In my last posts I’ve written about the negative things about traveling, and about the times I fell into travel scams in Europe. Now I have decided to focus on positive travel experiences when locals were kind or helped me on my trips.
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Interacting with locals you can have some of the most authentic travel experiences. The truth is they are not always pleasant. You can find friendly people willing to help or people who might not be having the best of days everywhere.
In my trips, I have found a bit of everything. But believe me, the positive travel experiences are more and have a deeper impact. That is why in this post I want to thank from the depths of my soul to all those people who gave me a hand without knowing me. And the best way to thank them is telling their stories.
Searching our hotel in Amboise
When we were arriving at Amboise in France, we got off the train feeling a little lost. We didn’t know where was our hotel and we were in a hurry because the reception was about to close. We asked for directions to a man who also got off the train. He kindly (and surprisingly) offered to take us with him in his car as the hotel was on his way.
Can you imagine? Let two strangers get into your car? I was pleasantly surprised and very grateful. On the way, he told us that he worked in Paris. He preferred to take the train every day instead of driving, so he parked his car at the Amboise Station. Thanks to this man we arrived on time to the hotel. Our host was waiting for us as we were the last check-in before closing.
The man who guided us in Madrid
Once we arrived very early in Madrid at the Mendez Alvaro bus station. We didn’t have a hotel reservation. The tourist office was in Plaza Mayor, as we had previously found out. Then we decided to look for that place to see if they could help us get a hotel.
By the way, don’t travel to any place without having booked a hotel if you don’t want unnecessary worries or spend much money. Check out my 10 travel tips for your first trip to Europe.
We started walking in the direction of the center and asked a man who was walking by how we could get to the Plaza Mayor. He told us that he was going to a place very close to there and that he was going to take the bus. He told us we could take the bus with him and offered to guide us along the way.
We got off the bus, I think in Plaza del Sol, I don’t remember very well, but we walked some more blocks with this nice man. He showed us the way to El Corte Inglés, which is a Spanish chain of department stores.
He showed us the way to Gran Vía, the main commercial street of the city. And finally, he showed us the way to reach the Plaza Mayor. In fact, he pointed the way to several spots of the city, but I could not get much because it was my first time in Madrid.
he also told us that she had a son living in Cadiz and recommended that we should go there if we had the chance. By the way, I did go on my next trip to Spain. If you have not read it, you can do it here: Taking a day trip to Cadiz from Seville
The friendly old woman who gave us cough drops.
The apartment we rented in the Albayzín quarter in Granada was on the ground floor and the window faced the street. On one occasion my husband had gone out to buy bread, I was preparing the table. He had fallen ill with a cough and an elderly woman approached him outside the house. My husband doesn’t speak Spanish so he called me from outside. I looked out the window and saw that the woman was with him.
He told me he didn’t understand what the woman wanted to say. I apologized to her and told her that he didn’t speak Spanish. She told me that she was offering some cough drops because she heard him cough a lot. My husband thanked her and she gave us one more recommendation. To get those same cough drops at the neighborhood pharmacy and say that Paquita sent us.
Without a doubt, the kindness and sweetness of that woman made our day. She didn’t know us at all, but he felt compassion for my husband when he heard him coughing like that. These are travel experiences that touch your heart.
In this link 10 places to visit in Granada Spain. A mini guide you can read about my experience in Granada
The McDonalds guard who lent us the phone
Another travel experience with local people was in Paris. We arrived one night without having booked a hotel, in Paris! imagine!. It was very cold and it was about 9 in the night. We went to the nearby McDonalds to take refuge while we thought about what to do (and to get free wifi). It occurred to us that we could contact a hotel where we had been before.
It was my first trip to Europe and my phone didn’t work there. I had a tablet but the wifi of the McDonalds either did not work, or we needed a code, or I don’t know. The fact is that we were desperate and we did not think clearly. The McDonalds was very crowded and we approached the guard to tell him our case. I don’t know if he understood us because we don’t speak French, but he lent his phone to my husband to make the call to the hotel.
long story short, they didn’t have availability at the hotel. Anyway, we were very grateful to the guard for the gesture since we could not communicate very well with him. Also, in a city like Paris where people are more distrustful, it meant much more to us. In the end, we got a hotel near there, but nothing cheap. We had no choice but to pay for it, it was that or sleep in the cold streets of Paris.
The woman who gave us a map
Once we took the bus from Brussels to Diegem. We would stay there because my flight was departing from Zaventem Airport, closer to Diegem. We got off the bus at a stop where the driver told us. Well, we were a little lost. There were no buildings around, just the road and a few workers nearby.
We asked for directions to the workers, but they didn’t help much. We met other people on the way and asked for many indications, they sent us from here to there and we didn’t find the hotel. Until we asked a woman who took the time to enter her house, take a map and show us the way. She also told us that we could keep her map.
With her directions and with the map we could find our hotel. Thank you dear stranger woman! I was very cold 😀
I’ve had several pleasant travel experiences with local people. Friendly people, smiles, good wishes, people who give you a service with the best face and the best way. Besides the hosts of the apartments or hotels that I have stayed in have also been gentle and friendly.
Some hosts have even gone beyond the polite and have helped us a lot. But I´ll let those cases for another time because they are many.
One of the most gratifying travel experiences is the interaction with locals. Don’t be afraid to approach them. I am so introverted that it’s difficult for me to talk to strangers or asking for help, but when I dared to come out of my shell I’ve got pleasant surprises.
What have been your travel experiences with locals? Have you had positive encounters? I would love to know your anecdotes and adventures. Share with us in the comments section. If you enjoyed this post share with your friends on your fav social media sites. Thanks for reading and bon voyage!