While there are many things I would DO again, these are five I would definitely NOT.
- Staying at a seedy Paris hotel
“But it was a great location!” …….if you are a cockroach and want to gallivant around the Eiffel tower.
As most of these stories begin, my husband and I decided to take a trip to Paris. We also decided we didn’t need luxuries, only cleanliness and a kick-ass location. Cue tripadvisor.
We found a small hotel RIGHT next to the Eiffel Tower, and it was only 98 euro a night. I was skeptical at first (if only I followed my gut) and dove into the hundreds of reviews. All were positive. They couldn’t say enough good things about the rooms. Clean but small with a great location. Check, check, check.
We decided this was definitely a great deal, and everyone else were idiots for reserving rooms much farther away for triple the price.
It was almost as if it were too good to be true…
We arrived in Paris and Just like out of a movie, the cab stops right in front of the worst looking building in the city.
The room was literally a bed with maybe a foot around all sides. The tv was the size of a small computer monitor attached hospital style to the wall, and the shower was a corner. Like, an actual corner with a shower curtain that would stick to your legs and body as your tried to clean off your regret from having been so stupid.
Oh yeah, it wasn’t clean. The smell was awful and there was no choice but to leave the window open in 50 degree weather or suffocate. A large roach sauntered mockingly across the dingy walls.
In that moment we learned that fake reviews were a thing.
At least I got this ok picture?….
- Climbing the Eiffel Tower
Another story from the same Paris trip as the Hotel la Roach.
Too add to the already joyous experience we were having, we decided to travel with another couple. They wanted to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and never having done that before, we thought “Sure, why not.”
We get there, and the line to go up was of course quite long, so it was decided we will walk the steps of the Eiffel Tower instead. I was outvoted and out numbered.
Today, I would have given a firm middle finger, walked away and sat at a café and ate all the patisseries I could. Sadly, back then I wasn’t that strong.
The first few flights were ok, but the novelty quickly wore off and I wished for death. 328 steps later (yes, I actually remember. I burned those numbers in my brain), we reached the first floor. I thought my torment was over, it was not. The numbers kept climbing until finally I reached step 669.
I will admit I did have a feeling of great accomplishment and the views were magnificent, but I will never, EVER, do that again.
Behind that smile is immense regret and self-loathing.
- Hiking with Birkenstocks
We were visiting my husband’s family in Switzerland several years ago and they decided it would be fun to go on an easy hike. I learned there are no easy hikes in Switzerland.
Being the great athlete I was, I only brought a pair of Birkenstock sandals. My husband and his family insisted I would be ok, that we would only be going down an easy path meant for old people and children.
I believed them. Again, so much regret.
As we took the cable car up the MOUNTAIN (they will tell you it was a hill), I noticed no one else in the cable car were wearing sandals but legit hiking shoes. I was again told it was ok, and they were going down other paths. Oh yeah, my husband and his family were wearing sturdy walking shoes.
I got out and saw the path I was to walk down. And by walk down, I mean walk down a steep slope along a narrow, pebbled and very rocky path. I was climbing down a mountain in f#*$en Birkenstock sandals.
All my husband could say was “Oops!”
I have to give a shout out to Birkenstock here, three hours later (yes, you read that right) my feet were not bloody stumps but actually pretty ok. I really don’t know how I survived making it all the way down or didn’t twist an ankle. I will never know as I will never try it again.
See my birkenstocks? See the rough path? See way down below? THAT is how far down I still had to walk…Those cows are definitely throwing me some serious shade.
- Amtrak Fail
This is another one of those “Don’t believe everything you read” type regrets. When my husband and I were first dating, we took the train from Indianapolis to Chicago. That in itself was an adventure as the tracks were crumbling and there was only one train there and one back in the evening.
We had a wonderful day in Chicago and I was really looking forward to having dinner on the train back to Indy. Our tickets said there would be a dining car. I believed them.
We board at 7pm and off we go. I ask the conductor how far up the dining car is and they make a funny face and inform me that there was no dining car on the train.
The train back to Indy is 4 hours, incase you are wondering.
My husband still makes fun at me for the scowl I made. I was pissed. You don’t mess with my food!
Resigned to my fate of hunger, I pulled out what little food I had on me. A small, already half eaten bag of peanuts and 5 peppermint tic-tacs. It was a great feast had by all.
I have no pics of that trip, but I do have a picture from my most recent trip last month of me feeding a little bird. This will have to suffice.
- Not bringing emergency snacks everywhere
Back in college I was involved in a scholarship program at a small, Catholic university. We had two retreats a year, and the first one I ever went on was an experience I will never forget.
We were going to spend three days at a convent. Now, if that doesn’t already sound like fun, just wait!
We ate a late breakfast and promised more food once we arrived. Well, once we arrived after a 2.5 hour bus ride there was no food provided. There wasn’t even any water. There was nothing but hours of boring lectures we had to listen to.
At first it was ok, but as the hours went on and there was still no food or drinks, the 100 or so college students started to get a bit curious what was up. Stomachs started to rumble and people were getting hangry.
By 5 we were famished and still waiting for the promised food. “There will be a great dinner, just wait!” our director kept telling us. We shouldn’t have believed him.
During one of our small breaks I had one pack of crackers. I never felt more like an antelope surrounded by lions than that moment. Having mercy, I shared my crackers and my small group ended up eating one cheese-it each.
The dinner ended up being a type of Seder meal. was 9 pm at this point. Remember, we haven’t eaten or drank ANYTHING since breakfast and are now expected to have one small piece of meat, half a small boiled potato and a few other small, small food items on a plate and eat them one at a time. It was horrible. The whole thing took over an hour to complete with us literally getting seven bites of food.
We were then told that was our “big” dinner.
The group leaders quickly realized that if they didn’t do something fast, there would be a legit riot of hangry college students. Left over matzo was already being fought over like it were filet mignon. Finally, miraculously, God answered our fevered prayers and around midnight pizzas arrived.
I swore I would never be snack-less again, and so far I have succeeded.
A young, college student me at another similar retreat. See how happy I look? You can see my eyes screaming for salvation.