I know it has been a while since I wrote something. It was a conscious decision I made during my trip. It was kind of a crazy trip and I just did not have the strength to come back and write something every day. The only social media I was active on was Instagram. I did write a couple of articles but that was it. Even after coming back last weekend, I was fairly busy with back to back classes, project submissions and exams. For people who don’t know I am doing an Executive General Management program at IIM- Bangalore.
But don’t you worry. I have many stories and thousands of photos to keep you entertained for the rest of the year. But as I was wondering what should I write about today, I thought why not write about what went wrong during my 5-week Euro trip. It was my first solo trip (I will definitely write on that later.) and there were days when everything seemed to be going wrong. But would I trade those days for anything else? No way.
After all what is life without some drama and this drama was what brought out all kinds of emotions at the end of the day. Some were annoying while some were humorous. Would these incidents prevent me from traveling again? That would be a first. I don’t think any of my long term trips till date have been without some kind of drama.
- Getting Robbed in Madrid: So you have already read about how I ended up being robbed in Madrid. It was a really scary experience but I did learn a lot from the ordeal. Many people asked me what all did I lose? I lost around 60 -80 Euros in cash (not much since I was planning to withdraw the next day), all my credit/debit cards, my Indian phone SIM, my house key, an unused memory card, shopping cards and my Burberry purse (I think losing this is what hurt the most since this was a gift from my sister on my birthday couple of years ago. Yes, it was time to change it but I certainly did not want anyone to rob it.) Never ever keep all your cards in one place. I did have extra cash but no extra cards. Also I had to cancel my Seville plans because of this incident.
- Guess what happened: If you thought getting robbed was the most dramatic thing that happened to me, it wasn’t. Everyone who knows me well enough knows that I am a total klutz when it comes to gravity, i.e. I fall more than anyone I know of. I haven’t mentioned this to my family yet since I didn’t want them to worry and the only people who knew were my roommates in Madrid. So this happened on the 2nd day of the trip. I was in Lisbon and I had just climbed to the top of Santa Engracia church and I was busy clicking pictures. I didn’t notice that there was a small step around the edges and as usual, I fell down. There were few people around and they helped me get up. Consequences of not always looking where you are going: A scraped knee, few broken nails and I could not lift my left hand at a certain angle for the next 2 weeks. Dramatic enough?
- Tram experience in Lisbon: So if you have taken trams in Lisbon, you would know that these trams sometimes go on really narrow roads. If a car is parked in their path, then they cannot go ahead unless the car is removed from their path. On such routes, you can see people running to remove their car from the tram’s path. So I was on one such tram when our tram suddenly came to a halt. The reason being that there was a police car blocking the route and there were a couple of young people surrounded by the cops. There were many people screaming in Portuguese. When we enquired, our tram driver told us that the young people were caught robbing and the cops were here to arrest them. I didn’t understand the logic of why it was taking so long to arrest them, but we waited there for around 30-45 minutes so that we could move. But it was not happening and finally, our tram driver gave us walking directions to the next tram stop from where we could catch the tram from. I found this incident really funny. It was fun watching too many people screaming all at once.
- Expensive private transfers: I visited two beach towns, Algarve in Portugal and Mallorca in Spain. Even though they are both gorgeous places, I had to pay for two separate expensive private transfers to get out of both these places. When you are travelling alone, private transfers can take a lot of money from your budget. I was not confident enough to take a BlaBla car in one of these places since I was a solo female traveller.
- Smallest bed in Amsterdam: I will definitely write a review on ‘MEININGER Hotel Amsterdam City West’ but those who have been following me on Facebook know about the smallest bed ever. And I did pay quite a bit of money compared to other places for this room. I have no clue why I had to pay so much for this crappy place. It was right next to a train station and I did not sleep properly for the 3 nights I was there.
- I did not like Barcelona: If anyone asks me what was my favourite place this time, I would have many answers. But the only place I did not like was Barcelona. It was too crowded and touristy and I just could not understand why. I am definitely not writing it off and I will definitely give the place a second chance. But for now, I did not like Barcelona. I may have chosen the wrong time to visit Barcelona.
- Bus ride from Strasbourg to Vienna: I took an overnight bus from Strasbourg to Vienna. Even though it was not that bad for others, I am a light sleeper. I could not sleep properly and we kept stopping every two hours for bathroom breaks. Also my legs were swollen the next day and I remembered why my parents don’t let me take long bus journeys in India.
- Going almost broke in Prague: Having no credit/debit cards is really a pain in the ass. Many hotels usually use them as a guarantee and I had to give money as a guarantee in some places. But in Prague, I kind of miscalculated the amount of money I had left. Prague was my second last stop and I was flying out from Frankfurt. Since I had no cards on me, my brother in law transferred money a couple of times before Prague. I thought I had enough but then I realised that after paying the hotel bill, I would just have some money to buy food on my last day in Europe. I did not have a contingency fund and my brother in law did a last-minute transfer so that I would have some money just in case. I did have a use for that money though. Anyway, I scared my mom really bad at this point and she has already told me that she is not letting me go solo again.
- Missing the train in Nuremberg: Initially, when I booked my tickets, I just thought of flying into Lisbon and flying out from Frankfurt. I had no set plans. It was only when I was planning the trip, a friend convinced me to go to Vienna and Prague. When I checked to change my port of exit, the difference I had to pay was quite high. So I had no other option than to go to Frankfurt. I had already been to Frankfurt before. So I decided to take a bus from Prague to Frankfurt. There were no direct buses and I had to book a bus to Nuremberg and then catch a train from there. There was only a 10-minute gap between the two but the bus conductor told me that I would get there on time. But the border Czech police took quite a bit of time at the border and I ended up missing my train from Nuremberg. I had booked my tickets from Prague to Frankfurt for 25 Euros. However, I ended up paying 50 euros for a last-minute ticket to Frankfurt. So you see where the contingency fund came in handy.
So those were the bad experiences. But that was only 5% of the entire trip. There were so many good experiences and I will keep writing them as and when I have time. I know some of them could have been avoided if I had been more careful. But as they say, you cannot have everything in life.
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