That awkward moment when… Most awkward travelling experiences

As discussed in an earlier post, life is full of awkward moments – which is why I chose to share some of mine.

Here are a few choice highlights of my awkward travel moments.

Awkward travelling moments

Awkward travelling moments

4. Heights

This is probably the one that springs up most often: my crippling fear of heights. Funnily enough, this hasn’t ever stopped me attempting to climb tall things (including the Sydney Harbour Bridge). I seem to forget just how bad my fear is when I’m safely at ground level looking up at something that doesn’t look that big at all until, inevitably, I’m clinging to a hand-rail for dear life shakily passing my camera to a friend to take photos while I ‘enjoy’ the view.

Though I managed to precariously scale the Scotts Monument in Edinburgh, the Campanile in Venice, and even sat through an agonisingly uncomfortable drink at Manchester’s Cloud 23, Cologne cathedral and the St Sophia cathedral bell tower in Kiev both defeated me.

The rooftops of Venice from the Campanile

The rooftops of Venice from the Campanile

3. Overnight trains

I love overnight trains. There’s something so magical about them – like being in spy novel or maybe an episode of Poirot – but they definitely pose opportunities for awkward situations. On my first overnight journey (Moscow-Kiev), there were two incidents: a creepy old man a little too interested in my forthcoming female friend and a second enthusiastic man who heard us speaking English and rushed over to play us an English song on his phone – a very loud hymn – at 5am.

On the return journey, a family who had been designated tickets separated from each other decided to try and share the tiny bed across from us. This was a ridiculous idea and probably the reason I woke up at around 2am with the family’s youngest son sat on the end of my bed, tickling my feet.

Tickling my feet.

It was not OK.

2. Being drawn in Yaroslavl

Living in Russia, there were awkward moments at every turn, but none more so than this.

My landlady’s friend was an artist, and on meeting her for the first time, she remarked on my ‘interesting face’. Naturally, I was flattered and confused. She asked if she could draw me sometime. Having decided a free portrait would make a great gift for our mums for Christmas, a friend and I went over to her studio.

There were four other people there. And they were there to draw me.

Turns out, the woman ran an amateur evening art class, so I sat in the centre of the room for two hours, while four complete strangers attempted capture my interesting features.

At one point, the Titanic theme tune came on the radio.

My time in the spotlight

My time in the spotlight

1. Accidentally locking a Polish woman in a cupboard

It’s exactly as bad as it sounds.

Wandering around Malbork castle without an audioguide (the batteries were charging, and no, there wasn’t a replacement), we had taken to opening doors at random to find our way around. Finding a door with a key in the lock, I tried to open it. I wiggled the lock and tried again, before an angry woman on the other side of the door starting shouting in Polish. Naturally, I assumed she was telling me I wasn’t allowed to through the door. I ceased trying to open the door but the banging and shouting and anger continued.

Suddenly, a curator in hysterics ran in from the next room and opened the door to reveal a tiny, furious old Polish woman in a storage cupboard. One curator continued laughing, the other probably never laughed again.

We then continued into the next room to find it was a dead end, and so had to walk back out past the old woman. Horrendous.

Without a doubt the most awkward travel moment in my life.

Malbork castle - and its many cupboards

Malbork castle – and its many cupboards

What’s your most awkward travel experience?

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8 responses to “That awkward moment when… Most awkward travelling experiences

  1. I was on the night train from Moscow to SPb in January and at one of the stops in the middle of the night, some guy decided to pass his time in the queue to get to his bed by fondling my feet. Creepy as.

  2. This is without doubt a totally indecisive piece on travel. i feel that you defer your lack od knowledge by using quips and ‘humour’ (questionable) to stem the bore.

    • It’s a shame you didn’t like the post, but thanks for taking the time to read it all the same.

      Please feel free to write a guest blog entry – I’d be more than happy to post it on the site.

  3. This is great and absolutely hilarious. My favourite awkward moment would have to be in Norway where I was complacent about toilet technology. Didn’t think that the toilet in the park would be advanced enough to know we hadn’t paid the toilet fee and it locked my fellow traveller traveller inside where it went dark and water poured everywhere to wash the floors and walls. Needless to say she was shocked and scared. Had to run to find a park attendant to help us unlock the toilet and get her out.

  4. Pingback: Trip to the world’s largest castle | Continental Breakfast·

  5. In Austria when my friends and I were 18 and enjoying first holiday on our own. We were woken at about 2 am to the sound of my friend being serenaded outside her window by one of the waiters from the hotel. She was trying to get him to shut up and go away without other guests hearing what was happening but they had all heard. Breakfast the next morning was very embarrassing. She wasn’t interested in him at all but he was very keen!

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