Home page / Página principal
[ENGLISH]Have you found an error or do you want to add more information to these pages?
You can contact me at the bottom of the home page.
[ESPAÑOL] ¿Ha encontrado un error o tiene información adicional?
Puede mandarme un mensaje al final de la página principal

Funny stories on my travels

Here are a few funny things that have happened to me on my travels. They mostly are concerning mistranslations. I thought I would write them down before I forget them.


A very nice French man was talking to my family and me about the rugby emblems on the shirts. He said "I've been to your country three times to watch the rugby. England has the rose and Scotland has the thistle. In France, we have the cock".

I was on holiday with a lady that washed the clothes with a little too much powder and developed “personal itching”. I was the only one that could speak French so I looked up the word for thrush and went on my merry way to the pharmacy. I was thinking why there was only one word for thrush then it dawned on me – it was the definition for the bird. I could have made a fool of myself there. I could have said something as meaningless as "my friend has a parrot under her arm".

I saw a sign on a ferry that said "Throw nothing in the sea". Just how do you throw nothing in the sea?

The subject of swearing raises its head from time to time. I taught my friend a swear word without giving it much thought. It had the same cadence as “s’il vous plait”. A month later we went to France and my friend wanted to buy a CD. He went up to the counter and almost said “Good morning. I would like to buy this and go f-yourself”. He just stopped himself in time.

I was lost and naturally, I asked people the way. I started by saying “Excuse me, could I ask you a question?” Every single person looked at me puzzled at first. Of course I started wondering what I was saying. I should have said “Puis-je poser une question?” Instead I was saying something like “May I ask you for a question?”

I wanted to start off a conversation with people instead of the normal “bonjour, je voudrais ...” so I started off with a “salut” to a lady behind the counter. She looked at me shocked, and then carried on with the packing. I said the same word to someone else that just looked at me funny and carried on with her duties. I know now that I was saying the right word but you have to be familiar with someone first before using it. When I got back to my accommodation, I looked it up but I wondered if I was saying another word on the same page which meant something like a female dog and spent the rest of the holiday embarrassed.

I was visiting someone in hospital (who is fine now by the way). A man was talking to my brother and me about how she would get home. He said “maybe they will take her home by sheep.” We had a laugh, thinking it was just a joke and my brother made a ‘baa’ noise. It turned out he meant ‘ship’.

I spotted this shop - click it to make it larger:


I was on a coach trip and the driver (who had a SatNav) asked the way on two occasions. He saw one man and asked him the way. He said something like "turn right at the pub but it isn't there anymore".
At another point of the journey, he asked someone where the bus station is. The man pointed to a bus in front of the coach and said "follow him".


I was talking to a man who spoke English in a very strong Mallorcan accent. He told me he used to live in Birmingham for three years. I put on the accent and said “they talk like this there” and he immediately switched in to the accent too and we had a little conversation like that. It was at that moment two women walked behind us to the reception desk with Brummy accents... What are the chances eh?

The lady at reception was telling me that she had to learn German for her job. She spoke to some German guests that went out for the day. She thought they said something about flies in the room so she went up later and sprayed a can around the room. The guests returned and complained about the smell. It turned out that they just said that they were going to fly tomorrow...

A man told me that his father does not speak a word of English. He was sat at the table with two other people that were having a conversation about English. One asked the other “where did you learn English?” and the other replied “I did it in the school”. The father stopped eating his soup and couldn’t decide whether to spit it out or what because apparently in Mallorcan, “I did it in the school” sounds rather like “I did it in the water”.
I’m not sure if this is true or whether he was having a joke with me...


I was on holiday with a lady that could not speak Spanish. She came out of a pharmacy saying that she saw a tube of cream pies. After a moment’s thought it dawned on me what she meant. She saw something like ‘crema pies’ – foot cream.

A man, woman and I were a little inebriated one night in our room. I was showering whilst (unbeknown to me) the man and woman were dancing and doing very silly things on the balcony to a REALLY awful Abba tribute act. When I came out of the shower, I had a shower-cap on and walked up to them on the balcony to do something silly (I don’t know what) but I heard laughter from below. The man and woman had attracted a little bit of attention and some of the audience turned their chairs to face our balcony.
Well that started a chain of events – sock puppets, silly hats and all sorts of things. A couple of times I stood on my hands and did the splits upside-down which raised a reaction from the ladies below. Some tried to photograph us but we kept ducking. More and more of the audience turned their chairs to our direction and the singers were getting angrier. One kept giving us an awful look as she lost more and more of her audience to us.
The next morning we got a message on our door handle that said "YOU KNOCKED THE SPOTS OF ABBA - THANKS!"
(I didn't upload a larger version for this one)


I have long hair. I was sat at a table in a dimly-lit bar talking to a man. A man selling flowers approached the table behind me and asked my friend "flower for the lady", looked at me, apologized and left very quickly.

I got chatting to a very lovely lady who has a name that meant dolphin. When I started to point this out, she said “yes I know, it means Flipper”.
Hmm... must be her nickname.

I caused a little bit of chaos when going to dinner. Apparently I didn’t quite pronounce my room number which was something like doscientos setenta = 270. They thought I said doscientos sesenta = 260 so it seemed like someone was eating twice at night... Oops...

Here are some photos that I have taken that amused me. Click on them to get a bigger version:

It didn't work for me...

Pisar means "to tread on"

I looked, but I never saw him

Well, he has to do something when the panto isn't on

That is Catalan for firemen

I just wanted to show you this excellent shot

I was looking for a biscuit I dropped. No, really I was.


Always think things through before saying something in another language. My friend didn't and she said to some men "ciao bella" meaning "goodbye beautiful". It raised a laugh though.

Isn’t it odd that prices are written on the ceiling wherever you go in Italy? Whenever I ask how much something is, the vendor looks up at the ceiling for a moment and says something like “five euros”.

Center Parcs

I just fancied showing you this photo:


If you are going to Pamporovo to ski, you might consider going to another resort in Bulgaria as this one has annoying bell sellers. I pretented to be Spanish and they left me alone. It was hard to keep up this pretense though.
I also spotted this shop. I just thought I would walk up to it just to read the door (click for a larger version):

[ENGLISH]Have you found an error or do you want to add more information to these pages?
You can contact me at the bottom of the home page.

[ESPAÑOL] ¿Ha encontrado un error o tiene información adicional?
Puede mandarme un mensaje al final de la página principal

Home page / Página principal