Apart from common mistakes like booking a bus for a wrong date or not bringing enough warm clothes, I’ve also carried out a series of ridiculously stupid things. Some of them I’ve already mentioned on the blog, others not yet. I decided to only list down 5 to limit the embarrassment I might face. Again, all I ask is that you do not judge me, just laugh at me, I can handle that.
5. Getting confused with foreign coins one too many times
There have been moments where I’ve completely given up trying to figure out what I had. I’d just look at all the coins, stare blankly at them and have the cashier pick out the right ones. In Moscow, I attempted to pay a 50 ruble bill with a 50 cent coin. The lady looked at me like I was mad, said something sternly in Russian and proceeded to serve the next customer in line. It took me more than 5 seconds to figure out what I had done wrong. Here’s the thing, why do they even have 50 cent coins? That’s like, 5 cents I suppose and nothing ever added up to XX rubles and FIVE CENTS. NOTHING. I apologised in Russian (always learn how to say Thank You and Sorry in the local language, it gets you out of everything) and got a smile from the lady who probably said something like “Don’t worry about it” or “You’re an idiot” with smile. Regardless, it made my day.
4. Getting on the wrong tram, heading in the wrong direction
In Gothenburg, the trams and buses were incredibly well connected and efficient, but the thing about incredibly well connected transportation lines is that they tend to be a little complicated and require practice.
It happened on the afternoon I was to leave the city and I thought I had timed everything right. I would have made in time had I gotten onto the right tram going towards the central train station instead of the suburbs. It wasn’t till things started to look really really unfamiliar that I decided to check my map (it’s hard to remember all the names of the different stops when they’re more or unless incredibly unpronounceable). I got off at the next stop, crossed the tram tracks and waited for the next tram to come from the right direction. At this point, I had gotten over looking like a lost tourist and ignored the funny stares from local Gothenburgians (that is not what they call themselves, I made it up). I arrived just in time to watch my train leave.
3. Missing my ship from Helsinki to Stockholm
I knew that my ship was due to leave at 4.30pm, but I had failed to read the fine print because I thought it’d be like getting on a bus. Insert your favourite “OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME” facial expression here. As it turns out, you’re supposed to board the ship half an hour before the time of departure, not 5 minutes before it leaves as you do with trains and buses. I was on the tram as I watched the ship leave the docks. It was like watching a building burn down and not being able to do anything about it. I figured the next best thing to do was to run to the check-in counters and attempt to re-book a ticket for the next day. As I attempted to enter the building, I got yelled at by the cleaner who told me that the building was shut for the day (at 5PM! It’s like the Finnish are on a perpetual half day off). I was left in the rain and cold winds with my backpack trying to figure out my next step. Fortunately, my couch surfing hosts were kind enough to let me stay with them for another night and even cooked me dinner. I love them, I really do.
The next day, I made sure to get on the right tram, get off at the right stop, get onto the ship an hour before departure. I chucked my bags in my cabin, ran up to the top deck and watched Helsinki fade from view.
2. Eating a day old tuna sandwich, don’t do it, ever.
I caught a cold and a fever on my last day in Bergen, which prompted me to get more warm clothes as soon as I reached a cheaper country (thank you Germany). On my last day in beautiful Bergen, it decided to rain all day so I decided to stay in the hostel all day, I was too ill to move about anyway. I tried to nurse myself back to health with free tea someone else had left behind and fruit teas I had stolen from the hostel before. But when it came to food, instead of making myself something healthy and fresh, I whipped out the other half of a tuna sandwich I had made the day before, that had been in my bag all this time. It tasted great, there was cream cheese and cucumbers in it too. Who cared if it wasn’t kept in the fridge and was more than 24 hours old? My tummy erupted and it was the best day of my life.
1. I visited Moscow and completely missed the Kremlin
I don’t even know how this happened, how I completely missed an incredibly monumental building. I visited the Red Square multiple times during my time there and had assumed that they were the same thing. It wasn’t till I filled out a TripAdvisor review about St Basil’s and was prompted afterwards to fill one out about the Kremlin had I realised that, well, I hadn’t paid it a visit.
This is a good example of how little I know about the world, like seriously. First class idiot. I might have a degree but I have no idea what the Kremlin looks like. I learnt my lesson big time – do your homework, learn about the place. My only consolation is that I now have an excuse to visit Moscow again, something I’m already planning to do.