The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:58 pm

I'd have to agree with David - I've been mugged more than once (three different cities!), always near home when you let your guard down.  Though it raises some hackles to say so, most rapes (along with other crimes) can be avoided by exercising some common sense.  You're more likely to be safe when you're a little afraid.

As for the stories, Figgs is first. Though I'm pretty sure I've told my story somewhere here.


Last edited by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:00 pm

David H wrote:
Mrs Figg wrote: I met some crazy boozy Ozzies in Venice, but thats another story.
A nunnery was involved.

Do you mean to tell us that all this time you've been withholding a story about boozy Ozzies in a nunnery from us???
Shame on you, Mrs Figg!  Evil or Very Mad 

Now what's the story?!!! bounce bounce bounce

I am sure I have told this tale already?   .. ...hmmm...well I got to Venice and decided to stop for a bit, got to the train station about 6am and tried to find a bed for the night, then I wandered about until things opened as Venice seemed to be shut. Anyways I asked a local Venetianhobbit where was a good place to stay and he looked me up and down and immediately said 'the nunnery'. 'gee thanks' I said and shuffled off to find this nunnery. Its was on the Giudecca Island opposite Saint marks Square, a convent with dorms for women only travellers. Anyway all day I did the museums and had a nice time travelling on the water bus all over, and after dinner time I went back to chill out on the Island before bed, I was walking about near the grand canal when I met these Ozzies drinking some wine on some steps, they had made a kind of bivouac encampent on the steps as they had no where to sleep. I got friendly with one of them and we had a good chat and a laugh, I took pity on him as he looked a bit tired, thin and as if he hadnt washed in days. So I dressed him some of my clothes and a sun hat and smuggled him into the dorm to find a spare bed, it was this massive vaulted room full of sleeping girls and womenfolk. well.... take one drunken Ozzy....a room full of 30 naked women...and 2 plus 2 = is mayhem. He woke us up at 3am charging round the room bollock naked with just my straw sunhat on his head.  Rolling Eyes  luckily they saw the funny side until a nun turned up. Luckily she saw the funny side before she called the cops, by that time he was long gone, taking my hat with him.  Mad  I never saw the hat again.
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:27 pm

Razz   No, you certainly have not told that story before, we'd remember.

I guess I'm up.

As part of a joint Italian-Greece road trip with my old friend John, we found ourselves in Athens on foot looking for the Acropolis.  We seemed to be off course and stopped to look at a map.  A nice old lady saw us and asked what we were looking for.  When we told her she vaguely waved her hand up the street and said "It's up there, but why don't you come in my bar first and have a drink?"

Well she seemed like an awfully nice old lady so we took her up on her offer and went in to sit down.  Place was empty except for some middle aged women sitting around.  A couple of them immediately came over to join us, talking to us in cigarette husky voices.  After about 5 minutes one of them asked me if I was going to buy her a drink.  As I was hesitating (being not very charmed by her company) the old woman behind the bar piped up: "And you'll be me a drink too, right?"  Suddenly John, who had been in the Navy and knew about such things grabbed my arm and violently pulled me towards the door.  Everyone started yelling but John pulled me along up the street.  "We haven't even paid yet!" I complained.  "That was a whore-house!" he responded and kept me trotting along for the next couple blocks.

So we saw the Acropolis and came back down (by a different road) and had dinner in a sort of dinner theater at the foot.  They had music and dancing but to my ear it didn't sound completely authentic.  So we went up to the owner and asked if there was anywhere else we could go to hear "traditional greek music".  He looked at us and said "sure, and my friend the taxi driver here will take you" clapping his hand on the shoulder of a guy standing nearby.

Well that seemed a friendly offer so we took him up on it.  He seemed to be going suspiciously far from the city center for traditional music though.  More like the warehouse district.  He finally pulled up in front of a go-go bar.  We told him this was unacceptable, we were looking for music.  So he takes us a few blocks and pulled up in front of another go-go bar.  We realized we weren't going to get any satisfaction from him, so paid him and got out.  Thought we'd just peek inside first.

There was a belly dancer going at the front, and John was immediately interested.  So we walk in through a bar that was unusually full of beautiful young women, walked past all of them and sat down right in front of the dancer and ordered some drinks.

Two women joined us.  These were much more interesting than the first two: sophisticated conversationalists and very, very beautiful.  They talked to us for about 10 minutes before asking for a drink.   John and I looked at each other and shrugged - we figured we owed them something for their company.  So we agreed, but specified ONE drink each.  They were drinking champagne.

So the dancer kept going and the girls kept talking.  Kept asking about our hotel, and seemed confused by the name we gave them (it was a youth hostel).  Eventually we noticed the waiter kept filling their glasses.
John asked to see the bill.

$700.   He jumped up and started storming out of the bar.  Everyone started yelling, and a pack of goons went after him. My girl looked at me with wide eyes: "What's wrong?"  I said "excuse me, I have to follow my friend" and got up to follow him.

Four guys grabbed me.  They were short and pot bellied and grinned up at me with gold teeth, but other than holding me they weren't roughing me up or anything.  Outside I heard John shouting "Hit me, I don't have the money, you're just gonna have to hit me.  Hit me, goddammit!"

I nodded over at the bartender who came over, and I calmly explained that we had agreed to only one glass per woman.  If he would kindly give me the bill for that I'd be happy to pay it.  So he billed me for $70 and let me go.  

I collected John on the way out, and we ran a block then flagged down a cab.  As the guy seemed to be passing a block away from the youth hostel with no apparent intention of stopping we told him we'd get out right there.  The next morning we got the hell out of Athens.

Wouldn't have missed a second of it, though.  Twisted Evil

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by David H on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:30 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:.... take one drunken Ozzy....a room full of 30 naked women...and 2 plus 2 = is mayhem. He woke us up at 3am charging round the room bollock naked with just my straw sunhat on his head.  Rolling Eyes 

Thank you for that image, Mrs Figg! Very Happy Thumbs Up :carrot:

edit: Yes, I think you did tell the story before, but perhaps without so much detail. Anyway, it's a good enough story to bear retelling!

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:42 pm

Fantastic stories, figg and halfwise Very Happy There are some things you won't ever experience at home (especially where I live, which is far out on the countryside), and I'd like to be able to look back at such stories myself. And now is the time to do it as I've got a steady income and no obligations. I wouldn't mind travelling alone like you did, figg, it sounds nice to have that kind of freedom. And as you say, David, two persons doubles the risk of ending up in trouble. I know one or two I'd rather not travel with Laughing

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by David H on Tue Jun 03, 2014 2:51 pm

Yeah Halfy, and the thing about that $70 champagne was that it was probably soda water.  Razz

I've wandered innocently  into just such a place as the first one, the one I'm thinking of in Barcelona, only to have the troll-like door keeper shutter and bolt the front door, saying something about the police having shut them down and my friend and I would have to spend the night.  I can't remember how much we paid for those drinks before we escaped. But it was a LOT!

 I do remember buying $50 cups of tea for some nice, sophisticated university ladies in Beijing who just wanted to practice their English though....

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:05 pm

halfwise wrote:Razz   No, you certainly have not told that story before, we'd remember.

I guess I'm up.

As part of a joint Italian-Greece road trip with my old friend John, we found ourselves in Athens on foot looking for the Acropolis.  We seemed to be off course and stopped to look at a map.  A nice old lady saw us and asked what we were looking for.  When we told her she vaguely waved her hand up the street and said "It's up there, but why don't you come in my bar first and have a drink?"

Well she seemed like an awfully nice old lady so we took her up on her offer and went in to sit down.  Place was empty except for some middle aged women sitting around.  A couple of them immediately came over to join us, talking to us in cigarette husky voices.  After about 5 minutes one of them asked me if I was going to buy her a drink.  As I was hesitating (being not very charmed by her company) the old woman behind the bar piped up: "And you'll be me a drink too, right?"  Suddenly John, who had been in the Navy and knew about such things grabbed my arm and violently pulled me towards the door.  Everyone started yelling but John pulled me along up the street.  "We haven't even paid yet!" I complained.  "That was a whore-house!" he responded and kept me trotting along for the next couple blocks.

So we saw the Acropolis and came back down (by a different road) and had dinner in a sort of dinner theater at the foot.  They had music and dancing but to my ear it didn't sound completely authentic.  So we went up to the owner and asked if there was anywhere else we could go to hear "traditional greek music".  He looked at us and said "sure, and my friend the taxi driver here will take you" clapping his hand on the shoulder of a guy standing nearby.

Well that seemed a friendly offer so we took him up on it.  He seemed to be going suspiciously far from the city center for traditional music though.  More like the warehouse district.  He finally pulled up in front of a go-go bar.  We told him this was unacceptable, we were looking for music.  So he takes us a few blocks and pulled up in front of another go-go bar.  We realized we weren't going to get any satisfaction from him, so paid him and got out.  Thought we'd just peek inside first.

There was a belly dancer going at the front, and John was immediately interested.  So we walk in through a bar that was unusually full of beautiful young women, walked past all of them and sat down right in front of the dancer and ordered some drinks.

Two women joined us.  These were much more interesting than the first two: sophisticated conversationalists and very, very beautiful.  They talked to us for about 10 minutes before asking for a drink.   John and I looked at each other and shrugged - we figured we owed them something for their company.  So we agreed, but specified ONE drink each.  They were drinking champagne.

So the dancer kept going and the girls kept talking.  Kept asking about our hotel, and seemed confused by the name we gave them (it was a youth hostel).  Eventually we noticed the waiter kept filling their glasses.
John asked to see the bill.

$700.   He jumped up and started storming out of the bar.  Everyone started yelling, and a pack of goons went after him. My girl looked at me with wide eyes: "What's wrong?"  I said "excuse me, I have to follow my friend" and got up to follow him.

Four guys grabbed me.  They were short and pot bellied and grinned up at me with gold teeth, but other than holding me they weren't roughing me up or anything.  Outside I heard John shouting "Hit me, I don't have the money, you're just gonna have to hit me.  Hit me, goddammit!"

I nodded over at the bartender who came over, and I calmly explained that we had agreed to only one glass per woman.  If he would kindly give me the bill for that I'd be happy to pay it.  So he billed me for $70 and let me go.  

I collected John on the way out, and we ran a block then flagged down a cab.  As the guy seemed to be passing a block away from the youth hostel with no apparent intention of stopping we told him we'd get out right there.  The next morning we got the hell out of Athens.

Wouldn't have missed a second of it, though.  Twisted Evil

 Laughing  yeah at the time its hellish but in hindight its pretty funny. the only time I have had a problem with taxi drivers was my first trip to Florence, I went with my best friend and we got off the train totally knackered having never been to Florence before we asked the taxi to take us to the hotel, and it was a longish trip taking in the sights, only for us to wake up in the morning to realize we were literally 1 minute from the taxi rank! the bastard had taken us round the houses and charged us a lot. Theres a moral in there somewhere  Mad
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:21 pm

Great stories guys! This makes me want to avoid tourist-y places like the plague though!
It's one thing to be heckled into buying something if you're in, say, Mexico, where things are generally pretty cheap (exchange rate is ~10 pesos to the dollar). But I'd hate that kind of situation in somewhere like Greece. I guess I need to get braver before I try adventurous international travel. Taking the city bus about in Edinburgh was enough for me.  Razz 

I was actually waiting on that bridge over the train-station, right outside of Old Edinburgh one night, and this college girl dropped her cell in the street while boarding a bus. She didn't notice that she had dropped it so I picked it up and, after signaling the driver to hold on a second (I was always using hand signals when I didn't have to talk, being kind of shy of my American accent) I found her way in the back and gave it to her. She didn't say anything: I guess she was just surprised, but I felt pretty good on my way back to my group.  Smile 

Gosh, I'm so mild.

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:35 pm

Forest Shepherd wrote:Great stories guys! This makes me want to avoid tourist-y places like the plague though!
It's one thing to be heckled into buying something if you're in, say, Mexico, where things are generally pretty cheap (exchange rate is ~10 pesos to the dollar). But I'd hate that kind of situation in somewhere like Greece. I guess I need to get braver before I try adventurous international travel. Taking the city bus about in Edinburgh was enough for me.   Razz 

I was actually waiting on that bridge over the train-station, right outside of Old Edinburgh one night, and this college girl dropped her cell in the street while boarding a bus. She didn't notice that she had dropped it so I picked it up and, after signaling the driver to hold on a second (I was always using hand signals when I didn't have to talk, being kind of shy of my American accent) I found her way in the back and gave it to her. She didn't say anything: I guess she was just surprised, but I felt pretty good on my way back to my group.  Smile 

Gosh, I'm so mild.

just avoid whore-houses and Ozzies and you should be ok.  Very Happy 
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:40 pm

But what if I go to Australia!!?!

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by David H on Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:46 pm

Mrs Figg wrote:
just avoid whore-houses and Ozzies and you should be ok.  Very Happy 

True that! {{{{Now I wonder what Ozzie whore-houses are like. affraid Sofa }}}}

You're right about the touristy areas Forest, especially if you're a rural NWerner like me. I usually get out of the cities and into the countryside as quickly as I can. If you find areas where the locals go for hiking vacations, you'll fit right in, and you'll find your American accent is often an icebreaker, especially if you ask how to pronounce the place names and make an effort to get them right. Everybody loves to hear foreigners try to pronounce their place names! (just like Halfy and squirrels rabbit ).

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:12 pm

Very Happy 
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International ice-breaker: "Excuse me but what do you call those fluffy-tailed rodents there in the treetops?"

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:17 pm

just dont say that in Australia

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:18 pm

cos they are marsupials in the tree-tops

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:28 pm

They don't have squirrels in Australia. Played host to a couple of them, taking them through Central Park had to keep stopping as they stopped to take pictures of squirrels.

Now it has to be said, when it comes to interesting beasts, squirrels don't hold a candle to kangaroos. By all rights the Ozzies should have walked right past the little fluffballs with a deprecating smirk. But they seemed to find the little knot-heads to be fascinating.  Rolling Eyes 

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Mrs Figg on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:29 pm

I like Ozzies, its like having lots of cousins who like to party.  Very Happy
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:42 pm

Yep. Charmingly unfiltered.

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Norc on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:56 pm

loving the story figgy Very Happy like out of a movie Laughing (haven't read yours yet, halfy)
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Norc on Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:59 pm

Ringdrotten wrote:Fantastic stories, figg and halfwise :DThere are some things you won't ever experience at home (especially where I live, which is far out on the countryside), and I'd like to be able to look back at such stories myself. And now is the time to do it as I've got a steady income and no obligations. I wouldn't mind travelling alone like you did, figg, it sounds nice to have that kind of freedom. And as you say, David, two persons doubles the risk of ending up in trouble. I know one or two I'd rather not travel with Laughing
yeah, but you're a guy.. even though i am a feminist and believe a girl has all the same opportunities and freedoms, there are certain things i've always felt boys can do more easily (and safer) than girls, travelling alone being one of them.
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:08 pm

Norc wrote:even though i am a feminist and believe a girl has all the same opportunities and freedoms, there are certain things i've always felt boys can do more easily (and safer) than girls, travelling alone being one of them.

Largely true, but much less so in Europe than in a place like India.  If you feel you are capable of exercising common sense, then I think you're better off not being shackled by your fears.  From what I've seen for many women that is the greater danger.   I know women live in a different world than men, but in my opinion part of that difference is of their own making.

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by halfwise on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:17 pm

Or to put a different spin on it, a man is more likely to be violently assaulted than a woman. The implicit feeling is if a robber doesn't have a weapon, he has to take a guy out by surprise attack, while a woman only needs to be threatened. For rape of course it's totally reversed.

But if you use common sense, don't walk back to your hotel drunk at night, avoid empty streets, bad neighborhoods etc and pay attention to your surroundings, the risk of either thing happening is truly minimal. So yes, go with friends, but don't cut yourself off from the experience of being alone in a strange land. Once you get off the heavy tourist areas, most people adore foreigners, if you approach them right.

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Norc on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:22 pm

yeah, you're right halfy ^^ although when one is in a strange land how do u know if it is a bad neighbourhood or not? (rhetorical question)
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Norc on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:24 pm

halfwise wrote:
Norc wrote:even though i am a feminist and believe a girl has all the same opportunities and freedoms, there are certain things i've always felt boys can do more easily (and safer) than girls, travelling alone being one of them.

Largely true, but much less so in Europe than in a place like India.  If you feel you are capable of exercising common sense, then I think you're better off not being shackled by your fears.  From what I've seen for many women that is the greater danger.   I know women live in a different world than men, but in my opinion part of that difference is of their own making.
not necsesarily of their own making. i remembered i thought the same when i was nine. i think it has more to do with society. i never saw a movie/read a book about a girl roaming around on their own, it was always a boy.
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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Ringdrotten on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:25 pm

Sound advice from halfy Nod I understand, though - I've got a little sister who travels alot, and I always worry  Embarassed 

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Re: The road goes ever on and on - A Travel Thread

Post by Forest Shepherd on Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:27 pm

Well I've certainly read stories about girls being independent.
I can't think of many at the moment, but there's always the Nancy Drew stories. Razz

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