By Amy Andacich
Some say luck, others say too close for comfort.
A Mindarie couple have vowed not to travel for some time after coming dangerously close to three major terrorist attacks during their travels in Europe.
Emily and Brad Hill, both 24, decided to cut short their working holiday after three near misses in France and Germany.
“Emily and I travelled in total for six months, covering most of central and western Europe, then we lived in the UK for five months,” Brad said.
“But we made a choice to come home last month after too many close calls and living in places in the UK that were on high alert.’’
The closest call was a shooting rampage at a busy shopping district in Munich, Germany, in July last year.
Only 10 minutes before the attack, the couple decided to leave earlier than planned.
“We had spent the day touring the city, stopping in for a coffee right next to the place where the shooting occurred, leaving 10 minutes before it happened,” Emily said.
The couple said that had they not returned to their hotel to get changed for dinner, they would have been in the Marienplatz when the shooting took place.
“The scariest moment that we remember vividly was people literally running and screaming for their lives down the street past our hotel window,” Brad said.
The couple were in lockdown as German police closed down all public transport and exits to the city.
“Never have we seen so many police with ammunition and ambulances all in one place,” Emily said.
“We had no idea what was going on, but that really hit home that this was serious and there was a risk of a very dangerous man on the loose, potentially in our area.’’
A month later a bomb exploded at Nice Cote D’Azur airport just one day after the couple had flown out of the same terminal. France was already on high alert after a series of terror-related tragedies.
Emily and Brad also claim they were walking along the Promenade des Anglais just one day before a truck was deliberately driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day, resulting in the deaths of 86 people.
“We heard from friends about how ‘big of a celebration’ this day was and we were gutted at the time that we had arranged our next stop to Greece only one day before Bastille Day, leaving us unable to attend the celebration,” Emily said.
They couple are relieved to be home as countries around the world despair at the multiple murders of innocent people in Manchester, where at least 22 young concert-goers died in the latest atrocity, a blast at the end of an Ariana Grande pop concert at Manchester Arena.
STA Travel district manager Stuart Chalmers said that sadly young travellers needed to be more careful than ever and he urged them to follow Foreign Affairs guidelines when considering flying overseas.
“If you see something which doesn’t look right, it generally isn’t, so the best thing to do is to stay out of situations like that. You need to be more careful,” Mr Chalmers said. “I have found that people’s concerns around destinations tend to happen around events, so my advice is to avoid those big events as fun as they may seem.
“The scary thing is that people look at the fun and excitement of travel and sometimes are oblivious to the reality of some places.’’
He said tour companies such as Contiki Tours or G Adventures would operate only if it was considered safe.