We’ve been quite fortunate to have many fantastic adventures this year. But, sometimes during travel, things aren’t easy, fun, beautiful, or amazing. Sometimes they are just hard, or uncomfortable, or scary. Or sometimes they are only funny later. after the moment has passed. Here are the travel moments we could have done without for 2015.
4. Heraklion Airport
As we finished our time in Greece, and got ready to head to Turkey this summer, we headed to the airport in Heraklion, Crete. We didn’t have too much trouble checking our bags and security was a breeze. So what was so bad? The tiny airport was packed to the gills with people. And I mean packed. We had to ease sideways and through crowds of people to move anywhere once we got through the security lines. We did luck out after several tense minutes of slowly pushing through people when we found two open chairs in an alcove near the bathrooms. We were able to spend our hour we had to wait near the bathrooms, where there was also a small amount of space for D to run around. This is one airport we would skip if we return to Crete.
3. Toddler tantrum in bear country
Our next travel moment we wish we could forget was D’s tantrum in the middle of bear country. After getting up early to drive to the other side of Yellowstone National Park to join a ranger lead hike, we made it about halfway through a three hour hike before D, the one and a half, decided that he was no longer in the mood to hike or listen to the ranger. He has been restless for a little while, and no snacks, toys, or distractions were working to make him happy. He started wailing, so we had the fun decision of staying with the group of about 20 other people for another hour and a half with our miserable toddler, or walking just over a mile back to the trail head by ourselves through an area of the park that was known to have bears. And we did not have bear spray. Well, after some tense discussion that was yelled over the screams of our son, Z and I decided to walk back. Z carried a yelling D on his shoulders as we walked, and pointed out that no bear would come anywhere near a six and a half foot tall creature making noise like that. And he was right. We didn’t have any trouble with bears, and this was definitely one of those moments that is a lot better as a story than it was in the moment.
2. Dells Family Sickness
On a family trip to the Wisconsin Dells in August, we stayed in large rented cabin with over 20 family members. Two days into our vacation, one person was feeling ill. By morning, I was also feeling sick, as was my mother-in-law. Over the course of the next 4 days, almost every single person (adult, child, and toddler) was sick in some fashion. It was not a pretty sight or experience for anyone. I think we bought up the local Walmart’s stock of ginger ale, pepto bismol, and gatorade. We’re hoping our next family vacation will be much less eventful.
1. Party bus ride in Cappadocia
This adventurous and stressful travel moment was recounted in detail in this blog post, but the short and sweet version is that after being picked up late by our scheduled airport transport bus, our anxiety steadily increased as time continued to tick by and we continued to pick up more people on our mid-sized bus. Our driver declared we were full, then put on some bumping party jams at an ear-splitting level, complete with flashing lights in the interior of the bus. At roughly 2:30pm. Finally convinced we would get to the airport with a few minutes to run to our flight to get back to Istanbul, we started to relax. But, that did not last long when our driver stopped outside a small grocery store and went inside, after locking us dozen or so passengers in the bus. We also enjoyed watching him dig through the ice cream cooler outside the store before someone pulled open the window and yelled that we needed to leave to catch our plane. He eventually returned to bus, when everyone’s anxiety was palpable. We made our flight, but I used a large amount of cell phone data looking up alternative transportation, just in case. Although it’s funny to describe now, at the time, I was quite worried.
So, our “worst” travel moments really weren’t all that bad. Most were much worse in the actual moment, but now, looking back at the end of a year, they add to the story. It also makes me even more grateful for all the amazing travel moments we had this year. Our “Best” travel moments of 2015 will be recounted in the next blog post.