‘Life is either an adventure or nothing at all.’
Touring a foreign country brings with it a whole jackpot of adventures. Some of them include being lost in translation, being lost on the map, scary run-ins, mind-blowing hotel rules and the list goes on. These adventures within an adventure add tremendously to one’s experiences and as a wise person once said, experience is the best teacher.
In this post, Imma go through three of these adventures that I’ve had, all on a trip abroad.
Number 1: Soup Time. Destination: Istanbul
Alright, Imma start with the most heartwarming adventure.
So, our hotel in Istanbul, namely the Dosso Dossi Hotel had this concept of Soup Time at 11 pm every night. This was quite an interesting thing as neither me nor anyone in my family had ever come across a dedicated meal time for soup before so we decided to give this a try.
Now, we had begun exploring the Old City at sunset owing to flight timings so by the time we’d finished our ‘Old City Walk’ and had our dinner, it was around ten in the night. After dinner, we decided to check on shopping destinations and buy some souvenirs, before returning to the hotel around ten minutes before Soup Time.
Before I begin about the Soup Time, here’s a wee weather update on Istanbul: We visited Istanbul in the month of April and the night temperatures were quite chilly at the time, especially for someone who comes from a place that doesn’t get much of a winter. So, two hours of walking in this weather was enough to make me wanna cuddle up by the fireside and soup sounded like the best idea.
The soup was arranged in the breakfast hall of the hotel and the fun part here was that the hall was dark. The lights from the reception were the only lighting available and honestly, the darkness with the diffused beams made the whole experience more enjoyable. Also, there was only one other person who had come for Soup Time besides my family and I, so the place was quite empty and the solitude felt great! It gave the vibe of returning to a forest cabin and enjoying a hot meal after walking through snow to gather firewood and was rather poetic. The experience reminded me a lot of the poem ‘Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost.
So, every night, the hotel had a different flavour of soup and with the darkness, it was hard to make the flavour out by looking at it so I asked one of the waiters about the flavour. The guy gave me one smile, told me to hold on and dashed into the pantry. I thought it would take him a while to return so I started taking a spoonful of soup when the waiter jumped over a counter, toppled a few trays, skid to a halt and with a smile, uttered the single word, ‘Broccoli.’
My mum and I couldn’t stop giggling at the waiter’s determination to let me know the flavour of soup once he’d accomplished his mission and returned honour satisfied to the pantry. In fact, the rest of the meal was finished in between uncontrollable giggles and keeping our voice down was a task in order to not disturb the other tourist in the hall.
With this experience, I can tell you that nothing beats a big bowl of soup mixed with laughter and a waiter with a mission he chose to accept. All I can say is, God Bless that waiter and the Broccoli soup. It was actually the best soup I’ve ever had.
Number 2: The Station Escape. Destination: Paris
This one is a thriller on the way back from from Disneyland. So, during our trip to Paris, we had a full day planned for Disneyland and after a magical day in the happiest place on Earth, we returned at a time close to midnight.
We got off at the Auber station which was a short walk away from our hotel but at an hour so late at night, the station was empty till the exit floor. We were still reeling with the day’s excitement when we got to the ticket check and the moment I crossed the gate, I ran into a completely wasted bloke who walked up to me and started mumbling something. This sent a total wave of panic as the guy kept approaching and there was no one else at the station so we broke into a sort of a run to get to the exit with this guy waddling behind.
Now, stations in Paris have a long way from the tracks to the outside and the way out requires climbing about 300 odd steps or an escalator. We lost the bloke after climbing the first flight of stairs but we didn’t stop till we were finally out of the station, panting yet safe.
It took a while for us to walk back as in all our frenzy, we had missed the turns for the escalators and taken all the steps out. It was one jittery end to the ball at the stroke of midnight.
So, that was a tale as old as time including a chase and a whole lot of panic cardio.
This reinforces the fact about being alert while travelling abroad as you never know what you might run into.
Number 3: Lost in Translation. Destination: Rome.
This one is for the laughs. So, our trip from the airport to our hotel in Rome was quite a long one, considering we got off the bus one stop earlier and took quite a long time to find our hotel with the help of a very kind lady who provided directions and helped us find the place.
With all this walking to the hotel, we all were absolutely famished and dinner was the only thing on the itinerary at that point. The restaurant in the hotel was fortunately still open so we made our way there immediately after dropping our bags in the room.
Once settled in the restaurant, we were almost immediately approached by the waitress but the only catch was that she didn’t speak English and the only thing I knew in Italian was how to say ‘Good morning’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Good evening’ and a cuss word.
With that info, we’ll move forward. Ordering food wasn’t much of a problem as we managed by pointing to things on the menu followed by my thanking statement in Italian but the problem arose when the waitress said, ‘Acqua luscious o gassata?’
At this point, I’m pretty sure that no pleasantry would do the job and cuss words will get you nowhere but in prison so for a good ten minutes, the poor waitress attempted to translate her question. She was the only waitress around and the chef didn’t speak English either so it was quite a ride. All until she made a suggestion by saying, ‘tradutorre.’ and pointing towards my phone.
Now, Google translate came to the rescue from a phone at 1% charge. Why no one had thought of this ten minutes earlier is beyond me but finally we understood that she was asking if we wanted sparkling water or normal water. At the end, all of us, including the waitress had a good laugh about it.
So takeaways from this experience: the significance of Google Translate, Knowledge of new Italian phrases followed by a lovely course of pasta and lasagna.
E la scena!
That’s Italian for (And, scene!) hehe.
And that is a wrap!
Until next time,
P.S. My toy salamander wanted to say goodbye. He’s Bruni, the little guy from Frozen two! ….Hehe.