This is the second in a mini series looking at the best, worst and most surreal moments of our five week travel adventure. Have a look at The Best of Five Weeks of Travel too.

The Worst of Five Weeks of Travel

Worst Accommodation Stayed In

Okay, so I have already written a whole post about the place that made me give up on hostels altogether, and no I’m still not going to name and shame them, but it was just so terrible it had to be included in this list. The lumpiest, most uncomfortable mattress I have ever slept on, only a tiny heater to keep us warm while it was snowing outside and a pungent smell that just wouldn’t go away; it’s safe to say that this remains the worst accommodation we encountered on our travels.

Worst Journey Travelled

Our first overnight journey, from Plovdiv in Bulgaria to Istanbul in Turkey, was far and above the worst. What was meant to be a nine hour train journey was actually a forty minute train journey followed by three different buses. That alone was enough to leave me dreading the experience, but when you add to that the heating on the bus being on full blast all night and the driver chain smoking out of the window, it became difficult to breathe, never mind sleep. On the plus side, the bus did arrive a couple of hours ahead of schedule, but that just meant more time to kill in the dark, snowy streets before our hotel room was ready!

Dervish Dancer, Istanbul, Turkey

Worst Meal Eaten

It’s fair to say I became a bit of a kebab expert over the course of our travels; in fact when I stopped to work it out I realised I’d eaten over twenty-five kebabs in our time on the road! We soon found it easy to identify how good a kebab was going to be before we even took a bite, and I could tell from the offset that our chicken kebabs at a small cafe in Ephesus were not going to be great. Double the price of anywhere else and half the size, the chicken was dry and tasteless and only accompanied by a few limp leaves of lettuce. I was not impressed.

Worst Evening Entertainment

Watching a belly dancing show was on my list of things to see and do in Turkey, but somehow I let the boyfriend convince me that a Dervish dancing show would be a more authentic, and more affordable, experience. After watching a bunch of old men spin in circles while chanting religious mumbles for over an hour, I was just about ready to kill the boyfriend. If religious ceremonies are your sort of thing, maybe this would be more bearable, but if you want to see some dancing, do not be fooled by the name.

Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

The Biggest Tourist Trap

Do not get me wrong, I loved Goreme and enjoyed our time there, but it was a complete tourist trap. Nestled in the centre of the Cappadocia National Park, all you could find in this town were tour operators, cave hotels, souvenir shops and restaurants. We booked on to the tours and stayed in a cave hotel just like everyone else, we even bought some overpriced souvenirs to remember our travels, but it has to be said there was nothing remotely Turkish in the town; you could have literally been anywhere in the world!

The Biggest Fail

There were quite a few fails, including breaking three pairs of sunglasses and two different door handles; though I think the latter says more about the general state of building maintenance in Eastern Europe than it does about our door opening abilities. The biggest fail of all though, was missing one of the ancient wonders of the world! Before we arrived in Selcuk I had read that the site of the Temple of Artemis was nearby, but I then proceeded to forget all about this until we’d left town! Granted it doesn’t sound like there’s actually a lot to see on the site, but it would be nice to be able to say I’d visited, wouldn’t it?

Snowy Mountain, Rila, Bulgaria

Worst Singular Moment

After seeing so many photos of the beautiful Rila Monastery all over Pinterest, I was very excited to see it in person. With it being in the middle of nowhere, we signed up to the day trip organised by our hostel in Sofia. After some reckless driving through the winding mountain roads, our ‘guide’, who barely spoke a word of English, pulled up at the bottom of a snowy mountain and told us we were going to see the cave where Saint Ivan, the founder of the monastery, once lived.

The guide marched full speed up a track that would have been difficult enough to follow in perfect conditions, yet we had a foot of snow to contend with. I fell over almost instantly, luckily while we were still close to the ground level; further up the track there was nothing but a sheer drop to the ground fifty feet below. By the time we got to the top twenty minutes later, I was dripping in sweat and had tears in my eyes, on the verge of a major breakdown. We looked around the empty cave for a couple of minutes, then it was time to come back down again! 

Have you had any similar experiences on your travels?