recently, however, the city had to think of a new idea to help its citizens get around the city. Ferries became the best form of public transportation. Today, the citizens of Venice get around not only by walking, but also by taking the water ferries, water taxis and gondolas. Venice is a great example in history of how a city was able to grow and function by turning its environment from an obstacle into a helping