So in Part One, you all read about the trail of destruction that I managed to leave from Moscow, leading to Greece and Italy, and unfortunately, I have to tell you that the dramatic events didn’t finish in Rome.
Having finished university in June 2010, myself and three graduate friends, Lexi, Hannah and Kat, decided to embark upon and inter-rail adventure across Europe for three weeks, where further drama awaited us, (as I am sure that many of you will have discovered if you have previously read Splendid Fred’s ‘The Europe Adventure.’)
Having spent 3 days in Athens, Kat, Lexi, Hannah and I were destined to board a ferry, which would take us overnight into Italy. Assigned a bunk for the night with our tickets, we waited until evening until we went to investigate our little cabin which would be our room for the night. In a small curtain-fronted alcove, three bunks lay squashed against each wall, with a very narrow space in between. As we drew back the curtains on each bunk in order to have somewhere to put our rucksacks and get ready for bed, I was amazed to discover a pair of feet sticking out of my bunk, the owner of which was snoring loudly! Speechless, I marched down to the ferry reception and explained that I had paid for a bunk that night, and there was no way that I was spending a fifteen hour ferry crossing wide awake. The receptionist assured me that she was very sorry, but that there was nothing she could do; I would simply have to ask the intruder to move, and if they declined, I would have to find somewhere to sit for the crossing!
Returning to the cabin, where the other three were in fits of laughter, I shook the woman and explained that I had paid for my bunk and asked politely if she could please move. She looked at me rather confused, but eventually relented, and I was therefore luckily given back my bunk for the night.
The drama only continued to follow us from there to our next destination: Venice.
We arrived in Italy via the ferry in the morning, and spent the best part of the day traversing through Italy by train, in order to reach Venice. Having arrived at night, without a clue of where we were going to get to our accommodation, Camping Jolly, we proceeded to wander around Venice…in the dark…in the middle of a thunderstorm. Eventually, a bubbly Italian man stumbled out of a building and called to us ‘hey pretty ladies, you come in out of storm.’ My natural instincts were telling me to decline his invitation, however, the weight of the rucksack and the rain trickling down my neck made me powerless to refuse, and the four of us followed the strange man inside. It was only once we were inside in the dry, that we looked around us and realised that we had wandered straight into a Gentleman’s only club.
There was a little jeering from the surrounding male populace within the club, and many apparently humorous comments in Italian made at our expense, but nonetheless, the owner was very hospitable, providing us with bottles of water and letting us wait until the rain had stopped before giving us directions, and allowing us to continue on our journey to Camping Jolly.
That was until Lexi suggested a girl’s holiday for six of us in Gran Canaria…
With Lexi, Sophie, Sade, Donna, Claire and myself heading off all ready for sea and sun in July 2009, we hadn’t even left the airport before the first natural disaster happened.
Bearing in mind the fact that none of us had ever flown with Easy Jet before, we didn’t realise that when you collect your tickets, you aren’t issued with a seat number, and therefore during boarding, seat choice is on a first come, first serve basis. How idiotic the six of us must have looked, waiting right at the back of the departure lounge, letting everyone else on first, thinking that we would be able to find six seats together no problem, just by looking at our seat numbers…’Oh’, exclaimed Lexi, ‘…we don’t have seat numbers.’
It was with some effort therefore, that the six of us scrambled around the plane attempting to find seats with at least two together so that we wouldn’t be completely isolated from each other for the three hour flight.
Failing in this attempt, I located a window seat near the back, and headed straight for it. Once I reached the row however, I realised that the man sitting in the aisle seat would need to move for me to get to the window seat. I then also realised, that the poor guy had two false legs, and there was no way that he was going to be able to move easily to let me pass, especially when he was attempting to amuse two twin three year olds at the same time. Left without a choice, I apologised profusely, as I was forced to effectively straddle the stranger, in almost lap dance type fashion, in order to get into my seat. I then had to endure the duration of the flight whilst one of the three year olds relentlessly threw crayons at me the whole way to Gran Canaria.
The final stage in this account of dramatic events following any destination that I choose to visit, is regarding my trip to Dublin with Lexi and Jacqui in August 2011. If you have already read ‘The Dublin Diaries’ featured in Splendid Fred, then I am sure that you will already be aware of what I am about to say…
Excited by the fact that we could fly to Dublin from Southampton, which is in close proximity to our various homes, Lexi, Jacqui and I arrived at the airport early, eager to get away. It was only during baggage control that the most humiliating experience of my life began.
Not only did the scanner machine beep when I went through, I then had to endure the most intense pat-down experience of my life. Not satisfied with running the hand-held body scanner over me, which beeped at my belly bar, the woman then proceeded to ask if I ‘possibly had a body piercing slightly lower down?!’
Um, no I do NOT thank you!
There was then a period of none too gentle grabbing all over my body, followed by me being asked to lift my leg onto a box in order that the security woman could pat down…other places. To be frank, this was far more intimacy than I had expected at the airport, and even more intimacy than would have been experienced on a first date!
Thankfully the ordeal finally came to an end. This combined with having to buy a bag from a vending machine when we arrived at the airport, because mine was too big, and the entire airport then having seen my underwear as we transferred my luggage from one bag to another, meant that I sulked all the way to Dublin, feeling slightly violated, whilst Lexi and Jacqui discussed the events in fits of giggles all the way to Ireland.
I did visit Austria during December 2011, which amazingly went by quite un-dramatically…unfortunately I don’t think that the same can be said for my next girly holiday which has been booked to Portugal for June 2012…