My Holiday Adventure: A long but light trip to Croatia

Carol Cunningham entered our Travel Writer competition with this story

We stopped for coffee in Andermatt, and this is where I sought my suitcase from the boot. Photograph: Getty Images

We stopped for coffee in Andermatt, and this is where I sought my suitcase from the boot. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Dublin to Pula, Croatia. In an 06D Toyota. The idea seemed exciting back in spring 2015, and the plan was put in place for our summer holiday.

Dublin Port to Holyhead, overnight and then a long drive to Dover followed by the Channel Tunnel to Calais. Our first night in France was spent in luxury in Reims with Champagne tasting and visits to wineries.

It was in Colmar, Alsace, that a problem arose that was not immediately obvious on checking out. The day started well. We had a gourmet lunch of pork and pickled cabbage, served with a dry local Riesling. We paid the driving toll and headed into Switzerland on route to our next destination, Hotel Terzo Crotto in Cernobbio on Lake Como.

We drove through seemingly endless tunnels, saw glaciers and alpine cows with giant bells on their necks. On quiet days I can still hear their bells ringing. We stopped for coffee in Andermatt, and this is where I sought my suitcase from the boot.

The boot was empty.

I had checked out and paid the bill in Colmar, leaving my husband to pack the car. Either the suitcase was still sitting in reception or was lying on the path outside. I phoned the hotel, who could not find the case.

Not speaking, we climbed into the car to discover the lights had been left on and the battery was dead. A Swiss man helped us out and we drove all the way to Italy in total silence.

On arrival at the hotel in Cernobbio, Lorenzo, the proprietor, asked if I would like help with my luggage. I explained. “Lorenzo – I am wearing my luggage – I have nothing else!”

He charged my phone and advised me of a supermarket nearby where I could buy the essentials. When my husband entered, Lorenzo announced that he would give us two rooms that night for no extra charge because he was afraid I might murder my husband if we were put in the same room.

The nearby supermarket had everything I needed – but was closing in five minutes. I bought a bra (size unknown), three pairs of knickers, two dresses, toothbrush and a mascara in record time.

Six missed calls

Back at the hotel I showered, dressed in my supermarket dress (Italian elegance though) and went to the restaurant to wait on my husband. My phone, now fully charged, had six missed calls. The hotel in Colmar had found my case.

We dined on scallops, prawns, foie gras, perfect pasta and even began to laugh a little.

Trieste followed the next day. Five days and 2,324km after we left Dublin, the 06D Toyota pulled into the driveway of our holiday apartment in Pula. My husband opened the wardrobe and started to slowly unpack. I threw my two dresses on a hanger and announced I was off to the beach. There is sometimes great pleasure in travelling light.

PANEL

Enter our Travel Writer competition

Do you have an unusual story to share about a trip that involved an adventure of one kind of another?

The Irish Times, in association with Travel Department, is inviting aspiring writers to compose a 500-word travel story. The author of the best entry wins a seven-night holiday – courtesy of Travel Department – for two people to Tenerife. Departing Dublin on April 21st, 2020, the holiday combines amazing scenery with a relaxing stay by the sea.

Entries close on November 4th, 2019. Entry and find full terms and conditions at irishtimes.com/travelwriter

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