Travel is exciting right? Different scenery, architecture, language, food and people – everything is amplified, even the hard times. While I think travelling is generally more than worth it, there are days when it feels like you’re ice-skating up hill, in your birthday suit, into an arctic wind. Here’s a snippet of those days with my top 15 travel mishaps in Spain.
1. Travelling 32 hours to get to Malaga airport, only to sit on a bus to Granada for an hour-and-a-half behind a man sniffing petrol. I swapped seats with my five-year-old to take the worst of the fumes.
2. Our family getting a vomiting bug while I was in the middle of my CELTA course in Granada. My vomiting partner had to look after my vomiting son while I was studying into the wee hours, quarantined, trying not to join the party.
3. Visiting Seville during July, staying on the outskirts and walking for kilometres around the city in 44-degree heat, which scarred our view of this wonderful city. Mental note: Seville is big and it really does get HOT in July.
4. Catching the bug and straining my neck after heaving violently for hours into a bucket.
5. Developing sciatica right after I recovered from the vomiting bug. For a month I could barely sleep or walk and my partner had to carry our load and organise our life.
6. In her frazzled state, my partner – who was coordinating our rapid departure from Granada to Oviedo – drank laundry detergent, thinking it was water.
7. Discovering my son would eat virtually nothing but patatas fritas during our entire trip.
8. Visiting the foreign exchange office and navigating my way through red tape in Spanish, for weeks on end, about visas and residency while understanding about 30% of what was said.
9. Being worried if we had enough money to survive while watching my partner and son’s visas expire.
10. Spending over a month searching for accommodation in Oviedo during the high-season to no avail.
11. Limping roughly 15 kilometres around Oviedo with sciatica, over a two week period, searching for work.
12. Launching into a full sprint to chase a bus where we’d left my son’s jacket after I’d presumably recovered from sciatica. My right leg collapsed and I hit the pavement hard, ripping my pants and tearing open both knees.
13. Finding out I could have seen the Sudarium of Oviedo – a piece of fabric tested likely to have been around the head of Christ (and thought to be one of the world’s great religious mysteries) – a week after the annual viewing had finished.
14. Having parents complain about me, on more than one occasion, after their child made up stories about me while I was teaching.
15. Finding my favourite city in Spain, Gijón, in a magnificent part of the country, Asturias, along with a great job and a school my son liked only to have a major family health scare force us to abort our year-long trip five months in.
Of course travelling is not always easy and we had some wonderful experiences. I really do miss Spain. On some days, however, I felt like I probably never should have left the beach in Byron Bay.
What are some of your more memorable travel mishaps?