Misadventures are still adventures

I still exist. I promise. It’s just that I’ve got this little thing called a dissertation going on. And a little addiction to bad vampire novels and the show Lie to Me. But I’ve got some posts I want to make. So, here’s one!

The best part of travelling is not necessarily the places you see - the monuments, churches or other wonders. It’s the stories you come back with.

When I got back from Ireland, people used to say “Tell me everything about your trip!” And I would blink a few times and mumble, “Um, it was really great. It rains a lot in Ireland. I drank a lot of beer. I spent a lot of money. I, um, kissed the Blarney Stone.”

Because I had been there for four months. I had lived there. You can’t just suddenly remember all of the details from any trip, let alone a long one like that, on command. So I told barely any stories in that first month I was back from Ireland. But I sure as hell have been telling them in the three years since.

Little things remind me of a funny time in Galway. A custom from home reminds me that they did things differently in Ireland. I don’t think I’ve shut up about Ireland since I left. I’m sure my nearest and dearest are more than tired of hearing about it by now. Look, I’m even posting about it again when this post isn’t even about Ireland.

This is about Greece. Specifically, the things that went less than smoothly on our trip last month. But it’s also about stories and adventures - well, misadventures, really.

Luckily for me, Chandra faithfully keeps a dairy, everyday. So she wrote me a list of our best stories and I intend to share them with you!

Day 2 - Heraklion, Crete

We stumbled out of bed far too early for a run.

“How can you be so talkative and cheerful in the morning?” Chandra asked me. If only she had known what was about to happen.

We got some odd looks from the staff, their expressions wondering what we were doing awake so early and why were dressed so strangely.

We left the hotel and ran down the road towards the beach. Our ten minute set was going well, but I was quiet. It was hot and having trained during the English winter, I’m not used to running in heat of any sort. Chandra, being her usual bouncy self, was really excited as we ran.

“Ooh, look! Mountains! Ohh! Ocean!” she said. I said nothing, trying to regulate my breathing and get through the set.

“Ooh, garbage!” Chandra said, as I ran around the garbage on the sidewalk. I turned and looked at her.

“I don’t see how that could possibly be exciting.” I said, my voice flat. So much for me being talkative and cheerful in the morning. That was the moment Chandra learned that when I’m annoyed, I use adverbs. She thought it was hilarious.

Day 3 - Athens

We Google Mapped our hotel in Athens so that we could get there from the airport. We were already late because our flight from Heraklion to Athens was delayed. We took the metro into the city and got off at the stop that was near our hotel, according to the map.

We get off with our bags and walk out into the Athens’ night. On to a street that seems less than safe at first glance and down right sketchy after further exploration. We quickly follow the map to find our hotel.

We arrive at the supposed address of our hotel only to find that our hotel is not there. Or anywhere nearby. It’s late, we haven’t eaten since lunch and we’re hot, lost and confused. Chandra goes into a nearby hotel to ask for directions. I wait outside with our suitcases.

“So, it turns out that our hotel isn’t anywhere near here,” she says as she comes back out. “It’s in the opposite end of town.” Google Map fail.

The hotel staff had Googled it for her, and found the same address as we had. But they knew it was wrong. They suggested we take a taxi to Plaka, where our hotel really was. A nice Greek man wandered by and helped us get a cab, and explained to the driver in Greek where we were going. We get into the taxi. I get a text from our friend who are staying in the same hotel asking if we wanted to grab dinner with them. I texted back yes, and that we’d be there in about ten minutes.

Thirty minutes later, we’re still in the taxi. The driver is going in circles and stopping to ask everyone on the street if they know where our hotel is. He speaks no English. We speak no Greek. We finally show him the number for the hotel and he calls it. They speak in Greek for a while.

Forty five minutes after we were supposed to be at our hotel, the taxi driver basically tells us we have to get out and walk because he doesn’t know where our hotel is. But, of course, we have to pay for the time it took him to not find our hotel. I shove the money at him, grab my suitcase and march away.

Chandra manages to find our hotel on a map and we head in that direction. Uphill. Rolling suitcases over cobblestones and through crowds of the slowest, oldest tourists I’ve ever seen. About twenty minutes later we finally spot the sign for our hotel in the distance.

“Hey!!” someone suddenly calls out. My eyes were fixed ahead and I had to look around for a bit before I spotted some people from our class wandering through the shops. They smiled and waved at us. I can only imagine the look I gave them as I said, “That’s our hotel. I’m not stopping!” and plowed past them.

I apologized the next day, after I had been fed, watered and slept enough to shake off my annoyance of wandering lost through a foreign city at night.

More misadventures to come tomorrow!

5 Comments

  • By Shaun, June 26, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

    Who knew getting locked in Pompeii would seems like childsplay a few months later? hehe

  • By Eleni, June 27, 2010 @ 12:30 am

    I was wondering where you’d disappeared to.

    It’s fun to remember little stories like these ones. That’s so annoying that your taxi driver just gave up. And Google Maps let you down! At least you got there eventually.

  • By Lea, June 27, 2010 @ 8:55 am

    Ooh, getting lost in strange cities is scary and annoying. I’m always apprehensive about going to places where I don’t speak the language because of it. At least you had Chandra with you?

  • By Sebastian, June 28, 2010 @ 12:11 am

    Wow, you’re AWFUL at finding hotels.

  • By Hezabelle, June 28, 2010 @ 9:13 am

    To be fair, the taxi driver LIVED there and didn’t know how to find it either!

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