Turning Your Trip Around

It’s easy to get sucked into being upset when something on your trip goes wrong. Why let that ruin your vacation? I think this is a characteristic that I’ve picked up from working in D.C. Something will always go wrong, but how you handle it will change the outcome. It’s day 7 of our trip and a lot has gone wrong, but a lot has gone right. We have made the most of it and have really figured out the balance of how to give each other space when our alter-egos come out to play (Mine: Yessie, Tonga: Tessie). Today, we find ourselves in Rhodes, Greece. After a really terrible experience last night at a hotel, we left and booked a hostel in the middle of town (more about what happened below).

So here is a list of major things that went wrong in the 7 days that we’ve been on this trip and also a list of what we did to change it:

Lost Bags

When we were leaving Copenhagen, the airline ran out of space for luggage, so had taken our bags away from us to check them in. Thank goodness I had taken out all my electronics into my daypack! When we arrived in Athens, we waited and waited and waited for our luggage to appear on the conveyor belt (AKA the most satisfying feeling ever when you see your bag coming). After the sign had been signaled that all the bags had been loaded and we didn’t see our bags, our hearts dropped. I had a sinking feeling that this would happen and so early in our trip would be devastating. Tonga was able to patiently wait before we headed to the help counter where we ran into a man who was able to translate for us and luckily, they had our bags, they just didn’t load them onto the belt. THANK BUDDHA.

Wrong Flights

When we arrived to Athens, we tried to enter with our boarding passes for a flight to Santorini at 6pm. It was weird that it wasn’t popping up on the departure list, but we thought, whatever, let’s get in first and then we can figure it out once we’re through security. Turns out we didn’t even get that far because our tickets popped up invalid. We were baffled. The security that was helping us had looked at our tickets and told us that we had missed our flight. The flight was for 6 am not pm…. We forgot that everywhere else in the world uses the 24hr format. So we decided to double team this. Tonga went to the counter to see if we could switch tickets and I was on my phone ready to book another flight for us. Thankfully the flights were only $80. So we ended up booking another flight and being able to get into Santorini by 8pm. The best part is that our backpacks didn’t fit up top and we didn’t want to have to check our bags again so we stuffed mine under the seats, and Tonga had to sit with her bag between her legs and we threw a scarf and jacket over it too look like her lap.

Forgotten Customers

The morning that we left Santorini was a shitshow. We had confirmed with the hotel the night before that we were to be ready by 6:20am and our escort would take us to the airport. We waited until 6:50 to go to the main lobby (the hotel is broken down by location, so it’s quite the trek to get to the main lobby). We get to the main lobby, they don’t open until 8:30 am…. That obviously wouldn’t do since our flight was at 8:20am. Neither of us had a phone to use and our phone in our room wasn’t working. We tried walking around to find a café so that we could use their phone to call our escort, but nothing was opened. Finally around 7:10 we found a man outside of the lobby, he was a construction worker for the hotel. We had asked him if we could borrow his phone, but he already knew who to call after we explained that our escort was an hour late. He saves the day! Our escort comes running 15 minutes later and deeply apologizes and says that the car is on its way. At this point it’s 7:35 and we’re finally loading into the car. The driver literally flies to the airport in record time, getting us to the airport in 15 minutes when it normally takes 30 minutes. On the way, Tonga realizes that she forgot to download her boarding pass. This is a set back because it costs $45 at the counter to print one out and it means that we can’t just drop off our luggage, we have to wait in line. When we get to the airport, there is no wifi for her to download her pass. She has to go to another counter and ends up paying $19 instead. We ended up cutting 2 groups of girls to push our way to the front and finally get our luggage tagged. We still had to go through security. So Tonga runs to stand in the security line as I go take care of our bags. After we go through security, we have to get in line for passport check. At this point, the time is now 8:10. As we have 2 people left in front of us, Tonga has lost her passport. We step out of line to find it. She digs and digs through her bag, eventually finding it, but as we get back into line, she has now lost her boarding pass.  Again she digs and finally finds it. The time is now 8:15. We finally get to security and are loaded on a bus to get to the plane. HOMESTRETCH WE’VE MADE IT!

Hotel from Hell

Rhodes during February is considered the “off-season” aka winter…. which is a joke because at worst, it’s 60 degrees. We probably should have looked it up a bit more, but it seemed to be teeming with history and stories so we had added it to our trip. We took the bus to our hotel. Yes a hotel… we opted to stay at a hotel this time. We took the bus and had asked the driver which stop and he told us he’d tell us when….. he never did… we figured out that it was taking awhile so we should get off. We ended up about half a mile from where we were supposed to be dropped off. We then walked with all of our items to the hotel. The hotel is called “Sundays.” It’s a boutique hotel run by a mother and son. However, we were unfortunately stuck with the nephew who was just helping out for a hot second. A lot of things went wrong here.

  1. He didn’t show us / give us directions to our room.
  2. We had asked him what there was to do here and he told us nothing was open because it was the off season.
  3. We had also bought the breakfast package for our stay and when we asked what time breakfast was, he said that there wasn’t any…. His aunt could cook for us if we wanted.
  4. The elevator didn’t work so we had to lug up our backpacks up the stairs.
  5. There was no light for us to see where to put the key in the door.
  6. None of the lights turned on.

So this all happened before we even put our stuff down into our room. We had to go back down to tell him that the lights didn’t turn on. He then explained to us that we’re supposed to put the key into the holder for the lights to turn on. So we did and the room was FREEZING. I probably spent an hour trying to turn the heater on. The room did not look remotely close to what was advertised online. It was the equivalent of a motel 6. Everything was from the 80’s. At this point, Tonga and I were extremely defeated. We were upset that we had chosen an island that had nothing to do and were upset that the hotel was not something we were comfortable with. We had decided to stay in our traveling clothes because I didn’t want any of my clothes to be exposed to this space. We ended up deciding to sleep there for the night, but had plans to change to a hostel, go do our laundry in the morning, and rent a car. When we went to use the laundry machine, it sucked in our coins and didn’t work. So we talked to the nephew once again and decided that enough was enough. We would figure it out at our hostel where to do laundry. Tonga went into the main office to break the news that we were checking out early. The nephew was super upset. He wasn’t letting her go without begging/ telling her that he could fix it. We finally got out and drove to the hostel, Stay. It is absolutely amazing. Complete 180 to the hotel. There’s a shared kitchen, theater, bar, and lounge. Everything is sleek, clean, modern, and open. On top of that, we took the car out and headed to Lindros. We stopped by some beaches along the way and ended up hiking up to the castle in the most scenic and epic hike I’ve ever had. We definitely flipped the trip around.

What I’ve Learned:

It’s easy to point fingers, but that does no good for anyone. Whoever is at fault is already feeling really bad about whatever went wrong. There is no point in making them feel worse or frustrated. We had talked about our rules for this trip that we’re in this together. If one person screws up, we both screw up. The best thing to do is not to fake smile and say it’s ok…. but the best thing to do is to think of plan B, divide and conquer. It’s been a group effort in thinking of plan b. Each person throws out a plan and we decide which one is the best move for us. This has been a great learning experience, but has helped us turn shitty situations into better memories.

We’re currently meeting some people at our hostel and seeing if anyone wants to hop in the car with us tomorrow to go explore some more. We literally went from 0 to 100 overnight and it’s changed the mood completely. We’re excited to check out more of the island tomorrow! Wish us luck!

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