Just to preface this post, these are my personal least romantic experiences. I don’t mean to say that these activities are themselves inherently unromantic, but for us they were anything but romantic.
1. Flying anywhere – I can’t think of anything that can ruin a romantic mood more than a flight going anywhere on any airline. You may be embarking on a trip off a lifetime, but leave it to the modern flying experience to douse that flame of love. While the characters in ‘Pan Am’ may have been able to travel in style, even long haul business class doesn’t afford the same luxury it used to just a few years ago. Add to that cramped spaces, limited bin space and people who left all manners at home, and you have the least romantic travel experience imaginable.
2. Galapagos kayaking – It sounds very romantic at first, sea kayaking in the Galapagos with penguins swimming past and the sun setting in the distance. And it was great for about 60 seconds before we realized that a tandem kayak was the fastest way to couples therapy. Being a methodical person, I wanted us to paddle at the same time, in order to get moving faster. My partner didn’t get the memo on this though and before I knew it, we were going in circles, literally. Every time we tried to correct and stop the almost vomit-inducing levels of spinning, the kayak would simply start spinning the other direction. Of course that’s when we weren’t crashing into rocks. In the process of going nowhere fast, we erupted into a horrible argument, each blaming the other for the paddling disaster. Finally, the Zodiac boat pulled alongside, asked if we needed help and we gave up. We were no longer speaking to each other and I think I had stopped paddling altogether. They hooked us up to the Zodiac, and towed us back to the ship. Even though it sounded promising, this was without question one of the least romantic experiences of my life.
3. Stingray city – The idea of sailing along in the warm Caribbean to a remarkable wildlife viewing area sounds romantic, to me at least. That was before I met the voracious giant stingrays located on a sand bar near Grand Cayman. Unless you’re conspiring in some dubious banking activities or buying jewelry, there’s not a lot to do on Grand Cayman. The tourist highlight is the opportunity to swim with and feed hundreds of docile stingrays. We took the excursion boat out to the sandbar, joyfully jumped in the water and began what we hoped would be a romantic adventure. What I didn’t know was that after feeding the stingrays the supplied fish parts, I should not have wiped the residue on my chest. That’s because the giant stingrays smelled the yummy fishiness on me and attempted to suck it off. The result was a series of bright red and equally disgusting stingray hickies all over my chest and stomach. Nothing kills a romantic moment like fish guts and stingray hickies, take it from me.
4.Vienna Opera – I had the best intentions, I really did. We were on a trip around central Europe and our last stop was in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Vienna. It was my partner’s birthday and I decided to surprise him with a night out at the Vienna Opera House. I can’t say that either of us enjoys opera really, but I thought it would be one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments to see a show in the famous building. I’m a planner, so I tried to buy the tickets before leaving for the trip. At the time the only way to do this was through the Vienna Opera web site, the English version of which was a strange combination of German and English and what I maintain was pure gibberish. I really wasn’t sure what kind of seats I was buying, but I figured it couldn’t be that bad and confirmed the purchase. Finally the day arrived, we were in Vienna, tickets in hand and we entered the grand Opera House. Walking through I could just imagine the members of high society who had once frequented that very spot. Everything seemed to be going well until we got to our seats, which were in a box in the balcony, behind other people. The way the boxes were organized, it was impossible to see anything except for the backs of the people’s heads in front of us. So there we sat for about an hour, listening to music we didn’t understand or particularly like, telling a story we didn’t know anything about, watching the person in front of us react. It was a disaster. We left at intermission, my tail between my legs for the failed romantic attempt.
These are some of my failed romantic travel moments, what are some of yours?