Lost in Paris #travelfiascos

It is not the destination where you end up but the mishaps and memories you create along the way!

Have any of us embarked on a journey and not created memories, good or bad about travel fiascos? Isn’t those moments of leaving something beyond or getting lost in a city or realizing suddenly that you don’t have the right ticket, makes us go back to those moments and leave us with a chuckle or anguish?

So still seating back at home in this so-called “Unlock 2.0” where everyday the count of Corona infections is increasing at a staggering rate, I thought of bringing to you those small, inconsequential yet most cherished memories of travel fiascos.

Paris. 2012.

It was my first work trip abroad to Copenhagen and I couldn’t just let go the chance to travel anywhere in EU. The first place had to be Paris. City of Love. Whatever! 😀

One of our close friends, Debanjan, was studying in Essec, around 40 mins outside Paris and we crashed into his college apartment to relive the fun college days. This #travelmishap chronicle is about how the last few moments in Paris taught us an important lesson!

Like all travelers, we visited The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur, Mont-marte which is a very unique ensemble of art and culture. There used to a medium sized open air art market (behind the chapel) where different artists used to bring their paintings, sculpture and display for sale. The highlight though were the cartoonists – creating live cartoon images of travelers, old or young and they were pretty awesome.

We couldn’t let go such a chance and immediately requested one old grumpy gentleman to paint us. This was fun – first I went and then Sassy and the outcome was beyond imagination!

Super excited with the cartoon, we roamed about in Paris for two days and on the last day of our travel back to Copenhagen, we had few things to cover on our bucket list.

  • Visit Louvre museum
  • Watch Eiffel Tower lights in the evening
  • Catch a train from there itself to go to the other little known airport in Paris, Orly – around 90 mins away, to board our flight at 9.30pm.
    So much in one day – it was destined for some real mess! 😀

The day started, we bid goodbye to Debanjan – thanking him for his super hospitality and spent almost 6 hours in Louvre, mesmerized about the archaeological remains from different era and from different civilizations. In the evening, we went to Eiffel Tower – spent some time there and then started figuring out how to go from there to Orly.

Quickly realized, we could ride a metro to “Denfert Rochereau” and then change to a Regional train to Orly. All good?

Where is my Metro?

Few mins in the Metro and we realized we were going on the opposite direction. Got down, took the actual one and reached “Denfert Rochereau“.
Since here we were boarding a Regional train, we needed to buy tickets (beyond our Paris pass) and because of the Metro fiasco, we were already late and the ticket counter was closed!

What next? Buy ticket from the vending machine?
Ever heard of Murphy’s Law?
Our Mastercard was not working in those vending machines, the ticket counter was closed, the cash option of vending machine had only French language option and time was running out.

The unique thing about travel is that there are good people around all of us. Though seeing us stranded and asking for help, many didn’t come forward (quite surprising – mostly due to the language barrier) but there was this gentleman who spoke little English, heard our situation, paid for our ticket with his card and we repaid him the cash!

Finally something good happened and we breathed a sign of relief. But life had some other plans still… to make us never forget that evening.

Where is the cartoon?

We reached Orly, boarded our flight just in time, reached Copenhagen and while we were on the CPH metro towards our home, I couldn’t find the roll of the cartoon painting on my backpack nor on Sassy’s!
Scampered through and back to the airport, but no – it was not there and not to be found.

The best memory of our Paris trip was probably lost in that hullabaloo of boarding the wrong metro, panicking over missing flight and not able to buy the ticket.

Where is my apartment key?

Things didn’t just end there and thanks to Debanjan, who read this post and pinged me on Facebook and reminded me the final frontier. So let me document that as well.
We reach our apartment building and the key was with Sassy and as luck would have favored us, the key was not to be found! It was past midnight and we were stranded. Quite luckily, while scourging through my backpack, I could find the spare key and I don’t remember when and how it came into my backpack from my office bag! Long story short, we were able to get home finally. Debanjan was gracious enough to courier the keys back later on.

Honuman Tips:
1. Never put too many things to do on the final day
2. Make sure the return journey from hotel or any location to the airport or train station, is well chalked out in notebook or in mobile
3. Keep everything that’s important like souvenirs, safely packed or tied to the backpack.

So what remained with us? Memories. Good and Bad. We smile back and think how the last moment rush caught us unprepared and we kept back a part of us (in that photo), somewhere in the streets of Paris.
Here is the picture of that cartoon I took while it was still being drawn.

Do you have such fond or not-so-fond memories of #travelfiascos?
Let us know here in comments below or in Facebook.
And we will back next week with another #travelfiascos story!

Saying good-bye with images of the other Honumans in Paris.
Good memories.

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