I’m sure everyone has a few horrible memories of traveling, we all do. Crowded airports, late planes, missed planes, leaving something behind. It happens, I try to let it go and move on, I don’t want it in the memory of my lovely holiday, whatever it was.
It’s the funny times, the hilarious things that happen that make me smile wherever I am and I’m thinking about some one or some place.
Here are a few stories of funny things that happened to me or to friends of mine. I hope you find them amusing:
My old neighbor, Ruth, went on her trip of a lifetime with a girl friend back in the early 80s. They toured England and Scotland. She had so much fun, but said there was an “incident” in a castle B&B in Scotland. She told me that she and her friend had considered themselves lucky because they got to stay in an actual historical castle! They went to bed that night in a very nice room and were awakened early in the morning by a low moaning sound. Scared to death and upset that no one had warned them of a ghost, they got into the same bed and held each other until daylight; at which point they discovered that someone had left the bedside radio, just slightly turned on………..
My first trip to England was an emotional one for so many reasons. 9/11 had just happened, we were meeting cousins that we didn’t know existed just a year before; and then going to see the village and church where so many generations of our family had lived was very emotional for us. After the family reunion, we picked up my arriving mother in-law, Jean, and headed south to Land’s End. On the way we stopped at a lot of interesting places and Stonehenge was one of them. Jean had been there before on a previous trip, so decided to stay in the warm cozy car and write postcards. It was cold and windy so Marcie and I got about half way across the parking lot and decided to go back to the car to get our gloves. Jean was in the back seat with the keys in the ignition and the radio on. Coming from Southern California she naturally had locked herself in, can’t be too careful. When I tried the door handle the alarm went off, people were stopping and looking to make sure everything was alright. Jean got up and tried to reach the keys, but got stuck between the seats! At this point we all started giggling, which made it hard for Jean to get to the keys. We were laughing so hard tears were streaming down our faces. Jean couldn’t move forward or back and being 4’11”, couldn’t quite reach the keys either. Somehow she was able to get one of the windows rolled down and I had to climb in and start the car to get the alarm to stop blaring! Every time I hear “Stonehenge” the image of Jean stuck between the seats and us laughing our heads off is the first thing I think of!
So, long before I got my first chance to go to England, Jean went with her friends 6 or 7 times. Her friend Bobbi, told me a story about one of their trips over when they did a driving tour. The first thing I should tell you is that these ladies are artists, so they made a beautiful hand lettered sign for the back of the car window that read “Have pity, American Driver”! Bobbi is the one that I talked about in one of my earlier blogs; she got all of her travel clothes in a thrift shop so that she could throw them away and use the room in her suitcase for things that she bought, clever idea! She also brought her oldest, most worn out underwear. During a day of travel they would usually pick a place ahead where they wanted to stay that night. Then they would stop a few villages away from the designated spot at the Tourist Information shop. For some reason on this particular day, they didn’t get to make arrangements. It started getting late in the day and they had no place to stay when they came around a curve on a country road and saw a gorgeous manor house hotel. They decided it was getting late and they would just splurge and stay in this exquisite inn. So they got their bags up to their room, did a quick clean up and went down to the dining room for a bit of dinner. When they got back to the room an hour later, they discovered that the hotel maid had come into the room, unpacked their clothes and turned down the beds. This would have been really special, but Bobbi went into the bathroom and found that her worn out underwear had been carefully hand washed and hung up to dry on a rack. She was mortified!
As you can tell, my mother in-law has a great sense of humor. On a previous trip she took my middle daughter and her cousin to London and then on a bus tour. Although the girls were 18 at the time, Gramma didn’t want to let them out of her sight in a foreign country. They happened to be on the tube at rush hour and if you’ve never been, it is an experience. You can be packed in like sardines and it’s a little daunting to get on or off. So of course they were coming close to their stop and she was getting a little nervous about all three of them getting off together in the middle of all these people. A kind woman on the tube said “you just have to push your way through dear”. When the train slowed, Jean took it to heart. Pushing the girls before her, saying “coming through, excuse us, we need to get off” in a raised voice. According to the cousins, when she finally got to the door, she turned around to the people in the car and, waving her arms around, said very loudly “God Bless us everyone”!!
When we finally got to stay with my cousin Linda in Sussex, we were eager to learn the way that normal, everyday English families live. We seriously wanted to immerse ourselves in English culture and just be like regular English women. So to that end, Marcie and I were really excited when Linda asked us if we’d like a hot cuppa. We stood with her in her kitchen, positive that finally we were going to experience a real English cup of tea. We both leaned in expectantly as she put on the electric kettle of water, got out the teapot and cups, cream pitcher and sugar bowl. She laid out spoons and saucers and a plate of little cakes. We waited, holding our breath for the final ingredient, the magic English tea and strainer. She was looking at us like we were nuts and then she reached into a canister and pulled out three tea bags! We did in fact have a real English cup of tea, I guess we were expecting Jane Austin to make it!
I would love to hear your humorous travel stories, please post in comments if you can think of any you’d like to share. Looking forward to hearing from you:)