I’m planning right now for an autumn trip to Europe (Paris, where I’ve never been except the airport, and Zagreb, where I lived for 5 months). I’m also putting the finishing touches on a novel in which the protagonist, Jeff, makes a somewhat reluctant journey to Venice. Unlike Jeff, I love to travel. But like him, I tend to plan pretty thoroughly, and I worry about things going wrong (things do go wrong for Jeff, of course). On the other hand, I’m much more relaxed about mishaps than I used to be, because I’ve come to realize that sometimes they make for the best memories and the funniest stories–afterwards. At the time, they can be problematic!
My favorite travel mishap was 10 years ago, when I went to Budapest and Prague. When I arrived in Budapest it was very, very hot and although the hotel was lovely, it did not have AC. My attempts to use sign language with the maid to obtain a fan only resulted in the delivery of a hair dryer. Then they sent an English-speaking guy who was very apolgetic–they were out of fans. But he brought me a can of Coke and a big bucket of ice instead–no charge–and was very sweet when all I had to tip him with was a US dollar. I went to the market for dinner that night and due to my inability to properly convert kilos to pounds, ended up with way more raspberries than I’d intended. When I woke up feeling ill the next morning I blamed it on the fruit. But the illness stuck around for several days. In a square in Karlovy Vary, a fellow traveler asked me how I was feeling. “Okay,” I answered. “It comes and goes. A lot like morning sick…..” Ah. It was at that very moment that I realized the existence of my second child.
What’s your favorite travel disaster story?