The new way to hitchhike

BlaBlaCar exists in the UK but is nowhere near as popular as it is in Europe. It’s a website organising car-sharing journeys. You either advertise your journey and have passengers pay to join you, or you search for a journey and find a car to ride in. Being under 25 so unable to rent a car, adverse to driving in England let alone abroad and a bit strapped for cash, my flatmates and I unsurprisingly opted for the second option…

BlaBlaCar is a good way to travel because it’s about half the price of buses and trains, you get to chat in Spanish and meet interesting people. There is of course the added risk factor; getting into cars with strangers does feel instinctively scary but if you forget about the fear and focus on the convenience then it’s all fine and dandy.

My flatmates and I have booked two BlaBlaCars to get us to and from Seville this weekend. Choosing our driver was quite a fun experience – we typed in our desired journey and were given a selection of people to choose from, each with a profile showing their name, age, car type, and other info. Deciding between Juan, Manu and Jesus became a tricky decision as we weighed up the creepiness of their picture with the suitability of their time of departure. Would we rather leave at an ungodly hour with normal-looking Juan? Or depart at our preferred time with pony-tail-sporting, cowboy-hat-wearing Jesús? Luckily all drivers have ratings and reviews and we eventually opted for Elena, who has forty years of driving experience and was described as ‘chatty and flexible’ (presumably referring to departure times rather than gymnastic ability).

So far we’ve used the service once – to catch a lift to the town of Cáceres. It didn’t start off too well; we were due to meet ‘Mabel’ driving a SEAT Ibiza but what we did not realise was that Ibizas are very common Spanish cars. After shouting ‘Mabel?’ at a rather confused looking woman who pulled up at the correct time in an SEAT Ibiza, and practically climbing into her car before she shooed us away, we eventually found the right person. Incidentally the real Mabel was great, she drove us right to the door of our destination and was friendly and chatty the whole journey – perfect.

I’ve been in Spain three weeks today and so far so good. As predicted, there has been a lot of embarrassment and confusion but I’m now beginning to feel settled and I’m actually lot happier than I’ve been all year. I hope everyone’s having a good Tuesday!Untitled

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