It Came from the Chat: You Lucky Travelers
On Monday's Travel Talk Web chat (held most Mondays at 2 p.m.), we honored St. Patrick's Day by asking travelers for their luck o' travel tales -- that is, what fortunate things happened to them on the road. It was refreshing to hear happy, instead of horror, stories.
Here are five of our favorties:
One person's nightmare might be another person's luck. We were caught in the British Airways wildcat strike a couple years ago. We were on our way home from Guernsey, and due to new security regulations, were not able to check our luggage straight through and had to take it from Gatwick to Heathrow airports. My husband overheard senior BA staff telling first-class passengers that all flights had been canceled. We were on the Heathrow Express, with our luggage, before the general announcement was made to the thousands of stranded passengers whose luggage had already gone through security. We received three extra days in London ALL at the expense of BA. In addition, because we are Executive Club members, we received 150,000 miles as an apology. We still remember our very lucky free weekend in London.
From Luck o' the... Portuguese?:
My first morning in the hotel dining room in the Azores I met a casually dressed middle-aged couple who spoke fairly good English. Turned out the husband was the equivalent of a cabinet secretary in the Azorean government, and he and his wife were on vacation. By the end of their stay we'd become friends. The husband gave me his business card, insisting I drop by his office as soon as I arrived on his island the following week. This I did, and he set up an appointment for me to meet with one of the Azores's leading poets. I've seen all three of these friends on subsequent visits to the Azores. On the same trip, I also met another government official who was grocery shopping in an open-air market during his lunch hour. I was struggling with my halting Portuguese, and being fluent in English, he volunteered to interpret between the merchant and me. I became friends with him and his family, and saw him when he came to the U.S. on business a couple years later.
This October, we were in Hawaii for our honeymoon, leaving Maui to fly to Kauai. My husband decided to not put my bathroom bag into the trunk and left it behind the car. We drove away without it. Luckily, we had stopped nearby for coffee and, while there, someone had found it in the parking lot and called me. This reminds you of the importance of using luggage tags with your current phone number.
From Luck in France:
Twenty years ago, I was a third-year university student studying in Avignon, France, and had to have an emergency appendectomy, which caused me to cut my trip short. I took the normal speed train from Avignon to Lyon, then barely made the TGV fast train to Paris in time for my flight. I didn't know I needed to buy a first-class ticket to ride the TGV, but the conductor just looked at me a moment, then handed me back the second-class ticket without comment. I reached Paris not knowing the airport was an hour away. By now I was exhausted, having gotten out of the hospital the day before. I walked up to a taxi and asked how much the fare was. I was 25 francs short. He saw my face fall and said, "Whatever you have will be enough. I remember when the Americans liberated Paris." Sounds like a fake story, but it is the honest-to-goodness truth!
From Luck O' the Irish:
We were in Ireland a couple of Junes ago and my daughter and I (she at the wheel) were exploring north of Galway toward Westport. The day started gray, and by the time we were in a really scenic, virtually unpopulated area, the skies opened up. The road was little more than a paved track, but no cars approached -- until a small truck came our way. Pulling over to let it pass, my daughter backed into a ditch, and there we stuck. The truck didn't notice and kept going. No more cars, only two houses in sight. We went to the one with smoke coming out of the chimney. The older man who opened the door barely spoke English, but he called his daughter, who went out to the road with us and waved down her husband, who was working in a field up the slope. He got his car, attached a rope and managed to drag us out, with no damage to our rental car. Off we went, to friendly waves all around, none the worse for our little adventure.
What fortunate things have happened to you on the road?
By Andrea Sachs |
March 20, 2008; 6:59 AM ET
Tales from the Road
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