Surprises While Traveling

Surprises while traveling…we have all had them. As a matter of fact you expect them, sometimes even wish for them. Good ones put a big smile on your face. Bad ones, well you just have to grin and bear it.

Have you ever discovered that your passports are still in the safe of your last hotel? No problem…call the hotel, turn around and drive back. Just remember to do a lot of smiling, say that the hour drive back could have been worse and keep saying that you are sorry.

Arc de Triomphe

Have you ever bought tickets to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and then found out that the elevator is not available that day and you have to climb 284 steps to see the incredible view. No problem…start walking. Try not to have a panic attack after you look down the center of the spiral staircase when you are about at the top. If said attack happens, have someone drag you the rest of the way to the top. The view is worth it.

How about the nice surprises. The wonderful antique that you spy in a little shop window and you make a purchase that is half the price of what you thought it would be.

Antique Store Window

You rent a midsize German car and are given a new, top of the line Mercedes Benz for the same price.

These surprises have all happened to me. On my husband’s and my last trip, I received two surprises that I certainly wasn’t expecting…both putting a big smile on my face. I was to receive two blogging awards from my peers. I was nominated by The Blooming Reverend and Outtakes on the Outskirts for the Versatile Blogger Award and by Bits and Breadcrumbs and From the Bartolini Kitchens for the Liebster Blog Award.

I really appreciate that my blog was considered for these awards. It amazes me how many people visit my blog each day considering that I haven’t been blogging that long. It is always such a pleasure when readers leave a comment. Now I get to pass the awards on to fellow bloggers as a thank you. There is a problem in that many of the blogs that I read already have received these awards…so I can only say congratulations to them.

There are rules for the Versatile Blogger Award. (1) I must list 7 random things about myself that you don’t know and (2) nominate 15 bloggers to receive the award.

Did you know?

(1)  I am petite, a little under 5 feet.  (2)  I am as comfortable on horseback as I am on the backseat of a Harley Davidson.  (3)  I am afraid of heights when it pertains to high buildings (see above panic attack).  (4)  When young, I wouldn’t eat egg rolls because I thought they had eggs in them.  (5)  I almost fell over backwards in a restaurant because I didn’t want to put the calamari (no little legs) in my mouth that my husband was trying to get me to taste.  (6)  I like to have a glass of wine at dinner. (7)  I eat one small chocolate every night.

I have a wonderful group of bloggers on my blogroll. You have probably discovered them already but if you haven’t, please check their blogs and help spread the word. I now get to pass on the Versatile Blogger Award. If you have received the award already or it is not your thing – sorry. In no particular order:

(1)  with a glass,  (2) Teresa Blackburn’s “food on fifth” Blog,  (3) stepping my way to bliss, (4) Emily’s Photography Blog, (5) Promenade Plantings, (6) Lulu’s Musings, (7) Mangos chili and Z , (8) Roslyn Street Cafe, (9) Travel with Laughter, (10) Wives with Knives, (ll) The Orange Bee, (12) Hot, Cheap and Easy, (13) La Table De Nana, (14) Lavender and Lime, (15) Cabinet Stew.

The Liebster Blog Award goes to five bloggers that you want to recognize as up and coming bloggers with less than 200 followers. You link to who awarded you, list your five blogs and contact them on their blog. I want to pass this award to the following:

(1) Eat, Play, Love, (2) Five Euro Food, (3) Carolyn Chan, (4) Savoring Every Bite and (5) joshuafagans.

There are so many blogs that I would have liked to have added to both awards. Hopefully you will enjoy reading bloggers from my blogroll and from the ones listed for these awards.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

101 thoughts on “Surprises While Traveling

    1. Hi Monique, Yes, people do say I’m tiny. I thought that would surprise people. No, I didn’t buy the bunny…I knew he wouldn’t be allowed through customs. There were beautiful ceramic vegetables in the window and I bought them all.

  1. OHMHGOSH, thanks so much for the award. I’ll talk about it as soon as I can. I think you gave it to me because too like a glass of wine with dinner and eat one piece of chocolate each night. Ah yes, travel surprises, while reading this a few things came to mind. 🙂 Thanks so much for the nice surprise of passing along the award to me.

    1. Hi Lea Ann, It was my pleasure. I’m glad you liked the surprise. I always enjoy reading your blog. It sounds like we both have little indulgences.

  2. Karen, how very wonderful of you to mention my blog. Thanks so much. It is so important when blogging to be recognized by fellow bloggers so this means a lot to me. Heartfelt thanks.
    Very interesting blog entry on the unexpected part of traveling. I love to travel and do so at every opportunity and have had so many fun and always interesting surprises. Your stories are so much food for thought. Also thank you for sharing so many of your other favorite blogs with us all. Thanks again.
    (PS. If it is okay by you I would like to add your great blog to my blogroll?)

    1. Hi Teresa, It is my pleasure. I enjoy your blog a lot and know others will as well. I felt the same way…it is an honor to get an award from fellow bloggers. And thank you very much, I’d be delighted to be on your blogroll.

  3. Congratulations. I have only been reading your blog for about a week now but have really enjoyed it so far.

  4. Travel surprises? You mean like booking a hotel in France from the states called ‘Chateau X’ and arriving to discover that (1) it was built about 1970 (2) you can’t even see the Chateau from it, and (3) the lobby is home to a very loud African Grey parrot named Coco, whose talents include the sound of a finger dragging on the rim of a crystal wine glass and the loud scraping sound of the wooden door on the stone floor…

    (The owners were very nice, so I never tell the name of the hotel…and the next night in Margeaux more than made up for it!)

    Congrats on your well-deserved awards…can’t wait to read yourlinked blogs!

    1. Thank you so much! I was really surprised to get two awards. Oh the hotel stories. I do sooo much research on every hotel we stay at and you can still get one that turns out not being what you expected. I hope you enjoy the linked blogs. It is always fun finding new bloggers.

  5. Hi Karen, thanks for the shout-out. I LOVE that bunny in the window, hilarious! Your “voice” sounds so much bigger than your petite self…I wouldn’t have guessed that. Even your picture doesn’t really give that away. Congratulations on all of your awards! ~Betsy

    1. Hi Betsy, I have to be the one thanking you again for honoring me with the award. You have a great blog and I know my readers will enjoy it as well. I thought that everyone would be surprised about my size.

    1. Hi Smidge, Thank you for the compliment. The antique store specialized in cookware and decorative items for the kitchen. I bought old ceramic vegetable that I have in a basket in my kitchen. They are really lovely.

      1. Smidge, I’m going to do a post on our kitchen since the look is in keeping with the rest our 1730’s house. I’ll make sure to have the vegetables in the photo.

  6. Congratulations on your awards Karen! They are well-deserved. 🙂 And thank you so much for the Liebster award. I truly appreciate it. I enjoyed reading your post today. I know these surprises all too well. I can just imagine the view down the spiral staircase!!! I had a small little panic attack climbing in a slide suspended high in the air with Mr. N. He had to talk me out of the little caged tube. Eeks!

    1. Hi Kristy, Thank you so much. And you are so welcomed. I know that everyone will enjoy your blog. Oh yes, looking more than a hundred feet down the hole did it. I backed into a tiny doorway and wasn’t going to move. The only problem was all the people behind me. So upwards I went and the view was worth it.

  7. Congrats on your well-deserved awards, Karen. These awards are great because we get to learn a bit more about you, both through your own words and the words of your favorite blogs. I must be going now; I’ve got some blog to read. 🙂

    1. Hi John, Thank you for your compliment and thank you for the award! It was a lovely surprise you presented me with. I hope all my readers go to your blog because your family recipes are so wonderful. I hope you enjoy the new bloggers that you check out.

  8. Now that was a nice surprise!! I enjoy learning these little “insider” tips on my fellow bloggers! Talk about little!! how cute.. I’m 5’2 and I thought I was on the shorter side!! Your blog is so well deserving of these awards and I thank you for nominating me for the Liebster Award. I did receive it awhile ago but will think of some other wonderful blogs to nominate. BTW, did you really purchase the rabbit??

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for the lovely compliment. The awards mean a lot when they come from other bloggers. The rabbit was so cute but I didn’t buy him because he would have been frowned upon by customs. I bought some antique ceramic vegetables that were laying around one of the terrines in the window. I didn’t know you already had the award…your blog is certainly worthy of it.

  9. i think surprises are part of what travel is all about. 🙂 (Now that you mention it, I’m actually surprised to learn that the Arc de Triomphe even has an elevator! I’ve always taken the stairs, but maybe that’s because i’m cheap/was a broke student or some combination thereof.)
    Congratulations on the awards!

    1. Thank you Camille for your nice compliment. We were told that the elevator wasn’t working the day we were there. The climb up wasn’t so bad…it was just the experience of looking down that hole.

  10. Oh please tell me that rabbit is now on your mantle! What a great post and some great picks. Surprises when traveling, how about almost getting booted off the ferry in Venice because you have the wrong tickets and no cash. Thankfully, an Israeli (we mailed him back the money later) and fellow American rushed to our aide. It was 5 a.m. nothing was opened. We always have cash now and check those tickets! (The airport water taxi and public taxi aren’t the same like we thought.)

    1. Greg, I sure wish I had that rabbit but you need special papers for bringing back stuffed animals. That is why I had to at least get his photo. A rabbit dressed like a hunter standing in from of a terrine was just so special. Oh, the ferries in Venice are a real experience. Just waiting with your luggage to board one can be tricky. So much can go wrong with any tickets. I love the kindness of strangers while traveling.

  11. Hi Karen, there was I reading your post about surprises, and thinking back to hotels, general travels and misshaps, smiling to myself and you turn a corner and surprise me 🙂 I guess what I’m trying to say is that I always enjoy your posts, I never quite know where you are going to take me. So thank you Karen for nominating my blog, its very generous of you 🙂
    And I loved the story about the egg rolls! It’s so funny what as kids we get into our heads.

    1. Hi Claire, You are welcome. I hope it was a good surprise because I think my readers will really enjoy the cooking and gardening posts a lot. I laugh thinking about all the egg rolls I have missed in my life.

  12. Well deserved congratulations to you for your lovely blog! I am still envious of your amazing trip and would have been the one passing out on the stairs of the Arc de Triomphe! Lovely to get to know a little about you too … oh yes, wine with dinner. It´s the law isn´t it?!

    1. Thank you, Tanya. It was a lovely surprise to find out about on the trip. There are so many wonderful bloggers out there and I feel privileged with receiving the awards. The Arc de Triomphe experience was memorable to say the least. What do they say…been there, done that. I know to never look down like that again. There has to be a law about wine with dinner…I’ll toast you tonight.

  13. Congrats on the well-deserved awards, and please please keep taking us along on your travels! Love the photos and the stories!! (I did *not* climb the 365 steps to the top of the tower in Bruges. My friends who did told me I made the right call. I’m just saying…)

    1. Hi Rachel, Thank you for the congrats. The awards mean a lot. I’m so happy to know you enjoy the stories about our travels. I didn’t do the steps on the tower in Bruges either. I’m getting smarter as I travel when it comes to stairs leading to very high places.

  14. Karen, I too am afraid of heights, but sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and pray that you don’t go nuts on top. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Hi Bonnie, I am so glad that you enjoyed following along on our trip. It seems I am not alone about heights. I do enjoy the view from the top just not too close to the edge.

  15. Oh my–I’m losing it!! I was here this morning and must have not hit something right to leave a comment!! My thoughts reading this is I think attitude has a great deal to do with how one’s life turns out. And you, my dear, have such a positive outlook on life that I believe things like car upgrades, etc are a result of that. I wish you continued good tidings in life. I so enjoy your blog and the many many interesting places you take me and the recipes you share. Have a great week, Karen.

    1. Hi Sue, Thank you so much for your kind comment and good wishes. I would have loved to pass an award your way but I know that you are an award free blog. Just know that your blog is great and a wonderful inspiration for gardeners. I hope people find you from my blogroll.

  16. Sometimes initially unfavorable surprises on trips can lead to something exciting! I’ve found that a few times. Great to learn a bit more about you. I like (more like, love) to have a glass of wine at dinner as well. 🙂

    1. Hi Caroline, I totally agree that unfavorable surprises can be overcome. If you “roll with the punches” as they say and just make the most of the situation you can find something good in most places, events, and situations. Yes, I agree that wine with dinner really enhances the whole experience of a meal…no matter how simple.

  17. Whoa! You little sweetie pie, you! What a nice surprise to be nominated…thank you. I was so engrossed with your “roll with it” stories and thinking back to our Dominican trip, that seeing my name didn’t register for a moment. You are a doll!

    Isn’t it amazing how big the Arc de Triomphe really is? I remember seeing it first from the Eiffel tower and thinking it didn’t look so grand but once I got closer…oh my.

    Keep on your fine blogging! xxBliss

    1. Hi Bliss, It is so nice to hear that I not only surprised you with the award but that you are happy with the nomination. I know people will enjoy meeting you through your blog and will enjoy it as much as I do. I don’t think people realize how big the Arc de Triomphe really is until you are face to face with it. Or in my case, until you look down that spiral hole from so high above. I thank you for your nice comments and always following my posts.

  18. Karen thank you so much for mentioning Roslyn Street and for the award. I am so thrilled that you enjoy my blog enough to think of me when passing it along. I so enjoyed today’s post. So interesting because it is so true. What great perspective you have! And I love that you described yourself as petite. I also fall in the same category and so prefer that term over “short”. There is nothing sophisticated about that word!

    1. Hi Allison, I was so happy to pass the award to you as I always enjoy your posts and know that others will as well. Yes, I definitely like the word petite. It appears that there are several petites among this group of bloggers. Now if we could only convince the manufacture of clothes to make stylish clothes for us.

  19. This was such a fun read Karen! – there is so much beauty and wonder all around us if we but look. I’d actually enjoy walking up the stairs of L’Arc de Triomphe as odd as that may sound. Congrats on your awards.

  20. As always I love your pictures.
    Congratulations on your awards, they are well deserved.
    I too am afraid of high places.When we visited lebanon my daughter convinced me to go on a ferris wheel. Against my better judgement I went up and when we reached the top the wheel stopped and we were stuck there for 20 minutes! I was terrified and frozen. We sat there and saw the most beautiful sunset I had seen in my life but couldn’t get the courage to let go, get my camera and shoot it!

    1. Hi Sawsan, Thank you for your nice comment. Stuck at the top of a ferris wheel must have been heart pounding…some of them are huge. At least you had a fantastic sunset.

  21. Hi Karen – well done on your well deserved awards, and thank you so much for passing it on to me! It’s always nice to feel loved, right? 😀 I loved reading the little facts about you. Number 4 really made me say “wait,… what?” (They don’t have egg in them?) and number 5 is hilarious. You should try it – it’s really delicious!

    It’s always so nice when you receive surprises on vacations. More often than not they’re the “bad” surprises, so it’s nice to celebrate the good things!

    Well done, and thank you once again 🙂

    1. Hi Charles, Thank you for your compliment. I know people will enjoy your blog if they have never read it before. Isn’t it funny the ideas you have when you are young. I eat calamari now but let my husband have are those little legs. And yes, it is nice to celebrate the good surprises in life.

  22. Congratulations for the awards! You deserve all of them and much more! Thank you so much for choosing me among all these wonderful bloggers! I am honoured! (Someone has passed me this award some time ago; we didn’t know each other then, but I shall link to my answers so that you can see the seven things about me 🙂 )
    I also like drinking a glass of wine with my dinner (and also when I cook for a long time…) You have impressed me with both Harley Davidson and horse riding! (I don’t know which one sounds scarier for me…). Your travel adventures are hilarious!
    Thank you once more for the award. I really appreciate it!

    1. Hi Sissi, Thank you so much. And congratulations on your award…you have such a lovely blog. The recipes that you prepare are great. It’s nice to know you enjoy the travel adventures.

  23. What did you buy in the antique shop? I love searching for vintage abroad, the mundane in one country is a treasure in another. Congratulations with the awards and a list of blogs for me to explore. GG

  24. thank you for the award 🙂 I like the good surprises when holidaying – but not the one where we have the room key for a hotel in Rome and we are in Assisi 🙂 I too have a small piece of chocolate every night

    1. Hi Tandy, It is an award that I was happy to pass along to you. I know others will enjoy your blog as much as I do. I have had to mail a few keys back myself. It sounds like a lot of us like our little piece of chocolate to finish the day.

  25. Hello Karen, so nice to meet you, thanks for stopping by The Café today! I have enjoyed checking out your blog and will look forward to seeing your posts in the future! Oh and my husband had a huge travel surprise – he got to the airport to return back to the States from London where our daughter lives. When he went to check-in he realized he had MY passport! We were so surprised to see him back in London later that day – he had to reschedule his flight for the following day!

    1. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. That was definitely a bad surprise for your husband but a good surprise to spend an extra day with him.

    1. Hi Emily, Thank you so much for your comment. It was certainly my pleasure to pass this award to you. Your blog is just beautiful and I hope that my readers take the time to search out your beautiful posts.

    1. Hi Jed, He is a real classic. I love a rabbit dressed in a hunting outfit in a window full of cooking terrines, etc. Who says the French don’t have a sense of humor.

  26. Congratulations on your awards – they are well deserved! It’s always nice to read little random facts about folks we’ve been following!

  27. Life is full of surprises glad to hear that you’re coping so well! LOL
    My Paris Panic Attack happened at the top of the Eiffel Tower!
    Thanks for stopping by in Normandy.

    1. Hi Maggie,I like good surprises and two awards was a real surprise. It’s funny…I had no problem going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. You don’t know when something like that will happen.

  28. The rabbit with the ammunition in the antique store is priceless.. I would buy that just because lol. An Congratulations on all the many awards you won. You certainly deserve it. I also know many of the blogs you nominated for this award.. and they are amazing blogs. Good blogs to read just makes my fay

    1. Hi Babygirl, Isn’t the rabbit just too cute with the ammunition. The shop owner has a priceless sense of humor. Thank you for the compliment. It is always nice to find new bloggers to enjoy.

  29. Traveling can definitely be crazy but I think it’s the unknowing of what surprise is around the corner that makes it so much fun! Congrats on your awards!

  30. Congrats on the awards. 🙂 I enjoy reading.
    The Passport thing sounds strangely like something I would do. 😀 Glad I’m not alone.
    Keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

  31. Congrats on your nomination and thank you so much for passing on the nomination/mention of my blog – Cabinet Stew! I have been in awe of you ever since you made “freshly pressed” – they don’t just put up any old blog on that you know! I also love finding out little interesting tidbits about bloggers!
    Thanks again for the nice surprise and I will put up a little something about it soon! (work,school and life has been crazy lately)

    1. Hi Carol, Thank you so much for your very kind remarks. It was a thrill to be on freshly pressed and now the two awards. I am so appreciative to all the bloggers who stop by my blog to read and comment on my posts. I know that people will enjoy your posts. Your blog shows that even though life is busy with work, school and a husband that you have time to prepare a home cooked meal and then write about it.

    1. Thank you so much for your nice comment. It’s getting to the top, but once you are at the top of the Arc de Triomphe the view is just wonderful.

  32. Karen – I just discovered you nominated me for Versatile Blogger! What a lovely surprise and thank you so very much. It is an honor to be mentioned by our fellow bloggers. Now if I can just figure out how to tag it on my blog to show off just a little. I’m way behind in reading up on my favorite blogs – of which yours is one. I plan on doing just that when my house full of company is gone – the Sunday after Thanksgiving! Have a glorious Thanksgiving and thanks again for the honor!

    1. Hi Linda, It was my pleasure to have passed the award on to you. I know that everyone will enjoy your posts as much as I do. This is a busy time of the year and when your life settles down I will look forward to your choices.

  33. THANK YOU for nominating me for the Liebster award !! And you’re so right, it’s difficult to choose just five ! And congratulations on the Versatile Blogger Award as well – it’s such a cool way to get to know people just that little bit better. Love it !

    1. Hi Alexandra, I’m sure that someday you will get the chance to visit France. In the meantime there are wonderful books and blogs that you can enjoy.

    1. I now get to thank you for an award. The Reader Appreciation Award is lovely, and I gladly accept it. I’ve enjoyed your blog from the start.

  34. Our younger daughter and I had stayed overnight in a lovely B&B in northern Wales and were leaving for Scotland by train in the morning. We took a cab to the “station” and while waiting, I realized that my travel purse, with our passports, all our money, tickets, etc., was still on the floor of the breakfast room at the B&B!!! Panic. I took off running, knowing I’d never make it before the train came, but determined to try. As I passed a park, I saw a man walking his dog, panted out the story and asked for a ride. He, the dog and I all jumped in the car and he drove like Mario Andretti all the way to the B&B, where I charged up and up and up the enormouse number of stairs to where the couple was waiting with my purse. He got me back to the platform with a bit of time to spare and probably dined out on the story for weeks. Ah, yes, the unexpected!

    1. Hi Janet, I can totally relate to what happened to you. It is wonderful when we meet people that we don’t know and will never meet again that time out of their lives to help a traveler that is in such distress.

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