Jams Are Fun: Making the Most of a Bad Situation

As we head into a long, dark winter, I find myself thinking about my travel motto: “Jams Are Fun.” That means making the most of a bad situation, rolling with the unexpected, and finding humor, joy, and meaning in the chaos. Here’s one example, from a recent trip to Croatia.

One time, in the scenic beach town of Rovinj, I parked my car at one of the big lots just outside the historic center. When I went to get my car a few days later,  the parking lot had become a huge outdoor market and carnival zone for the town’s big patron saint festival. The space where I’d left my car was home to a rickety tilt-a-whirl.

At the parking booth, I showed the attendant my ticket. He shuffled some papers around and asked for my license-plate number. Then he said, matter-of-factly, “OK, so we moved your car.”

“What?! But you don’t have my keys. Did you tow me?”

“No,” he said, shaking his head and wagging his finger. “Not tow. Not tow. We pick up your car… with…” And he pantomimed a crane lifting up my car and placing it gently on the back of a flatbed truck.

“Where is it now?” I asked. He pointed at the overflow lot, all the way across the bay. “Over there,” he said.

I protested that I had no idea there was a festival planned. “Don’t worry,” he reassured me. “You already pay for the parking. We just have to move your car. You can just go and get it, and drive away.”

I trudged 15 minutes along the grubby waterfront to the overflow lot — packed with hundreds of cars in town for the big festival — and started pressing the lock/unlock button on my key fob. Finally I heard my locks click. Sure enough, there was my car, none the worse for wear, just waiting for me… about a half-mile from where I’d parked it.

By the time I drove back into town to pick up my wife and our luggage, I was already chuckling about all of this. “What took so long?” she asked.

“Well, you know how it goes,” I said. I laughed and shook my head. “Jams are fun.”

My wife’s Great Aunt Mildred was a remarkable soul. She traveled far and wide, at time when such a thing was unheard of for a single woman. And after seeing more of the planet than everyone else in her small Ohio hometown combined, she penned a travelogue about her experiences. The title: Jams Are Fun. What really stuck with Aunt Mildred wasn’t the castles and cathedrals; it wasn’t the museums and the monuments; it wasn’t the grand scenery and the fine meals. It was when trips went sideways — memorable snags in perfectly laid plans, which forced her to scramble for creative solutions.

When I encounter fellow travelers on the road, the ones who impress me the most are those who have this same “Jams Are Fun” approach to life. They come alive as they tell long, meandering stories about a missed connection or a canceled reservation or getting hopelessly lost. Athletes call this “playing loose” — being prepared, but willing to improvise and respond to the situation as it unfolds (or unravels). Problems aren’t problems. They’re opportunities to create vivid memories.

Thinking back on this — many months into a pandemic, and more than a year since I last set foot in Europe — it strikes me that “Jams Are Fun” isn’t just a good philosophy for travel. It’s a helpful attitude for dealing with whatever life throws at you, including and especially during a crisis. This doesn’t mean minimizing or trivializing real problems. It means looking for silver linings.

My personal challenge through all of the anxiety, sadness, and disappointment has been to find moments of peace and joy: making progress on those do-it-yourself projects; mastering some new recipes; finally writing that book. I find that I’m in better touch with faraway friends than ever before. And one of my favorite work-from-home perks is when my friend and his seven-year-old ride their bikes by my house every afternoon so we can hang out on the front steps.

We’re entering what experts agree will be an especially challenging phase of this pandemic. We’re all fatigued. We’ve had enough. Those fun little things we did early on — putting teddy bears in our windows and doing Zoom happy hours with co-workers — aren’t quite so fun anymore. But now more than ever, it’s important to stay the course, stay positive, and try to find the fun in the jams. Like Sisyphus rolling his rock up the hill, we’re in this whether we like it or not. So we might as well make the most of it.

I’ve been collecting my own “Jams Are Fun” travel stories for the last few years on my blog. If you need a little inspiration (or just a few laughs at another traveler’s misfortune), check some of these out. And in the Comments, share your own favorite “Jams Are Fun” stories.

One time, in the North Atlantic waters around Norway, my cruise ship hit some incredibly rough seas. I lived to tell the tale.

On the back roads of Bosnia-Herzegovina, I got pulled over by a pair of corrupt cops and shaken down for a bribe.

Researching a guidebook on Italy’s Cinque Terre, I found myself embroiled in a community-wide dispute between rival gelato makers. I managed to escape, but the crossfire was delicious.

Finishing up a busy trip in Rome, and very ready to get to the airport and fly home, I discovered how hard it is to get a taxi when it rains.

When producing a TV episode in Bucharest, the Romanian Parliament told us that we could film inside. Then they changed their minds. And then…they changed their minds again.

In Salzburg, my guidebook research responsibilities required me to take two back-to-back Sound of Music sightseeing tours. Not one of my favorite things.

In a bizarre sequence of events, I made plans to meet up with an old friend at what we expected to be a quiet rural airport…only to find it was hosting a Europe-wide air show that very afternoon.

As a very light sleeper, I worry a lot about nighttime noise. So imagine my joy when I showed up at a hotel just as a wedding band was setting up in the lobby.

On Scotland’s remote North Coast, my fuel gauge dipped to “empty” just as I was pulling up at the only gas station for many, many miles in either direction…which had just closed for the day.

And, really, the entire experience of driving in Sicily. (Pro tip: Just go numb.)

What about you? What are some of your favorite “Jams Are Fun” memories?

24 Replies to “Jams Are Fun: Making the Most of a Bad Situation”

  1. My daughter and I were flying from PDX to see friends in Brussels. There was a stop and plane change in Newark, but when our plane landed there, there was a huge snow storm that closed the airport. We had our cell phones (but chargers were in checked baggage along with winter clothes), so I called my husband to relay our stop (and next flight out in 2 days) to our Belgian friends. Thank heavens for the internet. After staying (not sleeping) the night in the airport, not fun, we went to a nearby hotel and made a hotel arrangement for our next night. The concierge there suggested we spend the day in New York City for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!! What an amazing experience! We even went to see “ground zero” via an empty subway car! It truly was an unforgettable “Jam”.

    1. Years ago I realized that problems encountered while traveling can be very stressful at the time, but make for really great, funny stories later on. So if something goes wrong, I remind myself it’ll be a laugh in the future!

  2. In 2005 I took a group of people one cruise in the Aegean featuring Italy, Greece, Turkey. Everything that could go wrong went sideways.

    Delta flight we were boarding as our numbers came up, and having half of my tour on board, I found myself with the Selena of telling my passengers we had to disembark, because that flight would not make it over the Atlantic.

    We were playing cards to pass the time and when the new plane and fresh crew arrived one of my pilgrims could not find her passport. Her husband said: leave her here, serves her right…

    Avoiding divorce threats, I went through her belongings, found her passport and as we took our seats the pilot mentioned her by name and thanked her for allowing us to continue.

    Our Italian guide was union, and we of course were late. I had to coherse him to drive us around Rome as promised in the travel plans, we made it to the ship.

    An older patron instructed not to bring gun, knives, boxcutter in her luggage. STOPPED IN HER TRACKS BEFORE BOARDING.

    She tearfully said she always travels with this 1′ swiss army knife for luck. So far this trip not working. Pleading with the Captain, she was allowed to mail it to herself. Off we go.

    In Athens it rained, thunder and lightening so severe seemed the God’s were keeping us from the Acropolis Hill. I actually caught one lady of oriental descent sliding for me on the marbel steps.

    Two patrons got stuck in a Greek family grave yard, after My instruction of no matter how pretty these places are private – don’t go there. Finally the family let them out, laughing all the while. They made it back to the ship in time.

    Excursiont to Pompei sidelined because they had found a WW II bomb and were going to detonate it. Luckily, I arranged trips to Capri, Blue Grotto or Napoli. Everyone was satisfied.

    I was able to arange an extended trip to Assisi and an extra night in Rome.

    Lots of “Jams” lots of arranging to satisfy on my part, but at our party a month later, all agreed best trip ever.

    Yes “Jams” are fun and make it very interesting on what may have been good, but circumstances helped make the trip even more memorable.

  3. After spending 12 days in Peru, mostly in Cuzco and the Inca Trail, I got to the Lima airport to find my 12noon flight back to Los Angeles had been cancelled. At the airline help desk I ran into several more passengers who were bumped from my flight and being rescheduled to the 12noon next day flight. The airline offered to put everyone up in a 5-star hotel in downtown Lima (go LAN!) and I gladly accepted. Two of the other passengers were bilingual (English/Spanish) lawyers from Madrid who invited me on the shuttle to our hotel to go with them that afternoon to their favorite authentic Peruvian restaurant in Lima and see some catacombs beneath the central public square. I was traveling alone at this point, as my Cuzco tour was over and my Spanish is minimal, so I accepted. The lawyers took me to a creepy, ancient catacombs beneath the central city, then to a huge, late lunch at the Peruvian restaurant, followed by pisco sours nearby. We walked through the Spanish colonial style areas, which I had not visited at all on my trip, and the lawyers translated everything for me. Neither of them tried to hit on me (I am female and they were both male), I had a great little excursion, and saw a part of the city I never would otherwise have seen, with two travelers familiar with the area! The next day I got on my 12noon flight home and didn’t see them again. It was a great, unexpected add-on to my trip that I would not have experienced if my flight had not been cancelled.

  4. When my son was 9 years old, my husband and I took him on a trip to Spain. We thought it would be important for his education to see a place that was not as developed, so we signed up for a one-day trip to Morocco that was supposed to leave from Tarifa early Sunday morning and return the same evening. Just about everything that could go wrong did. We checked with the tourist agency the day before and were told that the tour would actually leave from Algeciras about an hour away but that they would arrange transportation to and from. Sunday morning there was no transportation arranged and the agent finally had to arouse a friend (who had obviously been out quite late the night before) to drive us to the ferry in Algeciras. Once there we had no idea where to go, but fortunately the driver found our tour. After that everything was delayed – sometimes by hours. We had had very little breakfast at 7am and fortunately I had brought some snacks for my son. We finally got “lunch” around 4pm. The tour of course included a hard sell at a rug dealer’s, which we managed to resist. We missed our scheduled ferry and didn’t get back to Algeciras until after 10pm. (Many people on the tour had missed bus and train connections.) Once again we had no idea where to go in the very large ferry terminal to find our promised transportation, so we just started walking the corridors until we found an office with an open door. When I stuck my head in, the man at the counter said, “Tarifa?” Never were we so relieved. The thought of having to find lodging late at night in Algeciras, which is not the safest place in Spain, was not appealing. We had to wait another hour for our van to arrive and were loaded into it with a few others who also had materialized from our tour. We didn’t get “dinner” until about 1am, but, being Spain, it wasn’t that difficult to find places open at that hour. Our son held up pretty well all things considered, and he thought eating pizza at 1am was a real treat. He certainly got an education on that trip as did his dad and I, the first lesson being not to ever sign up for one of those awful one-day trips to Morocco. On the other hand, we learned the true meaning of “Ojala!”

  5. In Venice we had walked what seemed like forever only to find ourselves on the wrong side of the canal we needed to cross, with no bridge nor water taxi anywhere around! We couldn’t bear the thought of retracing our steps when we were so close to our destination! In the distance was a barge. As it approached, we waved and called, our thumbs prominently displayed. It pulled over. With lots of hand signals we were able to explain our situation. The crew smilingly took us on board and ferried us to the other side amid smiles and laughter all around!

  6. The Euro HWY was still under construction in June 1997. My passed out newlywed husband and I crossed the Swiss Alps in a completely restored 1971 Daytona yellow Corvette convertible on the old, very narrow road that wound up an alp like garland on a Christmas tree. Every single foot of this road had cathedral like hand cut stone arches framing vistas of snow capped impossibly rugged mountains to the lavender horizon.
    Suddenly 2 militants with assault weapons and 3″ bullets nestled in neat rows up and down the backwards suspenders crossing their burly chests, stepped into the road. They didn’t speak English at all. I finally gathered by the increasingly fearful expressions on their faces and reserved but panicked gestures that they were asking how my husband had died. I burst out laughing. They immediately lowered their weapons to the pointed at the sky two handed grip and put on their stern faces. I stopped laughing, swallowed and in a panicky pantomime, swigged beer and passed out. Their faces became terribly concerned and confused. I pointed to our wedding rings. They thought I killed him because he disappointed me in some way, I could tell. Perhaps I’d caught him with a bridesmaid in a closet? Finally I sniffed loudly at Ray and held my nose. No good. I sniffed again, fanning my face dramatically with my hand. Nope! I began waving them around to his side of the car and sniffing and crooking my finger until finally one of them leaned in and sniffed with an absolutely terrified expression. Then he jumped up, placed his weapon back onto his shoulder and excited and relieved beyond measure, explained to his comrade that my husband had gotten drunk at the reception and passed out on the way to the hotel. They laughed uproariously and waved me on my way. Not one car had squeezed past us the entire time. Neither did I encounter one as I crawled up, down and around the mountain, marveling at the incredible stonemasonry, and the single most spectacular sunrise over the most stunning long range mountain view I have ever seen. I wonder if I should have tried to explain that we’d been married two weeks and were camping in a tent? I’m certainly happy my drunk ex-husband slept through all that.

  7. The comments on the stormy seas at the Norwegian coast are true. It is the stormiest location in Europe. I cruised from Copenhagen to Geiranger and back. On the open Atlantic, the waves were so large that I went to my cabin for a nap. I figured that lying down would be the best thing to do. But my bed was lengthwise to the ship and so I was rolling in bed and getting more sick, as the waves hit the ship sideways. I moved an easy chair to face my window and watched the horizon sitting up, and that was the best way to deal with the large waves.

  8. I had a friend ask me one time why I didn’t have any horror stories about my many travels. And I told her because it’s all part of the adventure! One time in Rome my friend and I were waiting for a train that was going to be hours late. She was annoyed to say the least. I spent a couple hours sitting next to an elderly couple who shared their peanuts with me. My friend refused the kind offer. The Little mama talked in Italian and I talked in English. Not sure what either of us talked about but when they left to go get their train, she blew me a kiss! How sweet was that!

  9. 1975: I was finishing a semester in Europe armed with a Eurail Pass and a schedule of travels to as many places as possible with different friends. We planned out meet-ups weeks in advance using the Thomas Cook train schedule “bible”, since we had no internet or cell phones. At the end of my last day in France, I was planning to take the overnight train from Paris to Venice to meet a friend to wend our way through Yugoslavia to Athens, where I would meet my sister. But before I left France, I wanted to go to Chartres to see the cathedral with a couple of friends, use up my remaining French francs, and then head back to Paris to catch the night train. After we had all thoroughly enjoyed the amazing cathedral, a group of us caught a what we thought was a return train from Chartres — but we discovered when it stopped for good in a small town (it looked nothing like Paris!) that we had taken a branch-line train going west to Nogent-le-Rotrou, not east to Paris. Another member of the group also had been planning to continue on from Paris that night, on an overnight train/ferry/train to London, and neither of us spoke much French nor had any francs left. We had already missed our planned connections in Paris, and we had no way to communicate changes to the traveling companions we were each supposed to meet the next day. We were in tears as we tried to figure out next steps with the station master. A couple of young women were in the station, heading home to the small town to spend the weekend with family after working all week in Paris. They spoke excellent English, and — to my eternal surprise and gratitude — without knowing us at all, they gave my friend the key to their apartment in Paris to spend the night before she caught the train/ferry/train to London the following day, and gave me enough francs to get a taxi from the Paris station where I would arrive on the last train of the day from Nogent-le-Rotrou, to the station on the other side of Paris where the next train to Venice would leave from. Without a taxi, I would never have caught that train in time. As it worked out, I was 12 hours later than planned, but at least I got to Venice. And the friend I was meeting in Venice showed up to meet each of the trains that I *might* be on from Paris — so we were able to travel together through Yugoslavia. Two young women traveling together was MUCH preferable to one young woman traveling alone! I have always remembered the kindness of those two young women from Paris, and the trust they showed.

  10. We had a lovely Airbnb accommodation looking out on the port of Passai, Spain. There seemed to be quite a bit of activity on the street in front of our apartment after the first few days, including the building of what looked to be a performance stage. We asked the landlord and he said there was a saint’s day festival coming up, which we were not aware of. To our dismay, the stage would be hosting rave-like bands starting at 1 in the morning each morning for the next several days. (That’s right, 1 am in the morning, ’round about midnight until daybreak and later.) Jovial and drunken Basque youths lined the street and the bands played on! The police told us they just looked the other way for those few days. We ended up moving after the first day once we figured out what was happening. Airbnb helped us get a refund of our remaining days. Advice to travelers – check to see if your accommodations will be anywhere near a saint’s day festival and be ready to party if it is! If I was 40 years younger with no other plans I might have been out there partying with them! (Our next Airbnb hostess told us they would definitely have told us if there was going to be a festival event right outside our window before taking the booking.) We ended up staying in an upscale hotel in San Sebastian due to a lack of available housing, but it was nice and, most importantly, quiet!

  11. My husband and I were driving from the Averyon to Toulouse. Far, far away, at the end of the tiny road we were about to turn onto, there was a gigantic (farm equipment carrying?) truck. I thought nothing of its lumbering approach till we got a bit closer and I realized I had never seen a truck this size in my life–and there was not enough room for the truck and our car…
    We tried to move off the road to let the monster slug passed us… Alas, our car flew into a 2 foot ditch (those ditches which line most country roads in France…)
    We stopped for a moment to catch our breath and began to notice that every single person that drove passed us offered to help!
    After the 5th offer, we finally decided to accept the help.
    Then, more people stopped. Eventually, there were 6 French guys helping my husband push the car out of the ditch! They were so nice!!!! (In the states people usually just drive by…)
    To this day, I wish I knew the names of those nice people, so I could thank them for saving us!
    Though I will be more careful in the future, this is one of my happiest memories of France: how kind the people are and how helpful.

  12. You had me at “finally writing that book”! I absolutely loved Rick Steves’ recent travelogue compilation, and I am sure you have equally comparable stories that are humorous and entertaining to read as well. Hopefully you are able to find time and motivation during this downtime to accomplish your goals!

    You are certainly correct that the inconvenient “jams” that occur while traveling can make some of the best memories and stories to later tell. I’ve had my share of gaffes while driving through Europe, which I can fondly look back on now with humor. From the time that our GPS navigation repeatedly tried to get us to drive through an active bomb range in France, or inadvertently caused us to drive through the middle of a busy Italian market with no way to retreat, or led us onto a highway in Germany that was closed for construction… I could’ve sworn that our GPS system was trying to kill us! Fortunately we survived all of these experiences and have some great stories to tell, which I’ve finally started to write down on my blog as well during this time of no travel. Hopefully we will all be back on the road again soon and exploring the world when it is safe to do so!

  13. After watching many “Airport” reality TV shows, I had decided I was never going to be late for a flight when I travelled to England. But little did we know…
    It all started when we were leaving London to go to Denmark. Our flight was leaving at 12.25pm and we had booked and paid for a bus trip from London to Luton Airport.

    My wife and I left our hotel near Trafalgar Square at 7 in the morning and travelled by underground to Marble Arch where our bus was due to pick us up at 9:10. We arrived at the corner of Hyde Park at 8 o’clock with plenty of time to spare… or so we thought.

    Earlier buses came and went so we assumed that all buses were running on time. Not so. 9:10 came and went and then we waited with several others who were due to catch earlier flights than ours. We saw a group of elderly ladies hop in a taxi to go to the airport and subsequently they frantically hopped out after their taxi had driven a short distance. They saw a bus arrive.

    We heard from taxi drivers that there was a huge traffic jam near Victoria Cross and our bus would be delayed. Eventually another bus that was also running late pulled up. It was now 10 in the morning and there was a 90 minute bus trip to Luton Airport. We enquired whether we could board this bus and the driver said we could. What a relief.

    The bus journey went smoothly but with several stops on the way we arrived at Luton at 11:45. The flight was closing at 12 noon. Fortunately the airline had a very helpful desk for late check ins and we checked in our bags. They advised us to go around the queue to go through the security check. We felt guilty doing this with people in the queue staring at us but we were just following the direction we had been given.

    At security everything was going smoothly until they started scanning my shorts and after the scanning wand had beeped several times, the security people advised that I had to have a strip search. It was now almost 12 noon and the flight was about to close.

    Well I went to a room to be strip searched. There was a store security tag in my shorts that kept being beeping. It was the first time I had worn these shorts. When it was removed, I was free to go.

    I exited the room and met my wife waiting nervously outside loaded up with all our passports, ipads, wallets etc. It was now 11:59am. I had my shoes in my hand and with only socks on my feet, we raced through duty free shopping attracting all sorts of inquisitive stares from people. We raced to the lounge but then we saw a departure board on the way. Our flight was delayed by an hour. We both looked at each other and thought… “What the..”

  14. My Jam story was an event that amazed me and most anyone I’ve shared it with in the 35 years since. Living at the time in the Hague, Netherlands, I’d spent the week on business in Ireland with a late Friday afternoon return booked to Amsterdam Schipol airport. A snowstorm hit before we could leave Ireland causing a four-hour delayed takeoff. I had been dropped off at the airport for my out-bound flight and planned on taking the train from Schipol into the Hague and then a taxi home. With the delay, it was after midnight before I reached the ticket office in the train station there at Schipol. When I asked the ticket agent if there were any more trains going into the Hague at that late hour, he just reached for his phone. He summoned a train from Leiden, about the halfway point between Amsterdam and the Hague, and instructed me to go to the usual platform and a train would arrive. Normal service for the day was over but, they dispatched a train just for me!!

    Now the fun part about punctuality of the Dutch trains. The normally scheduled trains from Schipol to the Hague departed throughout the day at 21 and 51 minutes past the hour…to the second usually by my prior observations. The train arrived from Leiden about 1:00 AM. A platform agent and conductor made sure I made it onto My train where I sat comfortably until exactly 1:21:00 at which time the train began its uneventful journey into the Hague Central Station. So, I have a private train for the grand sum of 9.10 Dutch Guilders, about $4.00. When I shared this story with my Dutch colleagues, whose taxes subsidize their excellent rail service, they could only wonder why the railroad didn’t take my fare and put me in a taxi! Would have denied me a great story I’ve shared many times since.

  15. Last year, we stopped in Naples for a few days before joining RS Sicily Tour. Our main objective was to visit Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius & Naples Archeology Museum. At 8 AM, we arrived at the train station. Station staff would not sell us tickets to Pompeii, we were all confused why. Then one station lady told us they just decided to go on a strike at that very moment, and stopped the trains for the rest of day. We wondered how to get to Pompeii. Many tourists left, but we were still pondering. Then, the same lady announced they decided to run one train to Pompeii in 5 min. She stressed we should catch the train back at 4:30 PM at Pompeii. There will be no other train. So we went off. Pompeii was wonderful with a fewer people. Then my husband caught a bus to climb Mt. Vesuvius, while I basked in Pompeii streets. By 4:30 PM, my husband rushed back to Pompeii, worrying about missing the train. But the trains were running on regular schedule by then. What kind of strike is that? Next morning, we went to the Metro station to head to museum. A station staff said we could not go on that line, and did not say why. We were scratching our heads. Luckily a nice young local medical student was there, and he told us to follow him. He did not know why the line was down, but he was going to the same way anyway. He pointed many interesting facts and what to see in Naples. We got to the museum before the opening time fine. We waited to open, but nothing happened. No explanation. After waiting nearly 1 hour, finally somebody told us that museum’s toilet overflowed, and no plumber would show up on Sunday, so the museum would be closed for the rest of day. Not to worry, we whipped out RS Guide Book and followed his recommended walking tour of Naples. We had a wonderful, relaxing day walking around Naples. We now have a good excuse to return to Naples.

  16. Paris. February 1986. Our plane for home leaves Gatwick tomorrow. We head for Gare du Nord on the Metro only to realize we were headed in the wrong direction, got off at Kleber and of course missed our train by seconds. We settled in with deux Heineken and caught the next train to Boulogne, arriving late at night only to miss the last ferry. We made the crossing on some kind of cargo ship, along the way meeting a charming French mom with her 2 youngsters in tow, whose husband had told her if anything goes awry on the trip to ‘just think of it as an adventure.’ Indeed! We arrived at Folkestone in the predawn hours with time to spare for a treasured bath in the hotel we had fortunately booked for our last night. Victoria station was nearby and the hubbub of Gatwick left us unfazed!

  17. I was traveling alone within the US. On the first leg of my flight I met a family from Switzerland with school-age children. We were going separate ways after our first flight, they had a long lay-over and mine was supposed to leave right away. The children were disappointed because I had taught them an American card game to pass the time. They wanted to teach me a Swiss game but we were landing. My second flight was canceled and I ended up having a long lay-over too. A man in front of me in line from our flight was very rude about the cancellation of our flight. They shuttled him off to some other flight. I told the ticketing agent I was fine with the delay because I was going to get a chance to learn some Swiss games with my new friends. Not only did I enjoy learning the games but the ticketing agent put me on the next flight in first-class, no extra charge because she said “I appreciate being treated with respect”

  18. 5 years ago my husband and I took a road trip from south Florida to New Orleans. It was an 11 day journey because we believe the journey is an important part of the trip. After camping in north Florida and waking up very early, we headed to the panhandle where we had a groupon for parasailing. The earliest time slot was 1:30pm. We arrived several hours early. We checked Trip Advisor and ended up going to an old time photo place where we spent a few hours dressing up and doing a photo shoot. It made for a great anniversary keepsake. Then with more time still available, we ended up doing an olive oil tasting. We got to try olive oils infused with things like garlic, rosemary, and basil. We never would have done those things if we had been able to go parasailing in the morning.

    On the same trip, we planned a shrimping boat adventure in Biloxi. However, they didnt take reservations, and when we showed up the boat was filled with a home school field trip. We ended up finding a local beach instead. At the beach we were amazed to see markings labeled at the second story of a building marking the water lines of recent hurricanes. It was interesting to see how bad the flooding had been first hand.

    We tried the shrimping adventure again on the way back, but that time there was a boy scout trip. We ended up stopping at the U.S.S Alamama and learned a lot of history that day instead.

  19. Have you ever been in a restaurant dining room and seen a Christmas catch fire from the lit candles? The waiter casually strolled over to flap out the flames with his towel. This happened in the Golden Rose Hotel, Innsbruck in 1973 while on our honeymoon. The novelty experience led to diners sharing conversations. A British couple next to us were also in town to ski, but there was a lack of snow. They were living in Bologna and would be driving to Venice for a few days on their way home. When they asked us to join them we said YES! I didn’t foresee arriving in Venice at midnight and standing outside with Vicky on the water taxi to take in the romantic views. Our husbands were staying warm in the cabin. When we were checking into the hotel the male receptionist asked if we were “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” from the 1969 movie – ha, ha. My husband and I spent an even less romantic New Year’s Eve on a train back to Innsbruck with dozens of Turkish workers returning to jobs in Germany. Can you believe we are still married 47 years later and have returned to Innsbruck after a RS tour?

  20. Upon arriving in Venice we took the bus to Piazza Roma where we planed to take a vap. to our hotel as usual. A big water festival was taking plance and all the canals were closed to vap. traffic. Had to walk all the way to the Rialto Bridge area. Saw many cool areas of the city we had overlooked before. Got to the hotel, checked in and then watched a really cool boat / water festival.

  21. I bet I have more stories than most people. My husband worked for Pan Am so we had free travel, mostly in first class. I did not like to leave the 4 children at home so the baby, toddler and 2 slightly older children came along, almost all over the world. The older 2 knew that if they did not behave very well, they would not ever get to go again. They were very well behaved, many people commented their good behavior. Never usually did not actually know if we could get on a plane with the space available tickets – patience needed. Some challenges – running out of diapers at an unplanned stop in Canada when NYC airports were closed; the 7 and 9 year old had to look after the 2 year at the front of the plane, and I was in the last row with the baby because no other seats. Flying form Seattle to Hawaii when I was 6 1/2 months pregnant with 4th child but looked 8 1/2 months; very concerned flights attendants. When moving from Hawaii back to Connecticut, our suitcases went but we did not, so stayed at hotel in Hawaii with new tea shirts and new swim suits. Got to Calif to learn that our suitcase were back in Honolulu so went to Disneyland to await arrival of suitcases. Many more adventures and still love to travel.

  22. One of our fave memories of a changed flight jam was running as fast as we could between flights the length of the Amsterdam airport-security took 2 seconds to check our passports and wave us through so we could make our flight home to PDX.
    We are in our 60’s but as we fell breathlessly into our seats on the plane I looked at my husband and said ‘Wow-I feel like I’m 50 again!’

  23. The plan was to take a fast hydrofoil ferry from Calais to Dover, but it broke down leaving us on a slow boat on a beautiful late afternoon. We spent the time on our extended cruise sitting in the sun and snacking on a container of licorice. We have been on a quest to find Tivoli Mix ever since!

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