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Biggest Coincidence Ever To Happen To You in Europe

Biggest Coincidence Ever To Happen To You in Europe

Aug 18th, 2007, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,821
My story is only partly in Europe, but I'll tell it anyway.

I met a young Dutch chap, Willem L, in Amsterdam while I was trying to sell my boat. We became good friends. He helped me take my boat over to England, where I, again, tried to sell the boat, as I tried to reconcile with my "Practice Wife" and visit my kids.

I eventually returned to Holland, where Willem and his Italian buddy bought the boat from me. I lived on his barge with them for awhile before moving on with my life. My point being that I really knew this guy well.

Fast forward about a year. I'm in Mexico, working for the I.A.E.A. as a visiting expert. I am at the airport, meeting a colleague, when Willem L. comes walking out of arrivals. I fall over him with happy greetings, in both Dutch and English.

"My name is not Willem", he said. "You must be mistaken", he said. All of this in his distinctive Dutch accent. He even had on the same good luck bracelet he always wore. He turned abruptly, and disappeared into the crowd.

I knew this guy like a brother and I was NOT mistaken!

I have always wondered what sort of "secret mission" he was on, for which he had to deny his identity.

I heard later that he and his partner ended up in a British prison for smuggling hashish on the boat he had bought from me.

But perhaps that's another story.

nukesafe is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 11:43 AM
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Boy, these stories are great. I appear to have started something that will continue for awhile.

To the person who posted the story that was not from Europe, but from the US, I am going over to to the US board to start a similar thread.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 11:49 AM
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We have friends that live the other side of the UK (we are in Wales and they are in Suffolk). We try and get together once a year in the early summer. We tried several half-term holidays in a row to try and get together without success (one or other of us had committments) so we just went away one February to EuroDisney without even bothering to get in touch to see if they were available.

I suppose you've guessed already, but we bumped into them in Euro Disney!
AR is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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I live in a small town in Michigan. While in Rome with my sister and four friends at the time of the beatification of Mother Theresa, we were on our way to the airport, and our shuttle stopped to pick up a gentleman. He was a priest from Texas who was going to the airport to meet his mother who was flying in for the beatification. After some small talk, he asked where we were from and, when we told him, he said he had ministered at Holy Trinity Church in our town and ran each morning on our rail trail just a year earlier and would be returning the following year.

Earlier on the same trip, while riding the local train between Manarola and Vernazza in the Cinque Terra, a gentleman asked where we were from, and we found out that he was from Ohio and had traveled to our town to shop at a local shoe store that specializes in extra large and wide sizes.

As others have said, it is a small world!
travgina is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 12:53 PM
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In june this year, at the breakfast at the hotel Buenos Aires in my first day there, a gentleman called me by name. I did not recognized him and I did not expected that somebody will know me there. He was an engineer in a plant from Uruguay, where I was there ten years ago for a start up.
valtor is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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Sorry, I did not pay attention that the question was about coincidence in EUROPE !!
(As I am NOT from USA, for me is a biggest coincidence to meet somebody in other part than in Europe)!!
valtor is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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My latest stories were on the airplanes to Europe. Last February, out of PHL to Paris, we were on the plance with a fellow Fodorite! We had met at gtgs, but those were in Pittsburgh, and not Philadelphia.

The year before, again out of Philadelphia, but on our way to Rome, the last couple to board the plane were old friends we had fallen out of touch with. We ended up getting together in Italy, and they spent a night with us outside of Florence.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 01:54 PM
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Hungary 4 months ago - We went to the town of Eger and looked in some antique shops. Saw a plate that had the name "Berenzy" on it. My husband has an old friend whose last name is this. They haven't spoken in about 8 years.

Fast foward - Hubby called old friend this past week just to catch up. Mentioned our trip. It turns out that his family was from Eger since medieval times, so this could have been one of their plates!
kenav is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 01:54 PM
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This is cheating a little as it happened to my friends rather than to me. Every morning here they left to gether for work and as they came out their front door, they usually saw the young couple across the street leaving for work too. They were not particulaly friends but they would wave and go on their way. Later they were in Florence and one morning they were coming out of their pensione for a day's sightseeing and at the exact time the same couple came out of their pensione opposite! They waved as they did at home and then went to talk to them with the result they became good friends when they got back home.
Peteralan is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 02:07 PM
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We were in Venice in 1978 when John Paul I died. I went to get a newspaper and all the church bells were ringing. It was later we learned about his death.

We were riding a train between Krakow and Prague, sharing a compartment with four others. One was a holocaust survivor, an American now, who told his incredible tale of survival and a German doctor who was returning from a retreat.

We were visiting Portugal and one town we were to visit was Amarante. We were scheduled to arrive on a Sunday but changed it to that Saturday when we read about a special feast day. They had a four hundred year tradition on this Saint's Day for single men and women to exchgange bread in the shape of phalluses. Every where were breads of all lengths on sale. The Portuguese who are warm but a morose people were walking, parading, aand chatting, but rarely smiling, amid all this bread.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 03:11 PM
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Many years ago when I was in my 20's, I was on a trip to England with a group from my church. We had stopped in Oxford for lunch and sightseeing. After lunch, I boarded the tour bus and was waiting for everyone else to board (mostly old ladies...you know, like I am now), when I looked out the window and saw an old friend who had been in my Girl Scout troop bicycling past. I later found out she was a Rhodes Scholar studying at Oxford.
theflock is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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We spent a few days in Cinque Terre last year, and heard from my mother-in-law that a couple we knew were also in Italy. And I thought, wouldn't it be funny if we ran into them. At the same moment I had this thought, my husband was outside talking to them! They are fodorites (Caitlin and Albert) with a B&B in France (La Tour de Cause).

In the same area, we ran into two other people from our small city, who were both wearing t-shirts from restaurants in our neighborhood.

Cinque Terre is crowded, but not THAT crowded.
christycruz is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 03:32 PM
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How many of us have run into people we know on airport transportation?

I have had that happen a couple of times.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 03:57 PM
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Last summer, we were in the Munich airport waiting for our connection to Athens. We were three couples just chatting in our Southern accents. The man behind us joined the conversation telling us that he was on the way to Athens to spend a month at the home he had inherited when his Greek mother died. He asked us where were from in the States, and we told him the name of our very small town in NC. He said, "That is my wife sitting at the bar over there, and she grew up in that town!" Turns out she grew up on the street I live on now! She came over, and we had a good chat about her family who once owned a Greek restaurant in our town. When we returned home and told the story, many older people remembered her as a young girl.
martygnc is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 04:18 PM
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another "Biggest Coincidence":
I was traveling through Europe probably 17 years ago staying at youth hostels. In Zurmatt, I met a young lady whom I envited into town for a bowl of soup at a quaint resturant. I was from Minnesota - she was from Philidelphia, attending grad school in Rome. I described myself as an analytical science jock. She said she had just broken up with a guy who was an analytical science jock whom she had been dating at the U. of Rome. As she talked more about him, I realized I had met this guy and extended family skiing in Wyoming the year before. I had had breakfast each morning with this guy's mother who told me of her son's girlfriend problems he was having back at the U. of Rome. This really spooked the girl!
dengan is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 04:35 PM
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I thought you were going to tell me that you met the guy and married him. Now that would be a coincidence!

I don't blame the girl for being spooked.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 07:31 PM
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I love "small world" stories! There have been lots of "small world" threads on here over the years, I think the first of which I started about 1998, and grew to be quite long and then went into the black hole. Anyway, upon reading this topic heading I interpreted it differently and so will share that story which came to mind.

During June 1996 I was traveling solo in Italy. It was my second trip - I went March 1995, loved it and decided I had to go back soon. During the summer of 1995 I was traveling elsewhere in Europe and became friends with a few Italian guys and tried to keep in touch with them, especially since I was planning to visit their homeland in the near future. My trip was approaching and since Christmas I hadn't heard from any of them. I knew that they would be working away from home for a few months but hoped at some point I might hear from someone, but never did. Fast forward to my trip... I have spent 2 weeks in Venice, Florence, Rome and Sorrento. I'm back in Rome for the last night before flying home. That evening I call home to check in and remind my mother to pick me up at the airport. Coincidently, she tells me one of my Italian friends "A." just called there minutes before! So I hang up the phone and call A. at his home outside Sorrento (where I was 2 days prior!). He told me he had just returned home that day or the day before and decided to call me and say hello. I tell him I've been in Italy for 2 weeks and have a flight home the next afternoon. Rather than leave things just like that, he drove to Rome that night to see me off.

If not for me being in Italy at that time, and calling home when I did, and him calling me when he did - we probably never would have seen each other that night. What makes it the "biggest" coincidence for me, is that if not for these events a romance would not have blossomed and A. and I probably would not be married to each other today.

Sidebar to the story: Twice in the past few years, two of the other guys I met along with A. happened to call me (one when he was in the US and the other happened to come across my contact info while going through some papers). None of them had been in touch over the years and I imagine both were surprised when I told them I was married to their former colleague.
hamlet is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 07:57 PM
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On our recent vacation (there are several trip reports on this) we were shopping in Verbier, Switzerland at a shop and the lady there said that she knew us from somewhere. It turns out, she was on the same flight as us from NYC JFK to Geneva. She had just taken her son on a vacation to NYC. She had remembered us at the JFK airport because our son was running around making a scene as we had to wait over 2 hours for our flight due to weather delays. She was sitting right next to us there. And now we happened to randomly come into her store in the remote mountain town of Verbier... What a coincidence!

bkluvsNola is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 08:13 PM
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It was a Saturday morning and my sister and I were in Bellagio when she said, "what do you suppose John is doing today (my husband) and I said he is probably having coffee right now with Joe like he usually does every Saturday morning." Of course there was a time difference.

Well as we rounded the corner I heard someone call my name and there was Joe and his family. They were seeing Bellagio before heading to Milan and the plane trip home. Such a coincidence.

Another time in 1996 my daughter and I were having a drink in Vernazza overlooking the water and there were other couple we were visiting with when she said, "Mom these people are from New Zealand and they said they passed through Minneapolis once and only spent enough time to have dinner at "The Cherokee Sirloin Room" and guess what that is the restaurant of my husbands family relations. Small world.
eurogals is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 08:18 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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I don't think this is a coincidence, but it was pretty neat, anyway.

Last summer I went to Schwäbisch Hall Germany and stayed in a little hotel where I had stayed in 1990. A good-looing young guy waited on me at the desk. I said, "In 1990 I stayed here, and there was a sweet little bout about 3 or 4 who was playing in the lobby..." The young man gave me a big smile and told me that was indeed him.
Pegontheroad is offline  

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