Once upon a time a bunch of us from our college kayak club left Ireland for the French Alps for two weeks of whitewater kayaking.
Anyone who has tried to book a surfboard on a plane has had it easy – airlines are not so kayak-friendly. Luckily, we managed to borrow a van from a generous local businessman with a penchant for paddling and load it up with our kayaks.
Two of the lads drove across on the ferry, and the rest of us flew to join them, renting a few cars to get the people around, while the van carried the boats.
One day after our arrival to very high water levels, kayaking was officially banned in the area, so we moved on to a campsite bas in Slovenia, and from there to Italy, where we planned to enjoy some new rivers.
Our trip was essentially a kayaking holiday, minus most of the kayaking
On our way, one of our trusty van drivers (he knows who he is...) forgot that we weren't in Ireland, and should be driving on the "opposite" side of the road. And so, after making a dodgy turn, our borrowed van crashed into a local Italian driver.
The "carabinieri" arrived on scene sharpish, sporting some fine Italian moustachios and even better motorcycle boots, and tickets of various sorts were issued.
But here was the real clincher: the local newspaper published a photo of me, our unlucky driver, and the van with a caption that translated as: "Irish Canoeists Crash into Local Pensioner".
Our trip was essentially a kayaking holiday, minus most of the kayaking, with a crashed borrowed van, and some bad press to boot.
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