11 Things That Piss Me Off While Traveling

Well, friends, our two week trip to France and Switzerland is over. It’s been wonderful and from all of the posts, photos, and stories we’ve shared, it probably seems like we had nothing but good times. And that’s pretty much true. BUT,  traveling for this long takes its toll on you and we have begun to get a little crispy around the edges, as my friend Jessie says. As we sit here waiting for our final plane ride from JFK to BTV (which keeps getting pushed back), here are some things that really grind my gears while traveling:

  1. People who stop in the middle of an airport/escalator/hallway/doorway/or any other place where a mass of people are walking. And then continue to give zero fucks that they have caused a bottleneck and everyone is forced to step around them.
  2. People who are entitled. Oh, you think your sob story is somehow uniquely different from the rest of us stuck at Customs who are also trying to make a connecting flight? Please tell us about it, loudly, and repeatedly, as we move at a snail’s pace through this never ending stanchion. While we’re at it, let’s add cutters to this list, who have granted themselves the power to cut the whole  line. “But my flight’s in 10 minutes!” May I suggest instead of a plane ticket you buy yourself a watch?
  3. People who are jerks to those working in any kind of service role – gate agents, airline staff, restaurant servers – whatever. Snapping your fingers, being rude, and blaming them for your problems makes you the worst.
  4. People who complain about everything. If the coffee is too strong or not strong enough; if the hotel room was too bright, or too loud; if there was a line (which there always was, everywhere); If it was raining and they were getting wet, or if it was sunny and they were getting burned; or my personal fave, if whatever attraction they flew across the world to see “just wasn’t that impressive” — people will tell you about it.
  5. People with no spacial awareness. I can’t tell you how many times I was sitting on a  bench the size of a football field and someone plops down basically on top of me.  I know I’m pretty fun to be around, but please, take advantage of this 80 feet of pine to my right. Or I’m out of the way, leaning against a wall, and people to decide they must walk *inches* from me, or better yet, bump into me. WHHYYY.
  6. People who rush to get ahead of you, when you’re all going to the same destination. Yes, let’s all run to get off this plane and onto the shuttle they are putting us on. Hope you got the 4-minute long bus position of your dreams.
  7. People who turn every beautiful place ever into an Instagram modeling shoot. Asking your S.O. to snap a photo or two in front of a beautiful lake? Sure, knock yourself out. Turning that person into your Instagram Husband who takes photo after photo after photo of you in contrived, predictable poses– headstand, back to the camera, sideways-i-only-have-half-a-body, duck face–makes me want to throw you off that bridge you’re standing on.
  8. People who take more than their allotted photos at some place where there is a line of people waiting to do the same. What is that magical number? Ideally one, I’d settle for two, but anything 3 and above results in murder feelings. Asking group members to change positions, their facial expressions, where they are pointing, etc etc, while everyone is waiting their turn is unacceptable.
  9. People who take SO many photos, they can’t possibly be enjoying where they are. Maybe absorb it with your eyes for a second? Plus, what are you going to do with 34 shots of a carved lion?!
  10. People who don’t respect noise social norms. Headphones exist for a reason, like to mute the sound of a first person shooter game you’re blaring at Level 10 on a plane. While we’re at it, silence your phones, you barbarians, so that I don’t have to hear it ring 42 times before you pick it up, or hear the endless fake “snap!” noise when you take too many photos (as mentioned above).
  11. People who suck at parenting. This usually involves someone who thought it was a great idea to bring an infant to a sight seeing location, 10,000 feet in the air, via a crammed cable car, and marvel as the baby wails the entire way up. Or the parents who think it’s cute that their monster–I mean child–is scream talking and standing on the airplane seat, climbing over his mother/brother/father,  while the seatbelt sign is on. Or kicking the seat in front of him. Or throwing things at the person behind him. You know, just hypothetical.

So in conclusion, other people.

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Zermatt

There seems to be a common theme to this trip, which is that of each city we visit we have one beautiful day and one horrible weather day. Zermatt was no exception. We arrived on Monday afternoon to rain and began our short walk to our hotel. We quickly realized that what sounded like a bunch of tourists with rolling luggage was actually thunder. Nonstop thunder. It was black and thick clouds hung low all around us. The rain picked up. We had maybe 4 minutes left to the hotel when the sky opened up and started to not only soak us, but pelt us with hail. We were absolutely drenched when we got to reception.

Our room was not yet ready, which meant dropping off our stuff and heading back out into the rain. We found a delicious Italian restaurant called Molino that took us in and served us pizza. In a funny twist, the family had been in the same train car with us on the ride up ended up sitting down at our table 20 minutes later. They seemed far less wet. In the bathroom, I took off my shoes and wrung off my socks in the sink, and then returned them to my sloshing shoes.

We stopped at the local grocery store and stocked up on the essentials: wine, beer, chocolate, chips, and candy. A few hours later when the rain was less downpour and more mist, we took a stroll along some streets near our hotel. But with the steep hills and me still having this stupid cold, we didn’t last long.

Dan and I spent the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening snacking in our room, using the hairdryer to (attempt to) dry every article of clothing we brought with us. All that did was make the room smell like hot feet. The plan for Zermatt was to see that Matterhorn and do some hiking, but that didn’t seem even remotely plausible looking at the weather forecast for the remainder of our time there. Instead of venturing out into the rain again, we skipped dinner and went to bed.

By some Christmas miracle, Dan woke up at 5:30 am and noticed it wasn’t raining and that it was only partly cloudy. Part of the Matterhorn was actually visible! We rushed outside to snap photos (in what turned out to be the best view of the Matterhorn all day).

We figured this good weather wouldn’t last, so we took one of the earliest cog trains to the top of Gornergrat mountain. It was one of the most stunning views I had ever seen. 10,000 feet in the air and surrounded by 29 fourteen thousand foot mountains.

Dan and I seemed to the only ones dressed appropriately and saw more than one tourist wipe out on the snow and ice, wearing flats or heels.

Instead of taking the train all the way back down, we got off at Riffelap and decided to hike the rest of the way down. The weather was still cooperating so we took advantage.

On our way down, we encountered Switzerland’s cows and their famous bells!

 

We stopped for lunch at Donner Take Away. The food in Zermatt, and all over Switzerland we hear, is very expensive. Raclette is upwards of $40 per person, vegetarian pad thai was $38. But we got takeaway wraps for $12 each–a steal. By this time it was mid-afternoon and it hadn’t rained all day. We were so happy to get a break and be able to see more of this beautiful town. We walked around town, visited the museum, and went in search of the sheep we could see from the hills (no luck).

Around 5:00 pm, it began to lightly rain. We picked up sushi and Ramen noodles from the coop and more snacks ($16 total), and ate dinner in our room–after an extremely satisfying day!

Before heading out of town, we took one final stroll to the hill to see the sheep. There were so many of them and they were so cute!!

Of course, it’s beautiful and sunny here as I type this from the train and we travel to our next destination. But what I think is so great about travel is that it forces you to make the best out of every situation and seize the day–whether that’s walking in the rain, or eating Toblerone in your room, or hiking down a mountain.

Onto Lauterbrunnen for the next three days!

Paree!

Oh, Paris, I was so wrong about you.

Out of all of the cities Dan and I planned for this two week trip to France and Switzerland, Paris was the one I was looking forward to the least. I had it in my head that the people would be stuck up, crime would be rampant, and I’d be disappointed with the cuisine. I was thankfully wrong on all accounts. Here are some of my favorite things from Paris:

  1. Our cab driver from the airport.When we told him the name and street our boutique hotel was on, he answered back in French what I can only assume is, “Where the hell is that?” Thus started about a 15 minute conversation in which he didn’t speak a lick of English and we spoke the 20 French words we knew.  It was a pretty one-sided conversation. He must have said “Aye, aye, aye,” sprinkled in with a few “mama mia”s and the “get out of here” hand gesture forty times, as he flipped through a street book on Paris and we watched the pouring rain come down. After an eternity, something clicked and we were finally off. For a guy who drove cars for a living, he really, really hated traffic. We heard another twenty “ayes,” and sighs, as Dan and I chuckled to ourselves. I think my favorite part though, was when he nearly ran into a bicyclist, and instead of either of them screaming at one another, the bicyclist gave the driver a smile and a thumbs up, and the driver sat back to clap and laugh at the near miss.
  2. Drinking coffee and people watching. Parisians seem to have invented people watching and enjoy it as much as they like to smoke (which is a lot). At every cafe, the chairs face the street instead of the person you’re with, so that you can sip your espresso and openly stare at everyone walking by. It’s awesome.
  3. Macarons.

    HOW HAD NEITHER OF US EVER HAD A MACARON?! And why did we both think they would be hard as a rock? They are delicious, magical creatures and might just be my new favorite thing. Like getting gelato in Italy, I think we might need to start a daily macaroon count. I’m up to 10. I must do better.
  4. The architecture.
    Everything is so old and so beautiful. We stopped countless times just to point out some decorative feature of a building to one another.
  5. The Seine.
    From strolling along its bank, to seeing the people who came out at night to wine and dine on it, the Seine was absolutely beautiful. We took a 1 hour cruise at night that brought us by the Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and many other beautiful buildings and bridges.
  6. The Eiffel Tower.
    It’s bigger and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I don’t know why it looks so small in photos, but it’s just slightly shorter than the Empire State Building. Dan and I braved it and took a ride all the way up to the very top! I got a little wobbly in the knees (having a touch of Vertigo at the moment and that wasn’t helping), but Dan was a champ and walked the entire perimeter. Pro tip: visit it at night in the pouring rain — no lines, no waiting, no one trying to sell you shit!
  7. The rain.

    I know, I know. Paris in the rain, can we get a little more cliche. But I’m telling you, we found it beautiful and didn’t mind being soaking wet.
  8. Arc de Triomphe.

    I had no idea you could go up the top of it! (Can you tell I did a lot of research in preparation for this trip? TGFD – Thank God For Dan). Yeah, you can definitely go to the top – you just have to walk up 284 stairs. To quote our cab driver, Aye! Our quads were burning and my head was spinning, but we made it. The top gave us spectacular views.  Also, I found my family name carved into it!
  9. Paul and his sandwichesWe discovered some chain called Paul which allowed us to get $4 baguettes with cheese and veggies, as we strolled the streets. We love how passionately people love their bread here and feel right at home.
  10. Escargot.
    As delicious as they are fun to get out of their shell. I had never had them before, but really enjoyed. I couldn’t help but feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman where she sends one flying across the room and says, “Slippery little suckers.”

We’re off to Lyon, France now!