Saturday, September 27, 2008

Part Six: The Hotel Bathroom Incident

Santo Frediano in Cestello

I didn't eat breakfast on Saturday. You'd ideally want your first night in (a highly discounted) hotel suite to be a pleasant affair allowing you to enjoy the creature comforts to hand. I spent it with a really bad stomach and a cold sweat. Ho hum. Though neither of us felt we could face breakfast we decided to see if a wander and a little shopping mightn't cheer us up. I had managed to buy a cardigan on the Friday, an item for which I've been looking for "just the right one" for ages now. I had also decided I wanted a new pair of shoes some while back and had thought that Florence, noted as it is for its leather working, would be the perfect place to get some. I'd seen a pair of lovely correspondent brown shoes in a shop near our first hotel on our first morning in the city. I'd been back a few times to refresh my memory as I tried to decide whether they were right for me. By Saturday I had decided that they were. I was very conscientious. I checked Google language tools for how to say my shoe size in Italian and the word for shoes. With this information I strolled into the shop. I was greeted by a very surly individual who snorted when I asked if he had a pair of the shoes I liked in my size. Not only did he not, he didn't in the two sizes smaller than that. They did make them any larger than two sizes smaller than my feet. I was shocked. I had prepared myself for the possibility that they may not have my size in stock but the possibility that they wouldn't even make them that size had not entered my head. T had to take me, now inconsolable and finally hungry out for a lunch to cheer me up. No fricken' shoes for Mr A.

The afternoon provided an opportunity to sample some really poor engineering. The doors in our hotel rooms had what at first glance looked like a regular door knob. They did not turn like a normal door though, oh no, they had a button on top which you pressed to release the mechanism. Things like this baffle me. What's wrong with a normal door knob? It's a technology that's proved itself time and time again. At Schossadlerflug we have the dumbest bath plug ever. It's a spring-loaded thing that has never worked since we move in and can only be opened by jamming a Virgin Airlines teaspoon under the seal to jemmy it open. Our hotel had the door equivalent. I was happily reading my book when I heard a plaintive little cry from the bathroom. "The door's stuck", said T from within. I had a go at opening it from the outside and stuck it was. There was also no screw to remove to take the handle off and open it that way. I went down to reception and in pidgin Italian accompanied by a lot of hand waving explained to the guys on the desk what the situation was. Someone would come a deal with it they said. I went back up to the room and I waited on one side of the door whilst T waited, increasingly testily on the other.

After 15 minutes I pushed a copy of Private Eye under the gap in the bottom of the door so she could have something to read as I stormed back down to reception to see what was going on. "Is coming." I was told. Another 10 minutes pass during which T and I work out what food I'd be able to pass under the door when she got peckish. Pizza seemed the best bet. We were on the verge of trying to break the door down when the engineer arrived. He prodded the door and fiddled with his screwdrivers for a while before looking up, surprised, and said "No open". Smart fellow. He then went off to get a more senior engineer and they both set to work. Eventually they levered the knob off and found that the door frame was splintering and some had got into the door mechanism and jammed it. With this removed a very disgruntled T emerged. The engineers assured us that the door would now work perfectly but we treated it with suspicion for the rest of our stay and refused to shut it for fear of a repeat performance.

T on The Balcony at the Hotel

Film in the Piazza Santo Spirito

After an afternoon sitting on the balcony reading our books we set out for our final dinner in Florence. My buddy Miss W who had recently visited had given us a recommendation and after much debate with the concierge we had got it booked (we suspect the concierge was in the pay of rival restaurants as he seemed very reluctant). We arrived at 8 and were greeted with glasses of prosecco to sip whilst we perused the menu. My friend had insisted that I should have the gnocchi with truffle oil sauce and who was I to refuse? For the main course I couldn't resist another of those amazing, and vast, Florentine steaks. By about 10 o'clock we had finished the main course and were completely stuffed. Though they looked great there was no way we could face a pudding and so we paid a fond farewell to the south side of the Arno and went back to finish our packing as we had an early start for our journey home.

Sitting and Drinking Outside Santo Spirito at Night



Blogger David said...

Surely every trip needs to throw you up against at least one example of poor engineering.

3:20 pm  
Blogger Churlita said...

T. has great glasses.

I'm glad the door jam was worked out and you were able to eat a gigantic steak later on.

7:20 pm  

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