I have a feeling I’m going to hype up this little trip of mine the more I talk about it, so I’d like to start with what went wrong. Because things always go wrong.
We thought our sixteen-hour overnight train would have food, water and wifi. It didn’t.
Every time we ate out in Amsterdam we were the only ones eating. We either couldn’t figure out the right time to eat or the Dutch don’t eat, they drink.
I turned two loads of laundry blue. The second one wasn’t even mine.
We gave ourselves twenty minutes to walk back to our boat while visiting Hydra, a small Greek island. Apparently, that walk takes exactly twenty minutes because the ship had just left land. We sprinted—still in our swim suits—and managed to jump and make it on board. (When we got on, our souvenir photos were waiting for us).
We got locked out of our apartment in Prague twice. The second time a Czech-speaking neighbor and his yapping dog had to help us.
By the end of the first week, both KJ and I had accidentally used a men’s bathroom.
We had a few rough check-ins. In Rome, no one was at our hotel and we had to wait several hours for them to show up. In Prague, we were (unknowingly) the late ones. Our host called us and said we had to hurry if we wanted to pick up the apartment keys. To make it, we left a tour early, caught a cab to the train station, got our backpacks from the lockers, climbed the hills of Praha 3 and tried to find the apartment, which we were not able to do. We had to call our host for help, who was the perfect opposite of understanding.
We had some close run-ins with donkeys in Santorini. At several points, I had to press myself against a wall to get out of their way.
In Switzerland, we had a similar issue but with mountain cows. (Yes, these were just regular cows, only we were on the side OF A MOUNTAIN. In the Alps! Is this only impressive to Midwesterners?). There was a stubborn cow standing in the middle of our path, making intimidating “I ain’t going nowhere”-type eye contact. Later, a whole herd of cows came moving toward us, forcing us to scoot off-trail on a steep, gravelly hill. After you, cows.
It took me several days to find an Athenian pharmacist willing to play Potential Symptoms Charades. (Boo seasickness, yay medicine that lets you do the things your inner ear hates).
We took a BOSU fitness class in all Czech. That actually went well. What didn’t go well was me walking into a gym with a strict “no street shoes” policy. As I worked out, stepping up and down, the little dirt pile around me grew and grew. I felt like Pigpen.
After successfully sneaking into a four-star hotel’s rooftop pool deck, I snapped a lounge chair on my hand.
To get wifi at night in Riomaggiore, Italy, we had to lean over a flower box and into a window for the one network we had the password to.
We took a boat to a remote beach on Santorini, not realizing the beach didn’t have a dock. We were let out in chest-high water and handed our backpacks over our heads to carry to shore.
On our last hike of the trip, we missed a vital turn and accidentally climbed up a mountain that’s 2100 meters above sea level and several hours from the closest bathroom.
Oh, and KJ almost missed a flight on the way there and back. The flight attendants had closed the door to the plane when she arrived at her connecting gate in Philly, but wouldn’t you know it? That little charmer got them to open it back up for her.