Remember that time when……Tales of Disaster!

Oh dear! What to do!
Oh dear! What to do!

This year has been amazing. in 2014, I went to 10 (ten) countries and September hasn’t yet ended and I’ve travelled to nine (9) countries already!

Yes, nine (9) countries!

Travelling to a foreign country is always exciting and recently, I read a post from a young American blogger called Amanda, in which she shared travel stories that weren’t so nice. She called her piece: Bloggers and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Travel Day.

I also read a very engaging post from another American blogger called KemKem. She told us about what can happen to people who aren’t properly prepared. You could end up scrubbing toilets for tuppence! Read it here: Quit your job, sell your stuff and be a digital nomad? NO. Not Yet!

Now believe it or not, my blog isn’t even two (2) years old and even though it’s a young, dynamic blog (Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!), I have been travelling far and wide BEFORE the blog itself existed.

Oh yes sirree!

On the beach in Sanur, Bali.
On the beach in Sanur, Bali.

I have been to 30 countries in Europe, 10 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, 5 dependent islands, That makes a grand total of 55 countries.

I have had some exciting times.

I have had some intriguing times.

And some of those times were rather more adventurous than I expected.

Or even wanted!

So here’s a few to whet your appetite for the week. Here we go…

IN ASIA

At the Ranthambore National Park, India.
At the Ranthambore National Park, India.

Remember that time when I arrived in Delhi (India) and my executive deluxe room (just €17.00) had been given to somebody else!

I had heard rumours of the chaos and disorganisation of Asian bookings so I had actually searched out the room myself on-line (Ha! Ha!) and had asked STA (Student Travel Agency) in Berlin to book it on my behalf. I paid them here and called the hotel in Delhi.

Everything was fine.

A week to go, I called the hotel. The booking had been received.

24 hours prior, I faxed the hotel whilst I had a 24 hour stop-over in Istanbul. All was perfectly OK.

The Indian hotel even sent a driver to pick me up at the airport as my flight arrived at 02.00 in the wee hours, but when I finally got to the Reception desk at 03:00, the Hotel Receptionist didn’t know who the hell I was!

My room was nowhere to be seen and my already paid-for-and-confirmed-booking was nowhere to be found!

His solution. I ought to go to another hotel “down the road!”

I was so scared.

The Taj Mahal in India.
The Taj Mahal in India.

I was in India.

Solo.

And Alone.

I absolutely refused to move from his side and stood in front of him.

I showed him the receipt, the hotel confirmation, the copy of the bill and the fax, but he just shrugged his shoulders and carried on watching Indian TV.

And then I began to cry.

And cry.

And cry.

Ad then I don’t know whether he was embarrassed, or just wanted to take pity on me but he asked me to wait.

I waited.

For two (2) hours!

Local Indian men, India.

And then a man came out with his belongings and a blanket wrapped around his waist. An old woman went into a room and washed and cleaned it.

That was my room.

He never did explain what happened, and I never asked. I was just happy to be safe and sound.

And then I locked the door and went to sleep for a few hours before being awoken by the shrilling sounds of a poppadom man on the first (1st) daunting day in India.

AFRICA

A camel in the Tunisian Sahara Desert.

Remember that time when I got mugged by a bunch of children in Tunisia!

These were the days before mobile phones.

I had decided to go on a last-minute holiday to Hammamet for just €99.00. Now one of the beauties of going on a “last-minute” holiday was that you didn’t really know where you were going and you had to leave everything to chance and cross your fingers LOL! It was January, low season, and our hotel was quiet.

Hence €99.00 for a week. Including the flight, and a half-board 4-star hotel!

I didn’t want to spend all my time around my hotel so I decided to go to the local market.

Tunisian craft

I’ve always enjoyed talking to local people, taking photographs and generally poking my nose here and there.

I happened to stop at a shop which sold leather purses and handbags. I bought two (2) and continued to wander aimlessly around.

Suddenly, a bunch of young children came running towards me.

I had been day-dreaming so didn’t see them coming and ended up right in the middle of at least 20 kids.

I held my hands up to hold my balance and that was when I realised that a little hand had slipped their fingers into my pockets, and taken my purse.

My purse which had money in it and my keys.

I have the tones and look of a teacher. I tried to gather them all up and decipher who had taken my purse.

I asked them to open their hands, but they just giggled, opened their hands and ran circles around me.

No purse.

$?&!!&!

How do I get back to my hotel?

I don’t have any money.

What should I do?

Cobbled streets in Tunisia.

I thought a moment and remembered the man who I had shopped at. Luckily, I remembered where he was as I had spent at few hours there haggling, and drinking tea.

The fellow didn’t speak any English and I don’t speak any Arabic or French (only school French which didn’t really help…!) but somehow, someone was able to explain what had happened.

This man who had never previously met me before that day, kindly offered to lend me some money so that I could get back to my hotel.

The hotel had to break open my suitcase as the keys were in my purse AND I had to pay for a new room key, but whatever!

The next day, I went back to the market and I returned the loan and tried to give the man a tip but he wouldn’t take it.

I never forgot him.

Oh, and when I travel. I leave my suitcase keys in the hotel safe and leave my house keys.

At home!

EUROPE

A European Capital of Culture.
A European Capital of Culture.

Remember that time when I went to the Isle of Skye in Scotland and we ended up sleeping in the office!

I’ve been to Scotland many times. I like Scotland.

It can be rough but it has a charm of it’s own.

Now because I’m married, have a child, and a job as a corporate inter-cultural life coach, educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, as well as this wonderful lifestyle, travel, expat blog, at some point I have to start planning for travel.

keep-calm-and-don-t-worry-106

I have to get smart.

Now I’ve said it before but if you’re over 25 years old with jobs, families, responsibilities, and crossroads in front of you, you need to do what I do.

I live life to the full, I work hard at my office and on my blog, and I get creative.

Yes, creative.

I first went to the Isle of Skye in 2007 and at that time only a little over 2,000 people lived on the Island, and the Island had just one hostel.

That one hostel had just one double room.

Which I had booked.

I reserved and booked it exactly one year ahead as we wanted to go to the Isle of Skye at peak time.

In August!

The amazing Red Hot Chilli pipers doing their stuff in Glasgow. Photo@ Chris James.
The amazing Red Hot Chilli pipers doing their stuff in Glasgow.
Photo@ Chris James.

We had been travelling around Scotland and had already been to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Aberdeen, and Inverness and the Isle of Skye was to be a highlight.

We arrived in the early evening after crossing through the Cuillin mountains so imagine my surprise, when we checked in and our booking wasn’t there.

Scratch that.

Our booking WAS there but someone had crossed it out with a pencil!

No need to panic. The guy manning the desk was just a boy. We’ll go to the local pub and come back later.

Wonderful British cheese, Scottish oatcake & English cider © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Wonderful British cheese, Scottish oatcake & English cider
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

We came back a few hours later and indeed, our reservation WAS correct but the room was no longer available!

The manager apologised appropriately and promised to find us another room which he would personally pay for.

Well, he called as many establishments as he called.

He pretty much called the world, being that the Island is quite tiny, but no can do.

It’s August and High Season you see.

Go crazy!
Go crazy!

Not a spare room to be had anywhere.

Oh, did I tell you that I was travelling with my son. British law states that children cannot share sleeping space with adults who are non-family members hence, the private room!

In the end, the hostel made up the office and put in camping beds, and that was how we spent our first night sleeping in the manager’s office!

Are these the only stories I have?

Nope!

Books - Image Credit WhyDev

I have loads more but I’ll leave them for another day because in the next few weeks, I’ll be on the road again. This time there’ll (hopefully) be no room for disasters.

In November, I’ll be going to Bristol & Bath.

@Brunels ss Great Britain in Bristol.
Brunels’ ss Great Britain in Bristol.

I’m going to be the guest of Destination Bristol and I’ll be staying in a stylish rooftop rocket at the Brooks Guest House in Bristol. I’m going to be opening my intellect at the Bristol Old Vic. You know how much I love drama and theatre. Get a hanky and a glass of wine ready!

I’ll be chomping my way through an English fare of rabbit or lamb at The Cowshed and spending an afternoon shopping and daintily sipping and chewing Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel. Yum! Yum! I also have plans to go on a ship that changed the world and a historical walk through the town.

Bristol is going to be so much fun!

The Pump Room in Bath.
The Pump Room in Bath.

I’ll let you know what I’ll be doing in Bath once things are cut and dried but I’ll most likely be exploring the history behind the city’s spa culture, the 2,000 year old Roman Baths, peeking into Georgian England, nibbling on an original “Sally Lunn” bun and losing myself in the fashionable society of Jane Austen!

In October, I’ll be going to Poland.

Yay!

I won’t say anything more as I’m going to write a huge post about it next week. If you want more information, check out my post from last week LOL!

I’ll be writing all about my up-coming adventures in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Classical Warsaw.
Classical Warsaw.

This article isn’t sponsored and all opinions and the delicious Polish dumplings that I am sure to enjoy, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following events:

On 24.09.15, Travel Massive Berlin branch will be celebrating Berlin Food Week with The taste of travel at Facciola. If you’re a blogger or interested in travel, come meet us.

Until 26.09.15 only, the Wintergarten Varieté will be presenting The SOAP Opera show or Show SEIFEN OPER. Go see it before it’s too late!

From 28.09.15 – 07.10.15 the Bar Jeder Vernunft will be presenting, for one (1) week only, a festival of top British entertainment – Britain’s Best! Music and Comedy.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re going to Warsaw or Bristol or Bath, let me know!

September is going to be delicious!

Watch this space!

Remember that time when ...Tales of Disaster!

Have you ever had a travel disaster? Spill the beans!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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16 thoughts on “Remember that time when……Tales of Disaster!

  1. LOL Sometimes things don’t work out as expected. I was once hustled by a man in Cuba who lured me into purchasing $50 formula which is a lot of money in Cuba. Not even sure that he had a kid. What an exciting month you have in front of you, and what’s that about Poland? Can’t wait to hear more!

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  2. Yikes! the little kids stealing your wallet must have sucked big time! Yep! a lot of things can go wrong on holiday, but thankfully have not had bad ones that l can remember. We did have to pay for our Ryanair flight 3 times once from Rome back to London. First time, l mistakenly thought the flight was at 6.30pm – forgot about military time in Europe 😦 . The second day, there was a huge accident and we missed the flight again..and had to pay a 3rd time. We spent £650 plus total. That pissed me off no end, and it took me years to fly them again. Had l thought about it, we would have just taken another flight out of Fumicino the second day. Live and learn :-).

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    1. Thanks so much kemkem! Goodness me! That must have been the journey from hell. Yeah, Ryanair. I’ve never had a problem with them since I’ve only flown them perhaps just 4 or 5 times. Thank goodness. 🙂 But paying for a new flight not once but THRICE must have been horrid! You poor thing. It sounds very stressful. Thank goodness you eventually found your way home. 🙂

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  3. Oh man, this is all so bad! But the bad often makes for better stories than the good. 🙂 I had a really bad day in Athens, where I lost my phone, tried to get it and we almost missed our very expensive flights to Taiwan. It’s a much longer and stressful story than that, but thats the gist of it. 🙂

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  4. I absolutely agree – travelling can be really overwhelming!! Never heard of KemKem blogger, but I will definitely check the blog out. Oh girl, I’m so jealous of your amazing experiences. 9 countries? That’s a big milestone!

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    1. Thank you so much Agness! I’m so pleased that I was able to do this especially with all the exciting things happening right now, and one of the best things is travelling to Poland. I’ll be going to Warsaw for the very first time. I really can’t wait!
      p.s. Kemkem of NextBiteofLife is really nice. I met her and her Italian husband when they came to Berlin in 2014 and in Spain at TBEX this year! They are really down-to-earth people. I love meeting “real” bloggers. I’m hoping to catch up with a British blogger when I travel to Bath later in the year and I can’t wait to meet YOU one of these days too. 🙂

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  5. Haha, I love those stories, we stayed with someone through Airbnb recently and exchanged some random travel stories; they always seem to turn out OK in the end – no real harm done.
    It’s great that you’re going to Bristol – it’s one of our favourite cities, we went to uni there and lived there for a couple of years afterwards too. Such a unique and interesting city, have fun and I can’t wait to hear about it! 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much Amy! It really is good exchanging travel stories….when you’re at home LOL! And yes, most of them do turn out to be OK. In the end LOL! I’m so looking forward to going to Bristol. Bristol Uni is one of the best. I went to Durham & Chester but I’ve only been to Bristol for a night. On the way to Wales! Wales was brill. by the way. 🙂
      I’ve got a really good packed couple of days in Bristol doing the river things and lots of activities to do with history, culture and the theatre. All my favourite stuff. 🙂 🙂 I think November will be just the right time too. Close enough to get a wintry feeling but not too close to Xmas!!

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