So here we are now, the last of the craziest of casualties. It’s last but certainly not least; in fact, this story makes these travel casualties series go out with a bang!
London was incredibly wonderful to us, I truly loved it there so much. After London, Vanessa and I were taking a flight to Paris where we would meet up with two of our lovely friends, Tiff and Bree. Once the four of us were reunited, we took on Paris. Ooh la la!
We stayed about 30 minutes away from Paris, and unfortunately, the last train back stopped early in the evening. The sun wouldn’t set until 9pm which means we weren’t able to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, and that is one of THE BEST PARTS ABOUT PARIS! I told the girls that it’s definitely worth watching. We agreed to spend the last night in Paris so we could watch the tower at its French-sparkled-glory!
We agreed to stay the last night at a BnB near the Eiffel Tower. The BnB looked really nice and we were excited because the location was great. Almost too good to be true…
We get lost at some point (because, why wouldn’t we) then ended up getting to the tower sparkle show at 11pm. Soon after, we went to bed because we had to be up bright and early for our flight to Portugal. Lights went out and we went to sleep.
At around 2am, I started to dream that I was at a park in Paris and I began to scratch my arm. In the dream, there was a Parisian woman on her bike, blonde hair held back with her dark sunglasses and a scarf. She turned towards me as I scratched and told me very sternly with a very thick, French accent “scrhatching iz NOT the Fhrench vway”. I looked at her and told her “well, good thing I’m not French”, and proceeded to scratch (although I kinda am a little bit French… very little. Not enough to stop scratching). The scratching woke me up. I went to the bathroom then applied some essential oils because in my mind, the mosquitoes had gotten in. Europe had been hot everywhere we went and heat often comes with mosquitoes. Tiff woke up and reassured me, “I didn’t read anything in the reviews about bugs, so it must be the mosquitoes”. I went back to sleep hoping that the oils would repel the “mosquitoes”.
I was asleep again but quickly began to scratch my lower lip. This time, whatever was biting me was getting more aggressive. It was as though it was upset because I had applied the oils so it was biting me even more! 4am came and I woke up wide-eyed and thought to myself, there’s something crawling on my body. I touched my lower lip and it felt GIGANTIC. Once again I got up more awake this time and went to the bathroom. My… lip… was… *head bangs* HUGE! It blew up! I took a picture and sent it to my mom since she has her own personal experience with swollen lips. I also sent it to my friend who is a nurse and was in Denmark at the time. Meanwhile, I looked at my legs and saw a few more bites. I suddenly noticed something small on my foot and slapped it away! Shortly after, I got yet another itchy bump on that exact place on my foot where that small thing was.
While I waited, I looked up on my phone what it could possibly be and I read that I should take an antihistamine just in case, so I did. My nurse friend got back to me suggesting I was having an allergic reaction to a bug bite. My mom thought the same. By this time, Tiff was waking up and asked me what was going on. This was only the beginning of a long long day.
They say if you are a frequent traveler, you will meet bed bugs at some point. It’s inevitable! Everyone comes across them sooner or later to teach you a lesson if you have not learned it yet: check every new place you stay at and do not leave luggage open, on the floors nor on the beds.
Tiff saw my face and couldn’t help but giggle. I laughed at it too… uhh… nervously because I was also slightly concerned. Vanessa and I were sharing the bed so I needed to find out if it was actually bugs or if it was just me having my own allergic reaction to something else. Now, Vanessa HATES bugs and I was afraid she would panic, but I had to tell her to make sure she wasn’t getting bites too:
Me: Vanessa, I need to ask you something.
Vanessa: (sleep talking), hey Andrea, what’s up, tell me, how are you?
Me: Do you have any bug bites?
Vanessa: (still sleep talking) Me? nah, I’m good, how are you? Talk to me.
Me: You’re sleep talking (I walk away)
Vanessa: (sleep talking) Why do you always say that? Why don’t you believe me?… (Proceeds with incoherent mumbles followed by giggles).
I go back to the bathroom and I hear mumbling between Vanessa and Bree, who is also starting to wake up. It was comical because Vanessa was half-dreaming and she randomly kept giggling. All of a sudden, we hear Vanessa yell out “I’M A NURSE!” she jumps out of bed and runs to the bathroom up to me and very intently looks at my face and my lip. She was probably only a few inches away from my face. She was still half asleep. I tell her what was going on so we walk over to the bed and start searching for the culprits. I picked up my pillow and BINGO, this giant bed bug crawls out!
“We need to get out of here!” We all started changing and packing our stuff (yes, our luggage was all on the floor and wide open). We shake everything off as much as we can. Bed bugs started appearing everywhere! They were crawling on our shoe laces, on the floor, and even on one of the jackets! This was war! Ugh, I’m itchy just thinking about them.
We go to the balcony and shake off our shoes and kill every bug that crossed our path. It was a nightmare! This place looked clean, but it wasn’t. Not like that.
We were finally at the airport, we were paranoid, sleep deprived and hungry. I think I cried at one point; I think we all did. I can’t remember much from being at the airport, except that the airport workers were confused when they saw my face. The whole thing was stressful and the BnB owner was giving us a hard time. He said he didn’t know. Psh! Yeah right! Worst of all he said he’d only give us our refund if we didn’t mention the bugs on the review. What a jerk!
Once we got to Porto, Portugal, we went to a laundromat and stuffed EVERYTHING including our entire luggage backpacks into the dryer and set them on high heat for over an hour. We also made a thorough check at the BnB in Porto: took off the sheets, looked for cracks, behind sofas, beneath mattresses to make sure they didn’t have bugs either. The place was clear.
We took steamy showers (or at least I did), because bed bugs hate steam. We were wiped out from the whole incident. When we finally got to bed and triple, no quadruple checked that there were absolutely no more bed bugs anywhere, we got AMAZING sleep and by the next day my lip swelling had gone down.
In the end, we found the whole thing quite comical. At one point during the whole ordeal, I thought “well, I don’t know when I’ll ever look like this again so why not take selfies!” And believe me, I am NOT a selfie type unless I’m with my pets or friends.
Now, I hardly ever post any pictures of me but well, here’s a selfie of me with my swollen lip:
So was it worth staying in that BnB the last night just so we could see the tower sparkle? I still don’t know. I find this incident hilarious now, but it wasn’t at the time. Funny how both times I’ve been to Paris, something always happens! I’d still visit again. Paris is just that amazing!