I had a glorious time roadtripping Scandinavia last summer. Unfortunately the journey ended with Eurolines or better: by taking the bus from Copenhagen to Bielefeld in Germany (the whole route goes from Oslo to Paris in case you were wondering). It was the first time that I took a long-distance bus and it was probably also the last time. Didn't help that it was my birthday and that I got to spend 12 hours of it on a smelly, disgusting bus.
I'm not sure if Eurolines is just a bad company in general or if we just had bad luck. Whatever it was, I want to provide a quick guide today on how to survive a journey with them. Totally ironic of course and not at all meant to be taken seriously... or is it?
1. No matter if it's raining and freezing and you have to wait for the bus for two hours, make sure to be the first in line!
This guarantees you to board the bus before everyone else and if you're lucky the bus is not full yet so you might get a good seat. And with good seat I mean a window seat in the front of the bus. The nearer you sit near the back (and the toilet) the more it will smell since the toilet will be full after 2 hours and won't be emptied for the rest of the trip....
2. Only allow people who at least look like they had a shower recently to sit next to you.
I know this sounds mean but since taking the bus oftentimes is the cheapest option to travel across Europe, you will encounter a lot of fellow passengers who don't take personal hygiene very seriously. Try to sit as far away from them as possible.
3. Wear earplugs AND headphones.
This is the only way to at least dampen the horrible Turkish music the driver plays on full volume to prevent him from falling asleep. If you're able to sleep to Metal, even better! Indie music just doesn't really drown out Turkish music. I speak of experience here.
4. Don't drink anything after 2 hours before the bus is supposed to leave.
As I said, the toilet on the bus will be smelly and disgusting and you won't be able to use it after 2 hours into the trip anyway since no one empties it.
5. That being said, make sure to visit the bathroom on EVERY STOP.
6. If you find yourself on a ferry and the driver says "Ehhhh Ladies and Gentlemen, please....ehhh...Sie leave bus and ehhhhh....kommt wieder wenn wir an Land sind......hahahaha Scheiss Englisch" - that means you have to leave the bus for the duration of the journey and come back as soon as the ferry reached its destination.
The bus drivers on this route are German (of Turkish descendance hence the music) and their knowledge of English is pretty rudimentary. It was fine for me but I really pitied the French-Maghrebian passengers who didn't speak English nor German.
7. Make sure to bring snacks and/or eat on the ferry or get food when you stop.
You won't get any food nor drinks on the bus and stops only take place two-three times.
8. And last but not least - just don't go by bus. Take the plane. You won't regret it!
Did you ever take an overnight bus? What was it like? Tell me all about it!