17th June 2012
After saying all my goodbyes it was time to move on to my new home for the next few days – ON MY OWN!
I haven’t had to carry my luggage or organize anything since I arrived at the hotel in Milan almost 3 weeks ago, just listen and be at the right place at the right time. A few of us even failed at that a time or two, but we all got there eventually.
As we were near the termini a taxi was no trouble and my new hotel’s on via Nazionale so that’s easy to say. If someone told me I’d have trouble with the next bit I’d have thought they were nuts, but I arrived at the correct address, there was a sign on the outside of the building and on the doormat to tell me I was in the right place but do you think I could find anything else remotely resembling a hotel reception area – no, nothing, nada, nowhere to be found! All I found were closed doors, a set of stairs and the tiniest elevator I have ever seen in my life, no other signs or directions to the whereabouts of the hotel.
Okay, I had my reservation paperwork with the phone number so I rang and explained my problem, no worries he said, just go in the elevator to the 5th floor. So, I got myself, my 20kg (I think it was really more like 25kg by this time) suitcase and my carry-on bag into the elevator – barely, and went to the 5th floor. Here I was in groundhog day, the same place but 5 floors up – nothing but a set of stairs and closed doors on the landings, no hotel reception, no signs.
Darn, down I went to the ground floor and phoned again, yes, yes, you have to go to the 5th floor!
I did go to the 5th floor I told him!
Yes, yes the 5th floor he said, so I repeated the process just in case I had been on the wrong floor, nope, still the same so down I went again and rang – AGAIN.
You know what it’s like when you’ve already asked someone the same question 4 times and still can’t work out what they’re saying? I just smile and nod and hope for the best but obviously that wasn’t working in this case, time for me to buck up and think for myself.
I loaded myself and all my gear back into the elevator and stopped at every floor, had a peek out and kept going until I got to the 4th floor where I hit pay-dirt.
Woot woot, I found it – reception!! I guess 4th and 5th sound pretty much the same in a lovely Italian accent, don’t they? Oh well, I apologized profusely for being so painful, but he was lovely and didn’t mind a bit me phoning 3 times in 10 minutes for directions when I was already in the building. He probably shook his head a number of times though when I left!
What a start to my solo travel career, I was almost ready to phone home in tears, thankfully the time difference saved me from that mistake.
So I did the next best thing, found my room, had a nice refreshing shower and a sleep. Yeah, it was only midday but my theory about not missing anything on the tour made for one very tired “mid-life” traveller by this time.
Rome can wait a few more hours for me.