Ferry crash in Spain strands 1,000

Imagine spending 20 hours crammed onto a ferry with almost 1,000 strangers. This is exactly what happened this weekend when strong winds forced a ship going from Orán, Algeria to Alicante, Spain to crash into the dock. Those on board were able to get off, and the next wave climbed aboard … where they would wait for almost a full day.

On Saturday night – after boarding Friday night – some of the passengers were permitted to step off the boat for a while, before trying again. Only around 40 people did so. Traffic in the other direction was a nightmare, though. Close to 120 cars showed up for the Saturday night ferry, only to find it canceled.

Given that this was a ferry, there were no reports of time being passed via shuffle board and low-rent lounge acts. There did not appear to be a buffet, and if there was a Captain’s table, it probably had folding legs.

It looks like the Alicante-Orán service could be working again on Monday.

Paris: Romance Perfection or Romance Disaster? You Decide.

Now, that this day has been filled with love, here’s the other side of the coin. Paris is touted as the city for romance. Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes there. Gene Kelly danced through puddles to “Singing in the Rain” in An American in Paris. Frank Sinatra crooned “I Love Paris,” (click for lyrics) Cole Porter’s song. We’ve all seen pictures of the Eiffel Tower backlit with kissing couples doing some perfectly framed eye-gazing.

Sure, Paris might be the place for romance, but my first time there during my junior year in college was romantically disasterous. The first misstep was not convincing that dashing Canadian fellow I met at that youth hostel in Norway to ditch his friend in Germany for a couple of days and come to Paris with me. “There will always be Berlin,” I had said.

Being young and determined, instead of altering MY course and going with him like he thought I should do, I headed to Paris alone on my “I’m independent” streak. No, nothing terrible happened, but I did fend off a custodian’s advances at a Metro stop which involved drawing a toilet on a scrap of paper after I unwittingly wandered into his custodial closet while looking for the restroom. With that coloring my impressions, I wasn’t too thrilled to brave out my adventure. I did get in a boat tour on the Seine River, toured the Louvre and the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, went to a symphony concert and walked along the Champs Elysee before heading out of town feeling disappointed. I sighed all the while, thinking about my missed Canadian opportunity. Oh, the follies of youth.

Thankfully, I’ve been back to Paris three times since then and each time was better than the last. So, go ahead, give Paris and romance a shot. Just avoid the custodial closets.

If you are going to be in Paris on Valentine’s Day here is a romantic dinner cruise you can take on the Seine. If you can’t make it by the 14th, this cruise is a daily event made for two, but book ahead.

Do you have any of your own sad-sack love/travel stories? Here is a place for venting.