Follow the Dog
This is the first story that I heard in Amsterdam! My boyfriend and I were on board our Airbnb canal boat experience and cruising along the Amsterdam canals with seven strangers. If you read my Amsterdam Experience post, you know that this was the time where I had my sign and planned to ask for stories. It felt so good to finally ask the others on the boat if they had a story to tell and be rid of the anxiety!
The first story was told by two sisters from Seattle, Washington: Madeline and Sydney. We hit it off instantly because we were all from the west coast (best coast) of the United States. Now, I can’t remember which sister it was, but one of them was studying abroad in Prague. They were in Amsterdam for a quick trip with one of their friends that the other sister had met during her study abroad experience in the past. I was super nervous and anxious to ask the strangers on that boat for a story, so I decided to attempt a smooth transition into it. And let me just tell you, I nailed that smooth transition! Luke agrees.
I was basically eavesdropping on their conversation and heard them talking about studying abroad. “Oh my gosh, you are studying abroad? Do you have any cool travel stories to tell?” I asked them with a big (probably terrifying) smile. Then I held up my sign and explained the blog. Boom! That caught the attention of the passengers on board. The two sisters discussed a worthy story to tell and remembered one from when they were younger.
Their grandpa was originally from the Greek island of Kythera. Back in 2008, the two sisters and their parents traveled to Greece to visit the island and their grandpa’s relatives that lived there. After their island experience, the family hopped on board an overnight train to Athens to end their journey. Since this was over ten years ago, they did not have the same technology we have today. There were no smart phones for them to use to navigate around Athens and no Ubers to call if they got lost. And this family was, unfortunately, very lost!
The sisters could not remember the name of the hotel that they were staying at, so we decided to just call it Hotel Anthony. The family arrived into Athens at about four AM with absolutely no idea how to walk to Hotel Anthony. The sisters remembered their parents being paranoid and advising them to hold tightly to their bags. They had a nice laugh at their younger selves being terrified of pick-pocketers and completely lost in a foreign city. We’ve all been there, right?
So, the family started walking. What else were they to do? They knew the general direction and assumed they could work it out from there. As they were walking, they admired the cute stray dogs and cats that reside on the streets in Greece. There was one dog in particular that had been walking with them for a bit and seemed to be checking up on them. This dog would walk ahead of them and seemed to be making sure they were following him. I asked what type of dog it was. In my mind, I pictured the cutest little Corgie puppy walking on the streets of Athens. But, that was not the case. It was a “mutt lab dog” as they said and described him as big and white and adorable. Sounds cute enough for me!
Since the family had no other plan to find this hotel, they decided to just go on an adventure and follow the dog! They trailed after the pup through the tiny streets of Athens and even ended up walking through some backyards. The dog continued to walk ahead of them and turn back to check they were still following. The delusional family would just repeat “Hotel Anthony, Hotel Anthony” and pray that the dog was leading them there. I mean, picture a family of four Americans walking around the streets of Athens at four in the morning following a dog. The entire boat was cracking up!
So, about twenty minutes after they started following the dog, they turned a corner and saw him sit down. They looked up and guess what they saw? That’s right, Hotel Anthony! This genius dog had understood them the entire time and led them straight to the hotel. The sisters told us this dog sat right in front of the hotel and nodded his head towards it. It was almost like he was saying, “Here you go. You’re welcome.”
To conclude, I was in such amazement while listening to this story. How lucky were they! The family could have very much ended up stranded for the rest of the night. I thanked the sisters for sharing this amazing tale with all of us! Currently, I am planning a trip down to Greece and cannot wait to make it to Athens and start talking to the stray dogs. I’m only crazy if they start to talk back!