“Je ne comprends pas ce que vous dites. Malheureusement, je ne peux pas vous aider … “, – the elderly French pharmacist threw up his hands.

I tapped myself on the neck again: “Pillow! I need a neck pillow. “

“Je ne comprends pas”, – the Frenchman waved his hand and left.

Story # 1. “But komprendo”

On the 2nd day, the bus ride from Moscow to Paris became torture. Neck, lower back and legs ached. But if the legs could be moved, changed, albeit slightly, the position of the body, then the neck always remained straight. The muscles ached so much that it was impossible to fall asleep or even take a nap. I got up and looked back at the salon. We, inexperienced travelers on the bus, were no more than 6 people out of 30. And only we did not sleep. Everyone else had pillows. You know, such rubber ones, you inflate them and put them on your neck like half a donut.

I always jumped out first at stops. Just to get off the damn bus.

– Where did you buy such a pillow?
– At the pharmacy. During the last trip.

In Paris, everyone went to see the Eiffel Tower. I started my acquaintance with France from a pharmacy.

– Pommade analgésique ici, – the French pharmacist returned with a jar of some kind of ointment.
– No, I need a pillow
I fold my palms under my cheek, bow my head, and close my eyes. Then I hit myself in the neck again and turn the imaginary steering wheel. Blow some more, or what?

– Et, comme vous avez besoin d’un coussin pour la voiture. 5 euros

A-a-a! Pillow. Pillow! I was ready to kiss the pharmacy bag. Now I know that happiness can be bought. It is sold in a French pharmacy for 5 euros.

TIP! Be sure to take an inflatable neck pillow on the bus. Without it, you will curse everything in the world.

Story number 2. “The killer tram or the dream of Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov”

I recommend Bulgakov specialists to spend the night near the window overlooking the tram tracks. It seems to me that the killer tram appeared in The Master and Margarita precisely after such an incident with Bulgakov. And this is how it was with me. I decided to go to Vienna, booked a hotel near the Ring for 4 nights. Voila!

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And here I am in Vienna. Atlas is a hotel for the discerning traveler. Basic needs – toilet, water, bed, internet – the hotel will provide. But you shouldn’t expect comfort. The first night was difficult: we were accommodated in a room on the 4th floor with windows facing the street.

It was impossible to sleep, the movement of road transport is round the clock. But the worst thing is the trams. The deeper the night, the louder the roar … All night I did not sleep a wink, and in the morning I ran to the reception and put my iPhone under my nose, on which I wrote with the help of Google translator:

Can not sleep because of the noise of the road. Can we change the number?
Kann nicht schlafen wegen des Lärms von der Straße. Können wir die Zahl?

And we were immediately found a room with windows to the courtyard. The vacation was saved! All 4 nights slept in peace and quiet … Yes, ugly, but quiet!

My experience with Atlas has taught me how important it is to learn BEFORE everything about the hotel. Because no travel agency will write about such things.

TIP! Please check the hotel information as closely as possible. Beautiful pictures of the hotel and the words “near the center” or “metro near” work magically. But this is just an advertisement. But the truth may be repairs in a nearby building or a compost heap under the window. So it was in Germany when I chose an eco-hotel with a style of a village house. We went too far with naturalness. Ja, ja, natürlich.


Story number 3. “Math Tax Free”

I don’t like walking around with bags in my hands, but here there are two at once. I took a couple of T-shirts, a very nice jacket, a summer jacket. Trousers – you can’t buy them in Moscow. It’s not about the brand, but about the tailoring, just for my “don’t understand what” figure.

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At the checkout I asked for a Tax Free Global Blue. The minimum amount for Tax Free depends on the country. In my case, it is 100 euros. I handed over a few checks and a passport to the seller, and kept two for myself, since I bought the T-shirts and sweater in another store. There was 90 euros. And then the seller says:

– I see you have more checks, give them too
– They are from another store, it’s on the second floor in your center
– I understand. But I see on the packages the inscription of our other store. We can fold checks because we are one firm.

What a news! Now imagine the situation. You bought in one store for 90 euros, then in another store for 90 euros. For Tax Free, 10 euros is not enough in both cases. And if you fold the checks, you get 180 euros, and the refund at the border will be almost 20 euros. But for this you need to know the life hack about “one owner”.

TIP! Feel free to show your receipts and politely clarify if there is one legal entity at stores with different names and on different floors of the mall. If it turns out that yes, then you can use the Global Blue rule – “receipts can be attached to one Tax Free form if they were issued the same day in the same store“.

And further. Global Blue Tax Free Forms stamped by Customs do not expire. They can be cashed out even after 10 years.


Story number 4. “What drivers are embarrassed to talk about”

I didn’t have cruise control. But the leg was. And she had been aching for half an hour. My right leg is tired of pressing the gas. And there are more than 900 kilometers ahead.

Taxi to the gas station. From the side I look like an idiot – I hit my right leg with my fist, rub my ankle, jump along the car. Three jumps forward, three back. And then a woman of about 50 comes up to me:

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– Your leg probably hurts?
– Well, yes, numb.
– And you use compression socks. Try it, then you will remember me and thank me.

And she left. After about six months, I actually bought travel socks. This was the very case after which it is customary to say the phrase “my life has changed.”

TIP! Use compression socks during long trips by car, bus, airplane flight. Socks improve blood circulation and prevent stagnation in the calves. Legs will not hurt. Checked on myself.


Story number 5. “Viber Out and the search for Sherlock Holmes’s apartment”

The old town of Riga is very small. Five minutes to the left, five minutes to the right, and that’s it, the city is over. That is, you can get around the whole Old Town (Old Town) in 10 minutes.

Which I did. But I never found the house in which they filmed “Sherlock Holmes” with Livanov and Solomin.

I called a friend in Moscow on Viber Out. When traveling abroad, I use Viber as the most convenient and inexpensive way of communication:

– Hello. I am in Riga, in the Old Town. Where was Sherlock Holmes filmed here?
– What street are you on now?
– Jauniela, house 22
– So you’re standing right in front of the house where Sherlock Holmes “lived”. Cudgel!

Jauniela Street, by the way, 240 steps from end to end. And where is Holmes’ house?

– I see nothing, no sign. Nothing like England.
– And you will not see. The film was shot in 1979, for more than 38 years everything has already changed there. A cafe was built there, which completely blocked the entrance to the apartment on “street 221B”. There is nothing left of Holmes.

So after all, I’m not a club. Okay, if I can’t take a selfie with Sherlock Holmes, I’ll send a friend at least a sticker via Viber. Viber has a large collection of sticker packs on various topics, including movies.

TIP! For communication in roaming, use the Viber messenger. A call from Latvia cost me 7 rubles. And if I called at the rate of my operator, then 200 rubles.