It happens. Sometimes your best laid plans go awry, places disappoint, you lose something important, the weather stinks or you get sick while on vacation. Steve and I have been pretty fortunate on most of our trips and other than your usual travel delays, late arrivals and annoying time spent waiting in long lines for tickets or overcrowded airports or train stations, our trips have gone pretty smoothly. There have been a few exceptions, though. I’m also sharing some amusing photos from other trips that have had their less than pleasant moments though they don’t really reflect my worst travel experiences documented below which are too old for pictures!
Wet Leaf Peeping in New England
We did a week long “fall foliage” trip to New England in October 2005. Turned out that a hurricane moved up the coast and while it was no longer a hurricane by the time it reached Vermont, it decided to sit over the entire region and churn for 10 days. It poured rained every day – all day and all night – of our trip. The storms also knocked all of the leaves off early so most of the trees were already bare. All of our hiking plans had to be cancelled. We couldn’t go see the spot of Thoreau’s original cabin on Walden Pond due to the mud. Locals told us it was the worst foliage season they had seen in over 20 years. We also tried driving back through the scenic Berkshires of Massachusetts on our way to Boston to find the entire area covered in dense fog (i.e., no mountain views) and several of the roads completed washed out forcing us to find alternate routes.
Our last night in Boston, we were caught in a deluge coming back from dinner and were so soaked by the time we got back to our hotel that I had to throw away my ruined, warped leather shoes and pack my pants in a plastic bag so they wouldn’t mildew up my luggage. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time in our Vermont country inn room playing cards and drinking wine and generally being bored out of our minds or annoyed and uncomfortable when we did go out. This trip is due for a do over.
Jungle Ants in Zihuatanejo
We visited the Pacific beach side town of Zihua several years back and swore to never return. First, we were not impressed with the beach. The water in Zihua Bay was brown and muddy looking and not at all inviting for a swim. Also, the vendors walking up and down the beach about drove us out of our minds. The same person, selling the same crappy sunglasses and hats, coming by every 10 to 15 minutes to ask you over and over again to buy something. So, we started spending all of our time in our room, which had a nice big outdoor living room and plunge pool. I had noticed a trail of small black ants moving by the pool on our next to last day but thought nothing of it. Our last night, I was lying in bed reading (the bedroom had a/c) when I noticed a large red jungle-looking ant on the bed and swiped him away. Then another one. And another one. I looked up and jumped back in horror – the entire wall behind the bed looked like it was breathing. It was literally covered in hundreds of thousands of massive red ants that were raiding the nest of the black ants and were using the bedroom wall as their super highway. So, imagine thousands upon thousands of huge red ants, carrying the bloated white larvae of other ants. They then began falling all over the bed and furniture – a rain shower of ants and larvae.
Steve and I quickly grabbed our things and got the hell out of there. The owner tried to give us the room directly below the one we had just vacated, which not only had ants coming into it as well but a massive tarantula scurried across the floor when we walked in and I freaked. Needless to say, the owner finally put us up at another hotel but not before giving us a very difficult time and generally acting like a drunken idiot about it (this was quite late in the evening and it was pretty obvious he was soused). He even told us this meant an earthquake was coming (to date, no earthquake has hit Zihua). Never been back though I will say that Zihua did have nice sunsets.
Dog Poop in Barcelona and the Worst Allergies Ever
On our first visit to Spain, we visited Madrid and Barcelona. After thoroughly loving Madrid, I had such high hopes for Barcelona and in many ways it’s a lovely city with fascinating architecture and incredible food. I just couldn’t enjoy it. Shortly after our arrival, I began sneezing constantly. The sneezing then developed into full blown allergies from hell. Itchy, watery eyes, sneezing or constantly feeling like I needed to sneeze, horrible congestion (I was a mouth breather for 3 days there) and I completely lost my sense of taste and smell so all that delicious food and wine may as well have been saltines and water. Apparently the cedar was blooming out all over the city and it was trying to kill me. I had allergy meds with me but this must have been a super strain of cedar because it had no effect other than making me sleepy. I was simply miserable.
I tried to be a good sport and enjoy myself but on our second night there walking back through the dimly lit Gothic quarter after dinner, I stepped right into a big, goopy pile of dog poop and my right leg went flying out from under me. I caught myself on the wall but not before severely pulling a muscle or tendon on my right hip and groin area. I was now limping, in agonizing pain and couldn’t breathe. I pretty much gave up on Barcelona after that and just tried to make myself comfortable for the remaining day or two with Advil and Claritin and limped around to the Picasso museum and one or two Gaudi sites and bitched the whole time. Amazingly, we get on the high speed back to Madrid and about one hour outside of Barcelona, my allergies suddenly stopped and I was a semi-normal person again. Sorry, Barcelona but we were not a good match that trip.