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Amusing travel stories

I am in the midst of going through vacation photos and came across one that brought back an amusing, and almost embarrassing, memory.

When my husband and I went to Germany/Austria/Italy in 2018 I promised myself that when we went to a restaraunts I would, at least one time in each country, order something completely out of my character. On our last evening in Italy I ordered spaghetti w/black cuttlefish sauce. Oh my was it good!!!! However, I failed to realize the black sauce would stain my lips, teeth, and tongue.

Thank goodness our apt. was close by! I didn't open my mouth and utter one word until I could brush my teeth (and lips and tongue).

What's your stories???

Posted by
1512 posts

I asked the concierge at the hotel in the Marais for a dinner recommendation nearby that was Provencal style, and he and the owner proceeded to have a heated tête-à-tête that I couldn't follow very well. They turned back to me and asked if southern French was enough or did it have to be strictly Provencal. I said I trust them - so long as I'll be able to have a pastis I'll be happy.
They gave me the address and with the help of a shopowner on the same block I eventually found the unadorned low-key exterior door to a place that turned out to be a Michelin-starred hidden gem.
The man at the reception desk eyed me coolly and asked me what 'maison' had made my arrangements to be there, and I told him the name of the hotel although I had not thought to have them call ahead. He very graciously pretended to leaf through his book on the podium and made a little show of finding the right note and exclaiming, "Ah, oui!"
This dinner was a dream - it included the best ris de veau I've ever had, the presentations were almost too beautiful to eat, and the dessert course was a summery southern triumph - a large martini glass with a raspberry liqueur granita covered with five different kinds of fresh berries garnished with mint. It looked like a gourmet magazine cover made just for me.

This was the kind of Fred-Plotkin-pleasure-activist meal where the staff were enjoying making and presenting the dishes as much as I was savoring them. And to gild the lily, the check was presented on a tray with three miniature classics of French patisserie, as though they were providing the dessert equivalents of a Citroen scale model car as a parting gift - or maybe a final flourish of a magician - Is this your card? Wow.

Posted by
23 posts

During the RS Best of Scandinavia Tour, our guide let us break for an hour in Roskilde, Denmark, to grab some lunch before touring the cathedral. Two gentlemen on the tour paired up and decided to venture off on their own. The time was tight, and the pickings were slim in Roskilde. Imagine their relief when they passed a large window with several kitchen workers hard-at-work behind a counter. Proud of their find, they entered the double doors and sat down at one of many open tables. The kitchen workers gave them a few surprised glances. "We must have beaten the lunch rush," they thought. After a few minutes of sitting, it became clear that there was no server on duty. The men therefore approached the counters and asked the ladies where the plates were (surely, this was self-serve). To their chagrin, one kitchen worker piped up (in her best broken English), "Sir, this is a high school cafeteria!"

Posted by
110 posts

Brian, Love it!

Mine is from years ago in Tokyo, My husband is a chef and wanted to experience the best Japanese cuisine for one of our dinner's. It was called "Kaiseki". The restaurant was in the top floor of what looked like an office building. We set down to a 12 course meal---all being tiny portions. I was fine till the server set a bowl in front of me that I could not decipher. I asked my husband what it was and he said a "bottom feeder". It looked totally disgusting so I moved it around with my fork hoping the server would think I had eaten some. My husband ate his--of course--so the server came by and took his bowl but left mine. I was having a heart attack just thinking about putting this in my mouth. Finally I took a bit and just swallowed it. Yuck! Yes, she finally took my bowl and we were able to finish the meal. Several 100's of dollars later!

The problem was we were still starving when we left, so we then went to a teriyaki bar and proceeded to get some real food.

On the same trip we went on to Hong Kong----there my husband tried Duck Tongue's------that time even he only managed one bite.

Posted by
5482 posts

Was traveling with a friend and her sister. London Ireland and NI.

For whatever the reason on road trips I’m always the designated driver. After we’d gone through the Sally Gap and visited Glendalough we were on a back road and my friend insisted she get to drive some. I glanced in the rear view mirror. Her sister in the back seat rolled her eyes and made the sign of the cross.

I stopped the car. Got out and got in the death seat.
I crossed myself and off we went.

Everything was fine until we approached a small town. The name escapes me but a soccer match was taking place on the local pitch. Cars were parked on both sides of the very narrow road. People walking by. I held my breath as we slowed and inched forward.

My friend won’t admit it but she has horrible peripheral vision so her sister and I knew disaster was inevitable. Sure enough her side view mirror hit a walker. We stopped, got out, apologies, no ire, embarrassment, and then she gave me the keys with the very stern admonition “ NOT ONE WORD EVER!”

That was 30 years ago. Still not mentioned. still find it amusing and remain the designated driver when we meet up.

Posted by
68 posts

I was on a business trip to Tokyo in the 1980s and was taken to dinner by 2 female colleagues. We ordered sake and we each had our small cup of it. When they toasted "kampai," I emptied my glass (this is what we did when I lived in Taiwan and toasted "ganbei"). They gaped, giggled behind their hands, and then slowly sipped their sake. Although the two toasts both mean something like "dry glass," they took it more literally in Taiwan.
On another trip to Japan, I was at dinner with local coworkers again. We we eating street food from several vendors, and it became apparent that they wanted to see what it would take for the foreigner to refuse to eat something. I am a fairly adventurous eater, but I finally refused when they offered the barbecued sparrows on a stick.
Last one is actually my friend's story, also in Japan. He went to dinner alone, felt confident ordering by pointing to the model of the meal he wanted, and was offered what he thought was a complimentary appetizer. His chopstick skills were so so, and it took some wrangling to get the little eggroll up to his mouth. As it went into his mouth, he realized it was a damp washcloth to use before his meal. The other diners were quite amused.
I am not sure why all my stories are about food in Japan.

Posted by
34 posts

My sister and I were on a trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. When we were packing, we decided to leave behind a couple of older T-shirts and a sundress. We were at the airport when someone from the hotel came running up with our clothes. We had to explain that we did not want to take the clothes and we thanked them for their trouble. (It was very nice of the staff; fortunately it's a small airport.) Next time we'll leave a note!

Posted by
6098 posts

First trip to China in 2000, we were a group of four out to dinner with no Chinese language skills. The staff did not speak any English. After much time was spent pointing at photos and looking into the live seafood tank, we thought we had ordered a nice dinner for four. We had ordered one raw shrimp total for the four of us.
The staff scurried about, all of us were laughing, and finally we were fed enough food to satisfy us, chosen by the servers.

Posted by
8 posts

I have loved all of the stories so far, each and every one of them.

My wife and I were in Venice in Sept. 2019, and did our best to get a little off of the beaten path. At dinner one night we went all out: multiple appetizers, courses, main courses, bottle of wine, desserts, digestivos, and so forth. We did so well that a French couple seated next to us pointed to the server and basically said “we will have what they are having.” (Not bad for a couple of hillbillies from Texas). This particular night, my wife bonded with the server (a young lady). So, after a couple of hours, my wife flagged her down to request the bill. (I coached her to say “bill”). She immediately asked for the “check” in her heavy southern twang. The waitress stood there for about 10 seconds, and said in broken English “okay, I will bring you a chicken!” I of course couldn’t stop laughing, my wife and the poor waitress were embarrassed and more red than the wine. We worked it out with universal sign language for $$$. The waitress returned, and my wife decided to ask “how long have you lived in Venice?” The poor waitress was sweating and red at this point, disappeared and returned about 5 minutes later with another young lady. Apparently, the waitress thought my wife was trying to ask if she was a legal immigrant in Italy (she was apparently from the Baltic region).

The next night in Venice we witnessed 4 different extremely heated disputes (Between the staff and patrons)at a different restaurant. It culminated with the manager and a German in each other’s faces in the alley over the bill taking too long to get the table. In the German’s defense it had been hours...and he had been asking.