Excited at the prospect of some much-needed pampering, we made appointments and eagerly waited for the day to have a “relaxing” evening. What we were about to experience was not at all what we were expecting.
Our feet were thrust into buckets of freezing cold water and then our toes were attacked by unsmiling ladies with dental tools. This is not an exaggeration. Bridget got to be the first “victim” and tried to warn Shayna by text to run. Shayna thought Bridget was exaggerating and became victim number two.
Nail polish wasn’t even on the menu, and we decided it better to not ask! Not exactly the women's boutique we hoped for.
2- Are we homeless in Paris?
We decided to do a weekend jaunt to Paris with a 5-year-old. One of us - not mentioning any names, but it rhymes with “Shmayna” - was responsible for one thing, booking the hotel room.
After Bridget flew all night from the USA to Germany, a two and a half hour train ride that evening, and a walk from the train station, we finally arrived at the hotel. The hotel clerk couldn’t find the reservation, and after some searching, she located it... for the following night! And they had zero availability for the actual night we needed to stay.
So, there we were in Paris ready to explore with no place to stay. As Shayna’s daughter pulled her mini roller bag down the street she burst into tears because she thought we were “homeless in Paris”. Fortunately, we found a hotel room not too far away, checked in, and went out to eat and placate her daughter with some nutella crepes. It was super fun to carry a crepe wasted, sleeping 5-year old up a never-ending spiral staircase - the charm of old hotels with no elevators!
3- Anyone home?
This is my absolute favorite picture of Shayna! I think it is the raw expression on her face - so genuine and it brings me back to the very moment that I snapped the photo!
We had been out on the town in Barcelona and for anyone who has been to Spain, or much of Europe for that matter, you know dinner is late and everything else is later. We had a fabulous dinner with drinks and then found a really fun bar to hang out.
On our way back to the hotel we were admiring the huge door and ornate door knockers. Shayna decided to hang from one for a picture….and as she lifted her feet, she knocked! It was 3 in the morning and she was accidentally knocking on someone’s door! We didn’t stick around to see if anyone was home!
4 - Tilt-a-whirl anyone?
We arrived in Venice just in time for lunch and decided that wine would be perfect with pasta. And that’s how any good trip starts out, right? As we explored the canals and got lost in the beautiful shops, we also got lost in the Bellinis.
If you never had a fresh Bellini, you need to try one! Be warned that they are like a margarita, where the alcohol unknowingly creeps up on you. We bought some dog face men’s underwear as a gift for Shayna’s boyfriend because of a nickname involving the word “puppy”. Get your mind out of the gutter; it was literally a nickname from a 5-year old!
And of course we bought a traditional carnival mask as a gift for her daughter. When we got back to our room, Shayna put on the puppy pants and the mask and greeted people in very bad Italian from our balcony on the streets below. Bridget went to bed.
A little later Shayna woke me up and said we were going dancing. But, it appeared that Venice closes early. People have dinner and then the streets are quiet. We looked on google and couldn't find anything. We began wandering around aimlessly and then - we heard music!.
We followed the music and discovered an underground dance club for locals. Fortunately we were wearing low-cut tops smooth talkers and they let us in. What we saw was like going back in time many, many years. People were dancing to older American songs and having the time of their life. One dance reminded us of the tilt-a-whirl ride spinning uncontrollably from one side to the next, but we tried it and laughed the entire night. We danced with the locals and enjoyed a night in hidden Venice!
5- You are going the wrong way!
In Marrakech, there really is no such thing as street signs, so you rely on landmarks such as the marketplace, and when you stray, the locals will tell you that you are going the wrong way.
On our last night there, Shayna found a restaurant that she wanted to go to for dinner. It wasn’t near the main square and we didn’t have internet connectivity. We began wondering the narrow streets in the direction we believed it was. The street looked like every other street - concrete walls, piles of rocks, no signs, and randomness around every corner.
On our way we found a group of teenagers playing soccer and joined in for a few kicks. They told us we were going the “wrong way and that the restaurant was closed”. But, we continued on the path. Eventually we were rewarded with the most magical experience at the restaurant. Everywhere in Marrakech is that way - you walk through a plain door and enter into architecturally amazing, large open spaces, beautiful dancing lights, gorgeous fabrics and carved woods - a true fairy tale.
After dinner we came across a store getting lost on our way home. Not to call her out, but Bridget had to have a gorgeous silver statement necklace. Of course credit cards weren’t accepted, so we offered the shopkeeper every last dollar and cent we had in every currency. Sometimes you have to sacrifice for a beautiful accessory!
6- It’s not that big!
When Shayna was still living in Germany, she came to Virginia to visit and we took a day trip to the amusement park. The kids decided to play the games and much to everyone’s surprise they won a large prize. The kind of large prize that NO ONE ever should win - a huge King-Kong sized gorilla!
It was big but we didn’t think it would be a problem fitting it in the car because we had two cars at the park. The gorilla wouldn’t even fit in the car door. The two options were to give it away and live with the looks of dejection/pouting/anger on the kids’ faces, or to pop the top of Bridget’s convertible and strap the gorilla in.
For 50 miles on a major interstate, Bridget entertained carloads of people passing by, honking and laughing at her as she chauffeured the gorilla home. We had a blast watching the whole scene from the other car!
If you want to have a fun adventure - find a fun travel partner. We found ours ten years ago and it has been some of the best adventures we could have ever imagined. It isn’t one thing about our friendship, it is everything about our friendship that makes us work. We support each other even when one of us is making a bad decision and we encourage one another to be the best us we can be!