The first time this happened to Doug and me was during a blissful vacation in North Carolina. We'd spent a couple of days sitting in the rocking chairs of the Balsam Mountain Inn (above), we'd meandered along the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiked up the grassy bald, spent a few days in funky Asheville, and now we were headed to the big city: Raleigh.
It was hot. It was rush hour. It was damned crowded. We were on the approach ramp to the highway, and the highway was clogged. We sat in the rental car, sweating, not moving, and Doug burst out with frustration: "Let's not even go to Raleigh!" And even though I, too, was frustrated and hot and sweaty, I started laughing. Because we sure couldn't go anywhere else at that moment.
A few years later, on our first trip to Ireland, after endless days of driving through fields of sheep and empty peatbogs, we reached the same point. We were somewhere in Donegal, it was taking us forever to get where we were trying to go, and now we were lost. The famous quotable comment on that trip was: "Let's just cut our losses and go home."
(Instead, we sensibly turned around, found our way back to Kilcar, and went out to listen to some music.)
And in Paris a couple of years ago we trudged grimly through the Latin Quarter one afternoon, trying to find some landmark or another--a house where Hemingway had lived, or something; I can no longer remember. But the map did not match with the winding streets, we were completely lost, it was 80 degrees, we'd been traveling for nine days already, and we were tired. The Latin Quarter is now referred to, in our house, as the Crabby Quarter.
We leave today for Ireland. We will have a magnificent time. But we will also have one day, or one afternoon, or one hour, when the trip feels like it is collapsing and we will wish ourselves home. Where will it be? When we slip off the rocks on our way to the Wicklow B&B? When we're lost and drenched during a downpour in the Wicklow Mountains? When we first arrive at busy and congested Dublin after six days in the countryside?
What travel disasters have you had? I expect to see 50 or 60 comments on this when I return. Talk amongst yourselves.