Hilarious encounter with a local? Misunderstanding that became the number one joke you always tell your friends? Public embarrassment caused by not knowing local customs?
If you love to travel, I'm sure you have some funny stories to tell. So go ahead and share the craziest ones with other pandas!
While visiting Quito, Ecuador, my friends and I visited the botanical gardens (which I highly recommend). We were so fascinated by the beautiful orchids that we totally missed the closing time. When we returned to the entrance, we found the gates locked and nobody there. We had to climb the 10-foot gates to get out! Not bad for a couple of 60-year-olds.
Once I was visiting SF with my friend. We booked an airbnb room in a neighborhood that didn’t look too safe. After the first day exploring the city, we came back to the street where we stayed, opened the gates that led to the apartment, opened the door and only then we realised that it’s not our place at all. Knowing how big of a deal is trespassing in USA we literally shit our pants for breaking into somebody’s apartment. Funny thing is that the gates downstairs got locked so we were trapped in there. Soon an old lady showed up from the bedroom, started to yell something in spanish to us but finally let us out. We couldn’t stop laughing but it surely was a terrifying experience.
I practice archery and was looking for a bow at a sports store in London. Being a native Portuguese speaker, my question actually ended up sounding like "Hi, good evening, do you guys happen to have balls?". OK. We all know that split second when you realize what we've just said. I was so mortified when I saw their faces that I ran away. Literally ran away from the store.
Where I come from, garbage disposals do not exist (We compost, so they are not necessary). I did not even know garbage disposals existed when I travelled to America for school, so when I see this switch by the sink, I assume it's a light switch, and turn it on... Forks, knives and spoons go flying everywhere, and to this day my roommates will not let me forget it hahaha. Fortunately the garbage disposal survived, but I can't say the same for all the utensils :P
Twelve years ago, I and a co-worker were in Crawley, UK, for a training course. The first day we decided to take a walk around the hotel, we got lost, and thinking we had found the hotel, we ended up in a home during a birthday party. All revelers froze and stared at us astonished ... Well, we said cheerfully "Happy Birthday!" and ran away ...
My friend and I were visiting LA during the Christmas time and we decided to go to Disneyland. Disneyland was fun, but the actual fun started when we had to get back. Both of our phones had died because of the many selfies we took during the day. So long story short: got to the train station, met some nice homeless people, got kicked out of the train station, found a cop that let us use his phone and got a 150 dollar uber home. It wasn't fun then but now we laugh at how stupid we were.
A couple years ago, my family and I were on a plane going to Chicago. My brother and I had already sat down, and we were looking down the aisle for our parents. Suddenly, a lot of colorfully dressed people boarded the plane. One woman was wearing hot pink tights and pool floaties. A man was dressed from head to toe in green clothes. The strangest was a man who was wearing a tye-dye speedo and a crown, carrying a surfboard. To this day, that is the strangest thing I have ever seen on a plane.
I was in Athens and saw the changing of the guards at the "Grave of the Unknown Soldier." I posed for a picture and evidently it was in a restricted area, causing a guard in a Greek army uniform to yell at me to get away. The worst part: I didn't nice for 10 full seconds. When I finally realised what was going on, I ran away, face flushed.
I once was in Venice/Italy and ordered a Cappuccino with whipped cream (instead of this milk foam, which I hate). The waiter refuses to server such Cappuccino, but I insisted. Shortly after, the owner of the Cafe came to me and said in charming Italian accent, that for him it would be a crime to put whipped cream on an excellent Cappuccino and he will make me an original one, which I don't have to pay, but he can't serve whipped cream on his Cappuccino. I felt bad and ordered tea instead...
When I was in Milan I visited that very small museum in the dome. I only started speaking Italian then and that guy on the counter told me something what I understood as "one hour". I thought maybe it is only still open for an hour but could not understand why he told me that. After starring puzzled at him several moments he pointed to a very huge sign close to me where was written in big letters in several languages: entrance 1 Euro.
Being Aussies and travelling in England, driving on the left was second nature, However we departed from England on the ferry in a Van and upon arrival in France proceeded to drive off the ferry and round a round-about. The local constabulary, observing that we had drive the wrong way around the round-about, flagged us down. Fully expecting a fine and a talking to, we were highly amused when the local Officer directed my father to drive around again, but this time in the correct direction.
We wanted to make a visit to a small village museum along with a couple of friends. It was locked and we had to ask for the key in the church, which was at the other end of the village. The director came and let us in along with some strangers. After she sold us tickets, she waited at the entrance. We were absolutely fascinated by the 19-th century toilet at the back of the house. The poor woman completely forgot about our gang and she locked us inside the place. We had to wait for some time.
I have only been out of Canada once (because I am poor) and that was to go to California. It rained 3 out of the 5 days there. Those three days happened to be the only three days we went to Disneyland. An FML moment no doubt, but it was still fun.
My husband and I were visiting Gerona, Spain, where the streets are mostly narrow, cobblestone and treacherous. While searching for our hotel in our rental car, my diabetic husband's blood sugar went low. He said he was fine, and wanted to continue driving. He turned into a tiny lane, which the GPS said was the route to the hotel. We ended up with the car wedged between two ancient stone buildings and had to climb out of the sunroof to get out. The car was totalled.
2 years ago my boyfriend and I were doing a road trip through Bavaria. We had planned on visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber, staying there for a day or two. The first night there, we were walking to the car which was parked a bit away from our hotel. We got something out of the trunk; on a balcony above us was a loud party going on. Girls giggling, guys roaring, music blasting.... when one of the guys called down to us if we wanted a beer. I looked at my boyfriend, he shrugged and grinned and said "why not?", so upstairs we went. In the apartment we were greeted by a bunch of happily drunk people, someone handed us a beer, another lit a joint, we even had some cake and everybody was shaking it to the music in the living room. We partied for 2 or 3 hours with those total strangers, thanked them and then left to go back to our hotel. Great night!
I went to France about 2.5 years ago when I was 12 and I couldn't figure out how the toilet handle worked operated(I was at a party at an old estate). I hate being that person that doesn't flush and I wanted to make a good impression on the people I was with, So of course I asked a distant relative who was helping to host the party for help. She was very kind about it, but i imagine she still thinks about it to this day.
We went on a trip to Scandinavia. We had a few friends we were going to meet on the way. One friend was living in Sweden, but he was originally from Finland. He suggested that we go to visit his grandparents on their farm. We had rented a caravan and drove up to the farm. When we got there, two adorable, very elderly, people came out to greet us. They spoke NO English, but they tired to get us to work. Turns out they thought we were Travelers. Our friend hadn't called them yet! So embarrassing!
During Oktoberfest in Munich a few years ago, I had a few too many liters. I was separated from my friends and stuck on the U-bahn with no money and no phone. I ended up at the last station and fell asleep on a bench. A police officer woke me up so I got back on the train back into the city. I told my sob story to a Mexican student at university, in drunken spanglish, because I knew zero German. Fortunately he took pity on me and we went back to his place for a beer.
A while back my family went to visit our relatives in Sri Lanka. One day, my uncle was driving my mom and I down a small, unpaved road that cut through a field. He parked next to a telephone pole and stepped out of the car. Unfortunately, my uncle didn't seem to have noticed that there was a cow tethered to that telephone pole. To make matters worse, the car's windows were rolled down. We were trapped in the car with a curious cow poking its head through the window. It was nerve-racking.
I (German woman) was staying at a Travelodge in London, where breakfast staff wears aqua shirts. One morning I happened to wear a shirt in the same colour. As I was putting a slice for me in the toaster, a guest came to wait for her turn. Me, having one free slot, offered her "toast for you?" She happily accepted. When the two slices were done, she picked them both up, thanked me and left for her table. Most British thing I ever experienced. Staff told me to apply for the job as I was prepared.
When in Spain as a kid I went to use the loo in my hotel room and found a hole in the floor like they had in France . So I took up the squat position and did the deed . I then found there was no loo paper ,so pulled the door closed to see if it was on the back of the door and to my horror there was an ordinary loo behind it and I'd just done my business in the shower drain hole.
My family and I once visited the house of some elderly relatives in England. As they cooked us eggs on toast, they kept burning the toast to a literal char and drenching the eggs in oil. My parents tried to politely ask for different toast, but every slice came out the same. Eventually we decided they simply had peculiar tastes and ate the oily, blackened goo out of politeness.
My brother spent at least the next hour vomiting in their bathroom. No connection.
Visiting Niagra Falls for the very first time, from the American side, we drove down a road which we suddenly realised was taking us over the border to Canada. Without Visa's etc., we had no chance. The border guard made us reverse back the way we had come - which was preferable to visiting America and being deported from Canada all in the same journey.