3 Close Shaves while Travelling

Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. To all travellers out there, don’t you agree? Things go wrong all the time while travelling, and we start to pride ourselves as “spontaneous” and “being able to deal with the unknown” :)

Regardless on whether you are a ‘plan-in-advance’ or a ‘go-with-the-flow’ traveller, shit always hit the fan at any available opportunity. Below are a few close shaves I have had while travelling, some due to my own stupidity and others just due to Murphy’s Law!

1. Almost missed a crucial ferry from Fethiye to Rhodes 

Spending just 11 days in Turkey and Greece (I know, even 11 days in Turkey alone is short) meant a hectic schedule with no room for errors. Especially with the recession and strikes going on, as this led to even more infrequent ferry schedules. Hence, missing one connecting ride would create a domino effect and affect the rest of our Mediterranean adventure!

My friend and I had originally planned to stay a night in Fethiye, Turkey before taking the ferry to Rhodes, Greece. We checked in to our hostel with no hassle and proceeded to stroll and take in the city’s sights. By chance, we walked past the pier and out of the blue, my friend asked, “Hey Yidian, should we go and confirm our ferry ride for tomorrow?” Frankly, this was an odd question as we have not confirmed any transportation in our six months in Europe before.

Lo and behold! Our scheduled ferry to Rhodes the next day was cancelled (without any notification) and we had to catch the ferry leaving in either an hour’s time or a few days after (equivalent to a lifetime in an 11-day express trip)! Of course, we chose the former and decided to ‘divide and conquer’. My friend rushed to the travel agency to finalise our amended itinerary, while I dashed to the hostel to grab our belongings before we rendezvoused at the pier. We reached the pier with 15 minutes to spare, and some Turkish Liras leftover. Being kiasu (afraid to lose) Singaporeans, my friend stood watch over the luggage at the pier, while I ran to the nearest store to deplete our supply of Turkish Liras with kebabs (duh), biscuits and soft drinks!

SAM_4676 Our purchases with the remaining Turkish Liras :D

fethiye The only sight we saw of Fethiye – the pier!
(Photo credits to loveundwanderlust, my travel mate)

2. Just caught the train at Antwerp within a hair of a second

Somehow, the Champions League final caused hostel prices to skyrocket in many cities – so we settled for a day-trip in Antwerp, before spending the night in the quiet university town of Leuven. We deposited our backpacks at the train station’s lockers and proceeded with the main reason for us visiting Antwerp: Chocolatier-hopping (DelRey, Goossens, Pierre Marcolini, Burie, G-Bastin)! Once our tummies were satisfied, we vaguely explored the Fashion Museum and The Stone, a castle located on the riverside.

Time flew by and while we are at The Stone, we realised we only had 30 odd minutes to spare before our train to Leuven departs. BUT WAIT! I have not bought any chocolates from my favourite chocolatier yet! And there was no chance in hell that I am gonna  leave this ‘Chocolate City’ without buying any home! Once again: divide and conquer. Two of my friends proceeded to the train station to collect our backpacks (remember, it was still in the lockers), while another friend and I niftily manoeuvred the streets and traced our steps back to DelRey (that was my favourite chocolatier, btw). We quickly paid for our purchases, sprinted to the train platform and saw the relieved faces of our travel mates in-waiting when we came down the escalator in the nick of time. We grabbed our backpacks, hopped onto the train and just a few seconds later, the train left the platform! Oh, and it was funny to see the train conductor giving us a wry smile after witnessing the frantic rush :)

SAM_0138 I risked missing the train for this hot chocolate!

Hot Chocolate from DelRey, Antwerp Which tasted better in the store somehow ;)

3. Lost track of time at the Giant’s Causeway 

Being both a nature and history buff, I couldn’t decide between the inspiring landscapes of the Giant’s Causeway and the walled city of Derry. In the end, my friend and I opted to purchase a full-day tour of both places, spending half a day in each location.

Like an ordinary day in Britain, the sky was overcast, raindrops kept falling on our heads and the day started slow and gloomy. However, while on the shuttle bus from the visitor centre to the Giant’s Causeway, we were simply enthralled by the beauty that unfolded before our eyes: Hexagonal basalt columns jut out at varying heights, sizes and angles, creating an impressive rock formation that stood tall against the crashing waves of the sea. “Look there! Check this out! See that rock formation!” With fingers pointing in all directions, we signalled to each other the various photo spots where we could add to our already-bursting camera memory card.

“Should we go there next to take photos?” “Wait! Our tour bus leaves in 10 minutes!” We suddenly realised that we were about to miss our tour to Derry! With that, we quickly ran to the shuttle bus stop and informed the park ranger of our plight. Unfortunately, we were told that we had just missed the shuttle bus and the next one was only due to arrive in about 15 minutes :( Luckily for us, the ranger was really nice. He kindly radioed his colleague situated at the bus stop, and instructed him to notify our tour bus driver to wait for us troublesome Asians! Thanks to that, we still managed to board our tour bus. Needless to say, we hurried to our seats with a sheepish look, while averting the disapproving eyes of our fellow tour mates ;)

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland Stunning views at the Giant’s Causeway, yea?

SAM_7769 One of the many photos we spent much time taking :D

Apparently, most of these events happened due to our own actions as opposed to force majeure. So maybe, I shouldn’t blame Murphy’s Law at all ;) Regardless, I learnt from these close shaves that there are always rectifying course of action – so the next time shit happens while travelling, just relax (as best as you can)!

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