Have you have ever experienced something unexpected during a holiday? Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a misadventure instead of an adventure? We definitely have, and we are going to share with you some tragicomic events we had to face while travelling.
Traveling sometimes means being able to deal with unwelcome surprises, especially when you are not the all-inclusive-holiday type. No matter how carefully you planned everything, the unexpected is always waiting in the shadows.
WHEN IT RAINED IN THE SAHARA
After a wonderful road trip on Morocco's High Atlas, we reached the Sahara desert. We had planned to stay overnight in a Berber tent after a camel trek, an experience we had long dreamt of.
Unfortunately, as soon as we arrived on the desert’s borders it started to rain: on one side, the Berbers were super happy for the unexpected gift after 7 years of drought, on the other we were completely speechless for our misfortune. We spent the night in a hotel with no stars above us, and the morning after we sadly left for the next destination. At least we can say we witnessed a pretty rare event, that it’s always better than nothing!
WHEN PARIS SWALLOWED THE HERTZ OFFICE
We hired a car at a Hertz office located 20 minutes from the Gare du Nord: given the proximity and the urban continuity with Paris, we thought to be still in the city.
After three wonderful days in Mont-Saint-Michel and Saint-Malo, we came back to Paris, fortunately well in advance on our Eurostar's departure time.
We entered the Hertz garage’s address on the GPS to return the car before taking the train to London. We arrived at the destination but no Hertz garage could be found. Astonished, we entered the office address. We arrived at the desired location but, again, Hertz wasn’t there. We wandered for an hour and we were running out of time. We called the Hertz office, rationally explaining the situation: ‘Your offices have disappeared from the city’.
The girl at the other side of the phone said: ‘'I have a client in front of me, I call you back in a minute', and quickly hung up, probably thinking it was the joke of a lunatic.
After another 15 minutes of wanderings, we stopped at a petrol station, trying to explain the situation in our broken French. The guys looked at us with eyes wide open, took the GPS and entered the correct address without saying a word: the address was not referred to a district of Paris, as we thought, but to another neighbouring town with two same-name streets just a few miles away.
Smartness is everything.
WHEN WE WERE LEFT SHOELESS AT DEPARTURE
We left home with two backpacks and two big rucksacks each: we were going to spend three days on Skomer Island, a super-wild Welsh island where dirt roads discourage the use of trolleys. Though our luggage was minimal, photography equipment and food increased a lot its weight. No food or beverage are in fact sold or provided on the island and everyone has to bring his own supplies.
That loaded, we had three tube changes to get to the station of London Paddington. Ahead of us, two trains and five hours of travel to reach the westernmost Pembrokhire and take the ferry to Skomer island.
While walking on the platform, the soles of Damiano’s trekking shoes cracked and got completely loose. Both disintegrated all of a sudden, like by (black) magic: and obviously we did not have spare shoes. We used the 7 minutes left before departure to run into a Salisbury and buy a tape to try to keep the soles together. Damiano was forced to kind of skate rather than walk. Not necessary to mention how people stared at us.
Once arrived at Milford Haven, our last mainland destination, we discovered that all the town shoe stores had closed down in the last two years. The only alternative to go barefoot was a pair of canvas sneakers bought at Tesco at £ 12.00: not exactly a top technical equipment. Fortunately the weather was then sunny and dry, and it never rained. After 3 days of hiking on dirt roads and rocks, Damiano’s feet were sore and painful but all is well that ends well.
WHEN IN ICELAND WE SHARED THE ROOM WITH AN OLYMPIC SNORER
When we travelled to Iceland, we hired a car and stayed every night at a different guesthouse or hostel, many of whom were really lovely. We often booked a private room, but a couple of times we had to sleep in a dormitory, sharing the room with other 3/4 people.
On one of these occasions, an Olympic snorer with a daughter who was proudly following his footsteps were in the room with us: room sharing with strangers should be made illegal for snorers. Ear plugs were not enough, even the beds were vibrating. Exasperated, at some point I took my sleeping bag and went to sleep in the car. It was heavily raining, the wind was so strong that the car was constantly shaken, but at least I was able to fall asleep. Damiano, who is too tall to sleep comfortably in a small car, stayed in bed. After a sleepless night, at 6.30 in the morning, he woke up the two unbearable disturbers shaking their beds and saying, "Okay, if you keep me awake, I will keep you awake as well."
And you? Have you ever found yourself facing some unforeseen events while travelling? Tell us about your misadventures, make us feel less alone!