Friday, 25 March 2016

My Travel Catastrophes

As someone who travels a lot, it's fair to say I've had my fair share of travel catastrophes. None of them have ruined my trips that I've been on and I prefer to look back on them as being a funny part of the trip that made it unique rather than a holiday ruiner (although some of them definitely had the potential!!) As someone who has a habit of being a little bit clumsy and unlucky, you can always count on me for a story to make you feel better about your own catastrophes! I think online we can sometimes get a bit of a polished glance at everyone else's trips so here are just a few of the non-instagrammable things that have happened to me whilst travelling!

1. Getting lost
I'll admit I have no coordination. I once got lost driving back from the town next door to mine which is literally 3 miles away from my house (and I grew up there!!!) However, normally when it comes to navigating on foot and finding things on city breaks, I'm pretty good and tend to take charge of map reading and navigating the public transport systems and because of this I think I sometimes get a bit cocky and think "oh yeah I'll easily find that." Yeah you can see where this is going. In both Paris and Rome, I underestimated how confusing the streets were and in both cities, Karl and I wandered around the area in the pouring rain for literally hours looking for our hotels until locals took pity on us. In Paris, Google Maps took us to the wrong place, which happened to be a boarded up hotel with the same name as the hotel we had booked! I still laugh every time I think of Karl stood outside it absolutely drenched, shouting "I'm going to sue Thomas Cook!!!!"

2. Wearing ridiculous shoes
This photo of me was an outfit shot taken in Rome and as you can see if you look closely, I have a slight bulge on my right ankle. That was because I managed to get my foot ridiculously infected on the first day of our trip. In true fashion blogger style, I naively thought I could manage walking 20 miles+ around Rome every day for three days in heeled sandals. These shoes, beautiful as they are, took a chunk out of the side of my ankle which got infected straight away and swelled up like a balloon on our first morning and it was so bad I literally couldn't walk. I got out of bed and collapsed on the floor like the drama queen I am, dragged myself to the bathroom and put my foot in the sink and ran water over it, all the while sobbing quietly to myself. I never cry and usually have a high pain threshold but that was something else. Of course, you'd think I'd have packed a pair of trainers in case something like this happened. Nope. The only shoes I'd brought had three inch heels! Nonetheless, I soldiered on and hobbled through Rome for three days and walked around the whole city. Yep, I am the definition of a tough cookie.

3. Almost being poisoned while scuba diving
I've always wanted to go scuba diving. I'm a bit of a thrill seeker and I'm not really scared of much so when I was in Sharm el Sheikh in September, which is apparently one of the best places in the world to go scuba diving, I knew I had to give it a try. I was so excited and I can't honestly explain how beautiful it was under the water. There was every kind of fish you can think of in every different colour and as our hotel was right on a coral reef, the range of sea life we saw was astounding. However, if you've been scuba diving before you'll know how hard it is to steer yourself the first time you do it and I found myself floating a little bit towards the coral with my hand outstretched ready to grab a rock to stop myself. Unbeknown to me, it wasn't a rock but a deadly poisonous stone fish, disguised in reef. Oh dear. I was inches away from touching it until the instructor grabbed me and shook his head (you can actually see it in my scuba diving YouTube video I recorded!!) and that photo above is of the culprit. When we surfaced, the instructor said to me "you do know if you touched that you would have died?" Ooopsy!

4. Sat-Nav fails
As you'll already know, a few weeks ago I went to New York. However, we had a bit of a disaster before we even got there. We always fly from Manchester Airport and living in the North East means its around a 2 hour drive so we usually stay overnight for an early flight the next morning. We stayed in a new hotel this time so used the sat-nav to get us to the airport and were on our merry way after typing in "Manchester Airport". It soon became clear that for some reason, the sat-nav had decided to take us to a Travelodge in the centre of Manchester during rush hour, a 20 minute drive away from the airport without the 8am traffic. It's safe to say I have never felt panic like it. Karl and I were screaming at each other, we finally got on the right road and pulled into the airport car park at 9:30am - our flight was due to depart at 10:20am. You know how they say you get super human strength in an emergency? It's true - I picked up the two hand luggage style cases, put them on my back (bearing in mind I am 5"4 and like a stick) and sprinted to the terminal, with Karl running behind me with the other two cases on his back. Thankfully, the wonderful staff at Manchester airport put us through fast-track security when we told them what happened and we made our flight with minutes to spare!!

5. Getting stranded in Egypt
Like I mentioned above, we were in Sharm in Egypt in September. When we got to Sharm airport on our way home, we were told our flight was cancelled because of a gigantic sandstorm that had hit Egypt and we weren't going to be able to travel until the following day. I know what you're thinking - yay, another day's holiday right? Wrong! After spending 6 hours waiting in the airport for the airline to sort a hotel for everyone on the two flights cancelled, we were finally allocated into a simply awful hotel after staying in our beautiful one for a week and because of the situation, we made friends with another young couple from Manchester who we stuck with. In short, we ended up sitting for the whole night drinking Sex on The Beach (yep me, who is t-total for the rest of the time) and somehow ended up in a Russian disco where everyone took their shoes off, put them in the middle of the dance floor and boogied around them. Yep, that was definitely one of the more bizarre nights of my life. 

This is definitely not all of the strange, crazy and catastrophic things that have happened to me whilst travelling and many more disasters have befallen me but if I told you them all, we'd be here until Christmas!! This is my entry for Oliver's Travel Blogger Competition where you can win a trip to the Algarve in their new Vidamar Beach Villas - pretty exciting huh?! 

What are your biggest travel fails?

Amy x
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