Saturday, December 5, 2009


I am laughing quite a bit at myself tonight. I have been an absolute clown for the amusement of the guy at the front desk. We'll call him Marco.

My first move was to ask if I could print something off (I wanted to print the confirmation email from the online ticket I bought for the museum I'm going to tomorrow). Not that it was a wrong question or anything, but it was an awkward conversation, and I felt like my English was making him uncomfortable. Next, I was waiting for my laptop to charge and plotting my dinner when I decided to take some pictures of the hotel (I've been trying to do that at each location so I have a record). And . . . managed to lock myself out of the room. So I had to bother Marco again. Here's the picture that caused it, by the way.

A little later, I put on my jacket to leave, handed Marco my key (as is the custom here - you don't take your hotel key with you), and pulled the handle of the front door. It started to open, but as I was walking forward he exclaimed about something, which startled me. At the same time I realized he was telling me that the doors open automatically, I was tripping down the stairs. I didn't fall, but it was a close call! I could hear him laughing as I walked down the street. Here's a picture of the front of the hotel, where you can see the treacherous stairs.

Instead of eating out at a restaurant, I had decided to scavenge for some supplies to take back to the hotel. Bread, cheese, and wine were the main things I had in mind. It took a lot of walking and some luck, but I ended up with a plastic grocery bag filled with Tunisian dates, an orange, a little sandwich, a big cookie, and a bottle of wine. When I got back to the hotel I asked my friend Marco for a bottle opener. There is a little bar next to reception, so I figured it was an easy fix. Marco looked for quite a while and got fairly distressed when he couldn't find one. He kept muttering "It's incredible, incredible." I told him not to worry about it, but he got on the phone and called a nearby restaurant, explained my situation, and sent me a couple of blocks over so that they could open the bottle for me.

And this is how I found myself trotting down the streets of Florence with an open bottle of wine, a plastic bag filled with an odd combination of food, and a newfound appreciation for the ridiculous situations that travel can put you in.


  1. Since 9/11 I have lost 3 pocket knives to TSA agents because I keep forgetting to take them out of my day pack before heading to the airport. I miss the corkscrew attachments the most! Do they sell Swiss Army pocket knives in Italy? They are totally handy to have when traveling.

  2. That is a great idea! Although I'm sure I'd lose it in London. They were quite thorough with the pat-down . . .

  3. Mayby just a pocket corkscrew, without any blades:
    Do you think one like this could get through?