I think I'm in love with subway transit. Every time I ride a subway train I get a giddy "small town girl in the big city" feeling (you might guess that Nova Scotia lacks a subway system). I've only had opportunity to ride four different systems but each time I've loved it. Toronto - My first. It was just what I expected a subway to be. A little grey, bit of a seedy feel, lurching with the motion of the train, the rattle of the tracks. I absolutely loved it. Athens - So not what I expected! Huge bright stations lined with marble and archaeological finds on display in situ! Mini underground museums, hot damn! The trains themselves were spacious and bright the ride both super fast and very smooth. It felt like I was on a lateral moving elevator. And what's this? An honour system for ticket purchases? No wicket, no gates, just purchase your ticket and ride, we trust you. My last night in Athens I ran out of tickets and Euros, it was just one stop, what could it hurt? Ding! 25.00 Euro fine. Apparently transit cops can home in on your conscience. I should have known this was god's own transit system. Drat. Rome - Kiosks in the stations, ok, but an underground mall in the terminal? WTF? Poor little tourist girl attracted a bit of attention on the platform when she nearly spit her drink out as the subway arrived. There was no original paint to be seen for the graffiti covering it (gosh I thought that passage was long, am I in New York?). The attention turned to worried and disdainful looks as my chuckles turned to unabated laughter at being smooshed in with everyone else so tightly I could barely breathe. It was probably only hilarious to me because I don't have to ride it everyday. Rick Steeves even says not to ride the subway during rush hour because of this, but I just had to. Took pics, too. Barcelona - Stations typical, 2.5 on the seedy scale. Automated ticket machines have option for English transactions, Thank You! Trip as follows. Validate ticket, through the gate, all I need it a transit map, ohh, there's one. On the other side of the gate. Right. I'll just go out and go through again. Ticket rejected. Shit, fuck, damn! The machine thinks the ticket's been passed through to a second person. Snarl menacingly at inanimate machine and purchase another ticket, through gate WITH map and down to the platform. There's a countdown timer for the arrival of the next train, very nice. The train arrives and as the masses pour out we bunch up near the doors to board. A woman next to me shouts and I think it's because a young man has insinuated himself between us pushing her further from the train so with the back of my arm I push him back to make room for her. She's pointing at my purse then at him and makes a dipping/grabbing gesture. Oh really! I turn to see him now walking briskly away from the train not interested in transit at all. My purse is still zippered and the open exterior pockets were padded with decoy folded paper ( I was dissuaded from using the leather upholstered mousetrap I'd made to look like a wallet), I can check on the train but if I'm wrong it's too late. So... I break a nail grabbing him from behind and spinning him to face me as I feel the outside of his bag for anything of similar size and weight to what I was carrying. He looks peeved but not surprised. Nothing. I turn back to the train and see other guys on the platform objecting to my actions (do they work in groups?) and the doors starting to close. Yeah...being left on a now empty platform with only pickpockets, one of whom I just accosted...not a good plan. Dash the ten steps to the train, catch the doors while their six inches apart but I can't squeeze through. They close further and I jam my knee in (surely there's some kind of safety feature) fight with the doors continues 'til I'm half in half out and now I imagine I can feel the train starting to move, though it probably isn't, thinking If I only lose the left hand side of my body I'll be all right. With my arse in the door I've got enough leverage to shove them open and get completely inside and let them close. The train leaves the platform and I've had my own little ten second action scene. Fun. The trains in Barcelona also have maps that light up as you near each station so you can see where on the line you are and what station you're approaching. Smart. I look up the car to see the train bending. Bending? Instead of the individual cars with doors between they're joined into one continuous articulated serpent. I can see it bending around the curves! Wicked cool. More pics taken, more people convinced I'm a loon. I love subways!!! What subway systems have you ridden? Which do you love or hate? Why? Anecdotes?