Travel mistakes : tell us yours !

Jan 12th, 2016, 05:16 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,317
After months of planning for our Lake Como vacation we were all set to go---plane, car, 8 nights at the fabulous Hotel Tremezzo. Lake all mapped out for boat trips to all the interesting little towns.

So interesting that we left the last night open, sure that we would find a small, beautiful inn during our adventure to enjoy our final evening.

A few days before our departure, not coming up with anything that rang our bell, we asked at the desk for a suggestion. The woman spoke Italian to her co-workers and they all started laughing. Didn't we know that it was Monza weekend and there wasn't a room within 300 km? BIG MISTAKE!

After the laughter died down she asked if we had ever been to Bergamo? She could get us a room there in a business hotel right in the center. OK, let's go.

Excellent suggestion. A larger city but we were right at the pedestrian part with shops & restaurants galore. Good thing we were driving a Smart car---they had a drawer to put it in. Our mistake turned out to be fun and the shopping put a good dent in the budget.
TPAYT is offline  
Jan 12th, 2016, 05:25 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Yes, Welkenraedt. I had forgotten the name.

Another mistake?

We visited a friend who had recently moved from Atlanta to London and lived in a flat in Hammersmith. We strolled with her through town, and down in the tube we noticed hand-written posters with the message "tomorrow unofficial industrial action". Our American friend asked us what it would mean. I told her "You are the native speaker. For us, English is a foreign language. If you don't know we don't know either". And we were too lazy to look up the dictionary. This was our mistake.

Because the next day was our last day. Our flight back was from Heathrow at 21:00, so our plan was some more sightseeing in London, then taking the tube to our friend's home in Hammersmith, grabbing our luggage and taking the tube to Heathrow.

In the early afternoon, we decided to leave central London with the tube. However, we found the station crowded and the tube not running. And we learned that "industrial action" meant "strike". All lines were down except two.

O.k., plan B. We took one of the operating lines to Victoria Station and planned to jump on a bus to Hammersmith. But the buses would not even stop because they were so full.

So, plan C. We went to the taxi stand, only to find a line of at least 300 people.

What now? A plan D was developed. We took the operating subway line back northwards to the junction with the only operating east-west-line. We changed to this one, not after a long time standing within the crowd on the platform until we moved to the edge of the platform from where we could board. We rode the tube to a station in the western suburbs and there we found a cab that brought us to Hammersmith.

Meanwhile, our friend had returned from work and drove us with her car to the airport. We arrived 5 minutes before boarding closed, completely soaked with sweat.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2016, 05:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 47,661
Ever put sans-plomb in a gazole car? I wouldn't advise it, especially not the morning you're planning to drive to the airport for a flight back to the States.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 12th, 2016, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 686
My last trip to Western Liguria, 4 months ago: I had really wanted to see Cervo, a pretty, tiny coastal village, was staying in Finale Ligure and taking the (very infrequent to such small sites) train. It was Monday morning. I needed to change trains and accidentally changed to the wrong one, actually backtracking. So I decided to go with the flow and visited briefly lovely Albenga and its medieval quarter. Good thing that I did because it turned out the next day, the one I had intened to devote to it in depth, was going to be its Patron Saint Day, and so full of celebrations, people on the street and tourist sites shut. Afterwards I moved on to Imperia, an interesting town further south, and had a wonderful time. So in that case my travelling mistake turned out for the better.

But the next day, Tuesday, I DID make it to Cervo, a very beautiful village. Initially I had intended to hike in the hills above but it was so windy I gave that up. I was stuck: the next train back to Finale was hours ahead and I had forgotten to buy bus tickets for the coastal bus, it was lunchtime with no Tabacchi in sight. SO I started walking south, to the next resort, Diano Marina, where trains stop frequently. It was not one of the most inspiring walks, with too much concrete and not one restaurant/gelateria open (end of September, out of season, end of lunchtime) but I did get to walk on the beach, which was good, windy without too much sun but that was actually interesting as the rest of the week had been bright and sunny.

But these were the only wasted few hours in a 2-week trip (of which one was spend in Western Liguria, the other in Torino) that was otherwise quite fabulous.
Keren is offline  
Jan 12th, 2016, 07:12 AM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 49
Not having paper maps because wifi was spotty and often available was our number one mistake. Driving, finding specific hotel or train stations, etc. becomes MUCH trouble when road signage is not so good or is confusing. Stop at gas station for directions-no common language so lots of pointing. Usually end up zig-zagging up and down every street until we run across something recognizable. See lots of unexpected sights that way.
Not having local currency in hand when arriving in a new country. Can't hire a taxi without visiting a cambio to exchange whatever in our pocket for next country coinage-high expense!
Not have a Euro in my pocket to pay-to-pee at the Budapest train station.
Not knowing there is no restaurant to while-away the hours at the Frankfurt airport after checking in. What a punch in the nose after not eating since the previous night's dinner. (What can they be thinking?)
Next time bring: sunscreen wipes; a pillowcase to have something soft and smooth when bed linens are undesirable; paper maps; a coffee sieve to make coffee in the room from real coffee and not Nescafe; cotton not nylon undergarments for hot weather sightseeing would have been much more comfortable, after 6 hours walking around in the hot sun.
APBaron is offline  
Jan 12th, 2016, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,277
Mistaking a man holding out a hot pie to cool, as someone giving out free samples ...... I took it!
stevelyon is offline  
Jan 12th, 2016, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 49
Some of these stories made me laugh so hard I had tears in my eyes. So funny!
bjl is offline  
Jan 12th, 2016, 04:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2,585
Yep, nice stories ! and it brings back some other mistakes from myself..

5. I also put gazole in a gas car. Stopped after 400 m. I was 1 km from rental office, we switched cars and lost 2 hours, after a long flight with kids, nice...

6. Rented the car at the wrong airport - happend at least twice... in Germany (office woman very nice and helpful) once in Milano or Pisa. Office woman couldn't care less.

7. booked 2 separate flights. One arriving to Roma one leaving from Roma. 1h30 min time inbetween to get the flight. Perfect. Then realized I arrived in one airport and left from another...

8. Went to octoberfest without reserving a room. We left and started looking for a room - no internet at the time.
We stopped at Garmish, arrived at the same time that another couple (just before actually). We were asked if we wanted the room. We said yes of course but the room was given to the others. We realized the question was expecting a tip/bribe as answer. We slpet on their parking...
Whathello is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 07:45 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
It was not my mistake, but my companion:

Our car was stopped at the Swiss border. Our driver rolled down the window and, without saying a word, the customs officer extended his hand to collect the passports. However, our driver took the hand, shook it and said "Grüezi!".

It took us an hour to get through.
traveller1959 is offline  
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