The weirdest travel memories and most embarrassing travel moments is such topic that I could go on and on for ever! So it’s only a good thing that in this challenge you’re supposed to share only 5.
Hello there! I’m happy to announce that I’m alive again! Or still…
You have probably noticed that I’ve had all kinds of technical problems going on with my blog lately. I had to change my hosting provider, which caused many broken pages, disappearing images and actually, the whole blog disappeared for a little while. Luckily we managed to bring it back!
Most likely there are still pages that don’t function perfectly, but I’ll fix them as I go. After all, I have 400 posts to go through, so it’ll take time. If you find something that really looks weird, please let me know and I’ll have a closer look at it. Meanwhile I’m doing my best to produce new stuff on the blog as well.
As the past month has felt like a real joke to me, let’s continue with funny stuff. I received a challenge where I’m supposed to share 5 weirdest travel memories or embarrassing moments from my travels. The challenge has been going on within Finnish blogs for quite a while now, so I thought it would be fun to make it international, wouldn’t it?
The original challenge is from a blog called Adalmina’s Adventures. I received this challenge from a Finnish travel blogger and a friend of mine, Rami, who is the writer of ‘Kohteena maailma’ travel blog (a rough translation would be Destination: the world).
The weirdest travel memories and most embarrassing travel moments is such topic that I could go on and on for ever! So it’s only a good thing that in this challenge you’re supposed to share only 5. I added a little spice on my Finnish post; for the very first time in the blog’s history I published a post written in Western Finnish dialect. Too bad it’s not possible when writing in English.
But let’s get to the point! The very first one of my weirdest travel memories and definitely one of my most embarrassing travel moments—especially for a 16 year old, as I was at the time—is called…
1. Host mother’s toilet paper trip
We are living the year 2000, when I was 16 years old. Together with a couple of my friends, we went to England for a three-week language course. We chose the destination based on it’s nickname, ‘English Riviera’. The real name of the town is Torquay, and as you might have guessed, it’s located right on the South Coast of England.
On a language course you normally stay in host families, and so did we. We had just arrived to our new home, and the travelling had made me calling for nature really badly, so the first thing I did was going to the bathroom. For number two, you know.
Of course I didn’t realize to check the situation with toilet paper when entering the bathroom! So as you probably guess, it turned out there was no paper. Not any kind of paper. I called for my friend to ask our host mother for paper, but they didn’t have any in the whole house!
That incident forced our host mother to grab her bicycle and bike to the shop to buy some more toilet paper while I was sitting in the bathroom. I was a little bit embarrassed…
This is how I normally make my first impressions when I’m getting to know to new people! Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of this incident, nor do I have any photos from the whole trip, as my camera was stolen. We even had to call the police to the house because of it!
Hmm, I guess I can’t blame our host family for not staying in touch after our three-week language course…
I don’t have any photos from the trip, but I do have photos about toilet paper! This is my late boy Kilu, who sometimes went completely nuts with toilet paper. The quality of the photo sucks, because the photo is old, and taken with a crappy cell phone when… well, sitting on a toilet, I suppose.
2. I locked myself on a balcony in Spain
Let’s continue chronologically and jump to year 2011. I had just moved to Spain, and I had rented a nice flat near Estepona. The only bad side with the apartment was its’ location too far away from my office, so I had to find a new place somewhere closer. The apartment hunt in Spain was just a little bit nerve-racking.
Actually it was so nerve-racking, that one night I was so frustrated, that I had to go and cool off on the balcony. I was chatting with Daniel and told him I would be right back. Except that I wasn’t.
My balcony was on my bedroom, and it had a sliding door. Normally I was being super carefully with the door, but frustrated as I was, I slammed the door and… click!
There I was, locked on a 4th floor balcony in the middle of nowhere. I had no keys, no phone, no nothing. At least I had my clothes on!
For hours I was screaming and shouting for help in 3 different languages and got no reaction whatsoever. I was even thinking of climbing or jumping down somehow, as it seemed like I would be stuck in there forever.
What happened next? Obviously I survived somehow, as I’m now here recalling this silly incident. But who rescued me and how? You’ll find the answer here: Juliet without Romeo—Nightmare on a Balcony
This is the community where I locked myself on the 4th floor balcony. Yes, I know it looks nice, but my balcony wasn’t facing the pool, nor was anyone around in November to help me. The whole place was practically empty, just me screaming on a balcony in three different languages!
3. And then I was about to move in to a murder house!?
Quite soon after this balcony incident I found a few nice flats that I could go to see. Finding an apartment around San Pedro de Alcántara wasn’t easy—I went to see tiny little flats that smelled like piss with huge rents. One realtor asked me to pay security deposit before even seeing the flat! What the heck?
Of course I didn’t pay anything. And it was good that I didn’t, as it turned out that the whole flat didn’t exist. Nor did the address, actually. So I kept on looking, and THEN it happened; I found a real dream flat, and it was real! This time I went to check before contacting the realtor!
Something was really wrong with this apartment too, though.
For some reason I wasn’t allowed to go to view this apartment quite yet. ‘It’s too messy’, the realtor said. What freaking excuse is that, may I ask?
My situation was tricky, because this happened just before Christmas, and I was about to go home for a two-week holiday. I had to give away my current flat before leaving, and I didn’t want to be homeless. So I pushed and I pushed, and finally the realtor agreed to show me the flat. Even if it was a little bit messy.
A little bit messy??? I entered the flat and it was full of police tape, and all walls, floors and furniture was covered with this weird black stuff. What the hell has happened here, I kept asking.
Finally the realtor admitted that the previous tenant was a drug dealer. ‘But don’t worry’, he said. ‘He’s been taken to his home country and won’t bother anyone anymore’.
I can’t believe I actually considered moving in! I really was, until I started having these nightmares, where my mum or a friend of mine was visiting me, and then some crazy drug dude would appear on the door with a gun looking for some drug money or whatever. Finally I realized that no matter how wonderful the flat and the location would be, it just wouldn’t be worth being scared all the time. So I told the realtor I wouldn’t move in after all.
And luckily I didn’t. Very soon after a friend of mine told me that she had seen the flat on television news. A prostitute had been killed there! Apparently the black stuff that the whole flat was covered with, is such stuff the police uses for finding blood stains. Holy crap!
If you want to read the whole story, you can do it here: Moving Abroad? Be Careful When Renting an Apartment!
All effort finally paid off when I found my real dream apartment in this building. The flat was so lovely that I would be more than happy to live there still today! My ground floor apartment had a direct access to the pools, and the beach wasn’t too far away either.
4. Questionable train journey in Poland
It’s 2013. Daniel and I are just about to finish our two-week round trip in Europe. We had already seen Milan, Pavia and Como in Italy and visited Berlin. In Berlin we met my ex boss and colleague from Spain, and together we drove to a small coastal town of Kołobrzeg in Poland where we celebrated our friends’ wedding.
After the wedding Daniel and I needed to take a train from Kołobrzeg to Gdansk (to where I just bought flights, by the way). Train journey in Poland wasn’t quite as simple as it might sound…
First of all, on the day of travelling the queue at the ticket desk was so long that we were sure we’re going to miss the train in the first place. Or let’s put it this way; the queue was’t awfully long, it just didn’t move or get any shorter! Luckily, we managed to get our tickets on time—and luckily the woman behind the desk spoke at least a little English! But the tickets were super weird!
Rather than train tickets, they looked like two thin pieces of cardboard stapled together. We only knew we needed to change the train somewhere, barely knowing the name of the town. We had no idea what time or which train we needed to change to. And those cardboard tags called tickets didn’t provide us with much information. Good luck to us, little train travelers!
To be honest, the train didn’t even look like a train! It was like some weird half-decayed gadget that had been lifted on rails and hoped it would stay on them. The weirdest thing was that no one else got in! We were a little bit afraid to think where we’d end up to, without being even sure if it was the correct train (or-whatever-gadget-it-was). There were no announcements, no maps, no list of stations where it will stop. Some train station man just told us to get in, and we did. Because we didn’t know any better.
During the journey I just kept looking out of the window hoping to find signs for familiar-sounding towns and stations. Suddenly, the train stopped. In the middle of a field in the middle of absolutely nowhere. We were so sure we’ll get robbed or murdered or something. It was deadly quiet. No one else around. Just us. In a Polish gadget.
After a while, the gadget started moving again. Somehow we managed to change the train in the correct place and found our way to Gdansk and back home to Finland. It ended well, but it sure was a weird travel moment.
I’m not sure would I call this a train! This is the only photo that was taken during the train journey, and it’s not very nice one. Based on the look of our eyes and faces, Polish wedding is fairly exhausting…
Oh well, I’ve been fairly unlucky with public transport ever since, especially when living in Germany in 2014.
I spent one midsummer night at the bus station in Düsseldorf, when I was supposed to go to Switzerland, but the bus decided not to come at all! And only a couple weeks earlier I experienced a flight so horrifying that I thought it would be my last one…
But it wasn’t! Even if the plane landed in Brussels instead of Düsseldorf.
5. Damn, what a freezing night!
Just to prove you that silly, weird and embarrassing travel moments aren’t all in the past, I want to share a story from this year.
This year I wanted to start a new hobby, winter camping. But I wanted to start it easy, as I didn’t have much winter camping experience or a proper gear. So I thought staying in a wilderness hut in the middle of Koli National Park in January would be a great way to start a new hobby.
And that’s exactly what we did! It was supposed to be around -10 degrees, so it didn’t feel too bad. Seriously, it’s not bad at all for a Finn. After all, we had just spent a week in Vuokatti having sauna every single day, sometimes even twice a day, so we thought we were well prepared for a cold night in the forest.
Except that instead of -10 degrees, the temperature dropped as low as -30 degrees. And we did not know that the wilderness hut would be completely frozen!
Well, when we picked up the keys from the national park info, the personnel did warn us about
cold freezing circumstances. They also said that we would need to carry our own drinking water to the hut. There was a well, but it would be completely frozen. Luckily we knew that the hut wouldn’t be too far away from the nearest parking spot.
Except that we didn’t know the path to the hut would be blocked with snow and only uphill! Oh, and another funny thing happened; when we finally got to the hut, we realized we had left the water canister in the car. Oh silly us, that was so funny!
So after making the fire on the fireplace, we had to return to the car to get the water. We tried to melt snow for drinking because we couldn’t be bothered to go back, but it was -30 degrees. It wouldn’t melt.
We heated and heated and heated… but the hut didn’t get warm. The temperature inside the hut was around -25 degrees all night long, and even the water we carried from the car was frozen in the morning. And I realized there that my sleeping bag is broken! Oh, what a funny travel memory!
If you want to read the whole story about Daniel and I starting winter camping hobby in Koli, you can read it here: A Freezing Night in Koli National Park: Nice Try From a Wuss Hiker or an Unforgettable Extreme Experience?
This is one way of spending a Friday night in Koli National Park. My camera was frozen, our drinking water was frozen, we were frozen… Luckily we had a little dash of whiskey, it didn’t get frozen!
So, those were the weirdest travel memories and embarrassing travel moments that just suddenly popped into my head. I would have enough stories to tell even for another post, but let’s keep some mystery instead of sharing all of my most embarrassing moments with you.
After all, no matter how embarrassing or crazy these incidents feel at the time, after a while they’re just funny stories to laugh at and tell forward.
Or stupidities to warn others about. Like moving to a murder house. Don’t be as stupid as I am. Or was. Or nearly was.
As this is a challenge, I must name a few fellow bloggers to keep the challenge alive! So here we go, my favourite Brits: Rachel from Vagabond Baker, John from Continental Breakfast Travel Blog and Victoria from British Berliner! Share 5 of your weirdest, most embarrassing or just super strange travel moments with us, because we’d love to read them!
And of course, pass the challenge on for three or more fellow bloggers so that we can keep on laughing!
After you’ve posted yours, don’t forget to come back here to share the links on comments!
What kind of embarrassing moments or weird travel memories would you have to share? Grab the challenge or just share your story on comments below, I’d love to hear (or read) them!
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