Monday, July 13, 2009

The Scene In Which I Battle Inanimate Objects....Take 3 (In Italy)

In Venice we stayed at Locanda Armizo, which was an eight-room guest house located roughly three seconds from the Rialto Bridge.

Unfortunately, it took us about 45 minutes of walking every which way except that way, and one very interesting phone call with the receptionist who spoke virtually no English, to figure that out.

Rather than "just a short stroll from Rialto!" which is true but, ultimately, extremely unhelpful, the website directions should really be more specific, such as, I don't know, "Walk down the sidewalk next to the Grand Canal even though the other sidewalks all point away from it. When you kind of feel like you're walking towards a dead end, because you are, don't turn down any of the streets with the other hotels on them. Rather keep going until you literally hit the dead end. Then, go under the low, unlit archway that looks like it should be the entrance to some creepy person's house but in fact opens onto a very nice square. But if you actually hit the square you've gone too far; the door is under the archway."

I should also point out that that door is, in fact, the ONLY door to the hotel, a fact that we learned later on Saturday night. Because there were only a few rooms, the trick to the hotel is that you get a key to the front door in addition to your room, and you treat the place like your house.

On the inside of the door, there is a sign asking you to please be sure you secure the door for the benefit of your fellow guest.

Unfortunately, a Chinese couple that spoke neither Italian nor English misinterpreted the sign.

Thus, we battled the door, in The Scene In Which We Get Locked Out Of The Hotel.

Back to the story. Upon returning for the evening, the couple pulled the door shut, made sure the regular lock (openable with the key) was secure, and then slid the 4-inch brass deadbolt (not so much openable with a key), solidly into place.

Which brings us to how we came to be standing outside the hotel with a lovely family from Chile, waiting to see how the hotel management would handle the situation.

After ascertaining that, indeed, the door was firmly locked and that seven adults each attempting independently to open it hadn't just all been idiots, the manager proceeded to the square to ponder the open window of the Chinese couple.

First he tried calling.

Then he tried shouting.

Then he went into the bar, borrowed a broom, and beat on the side of the hotel.

This was all good, but not good enough, so he went back into the bar, borrowed a chair, placed it on the cobblestones outside the bar, balanced himself precariously, and beat the upstairs window with the broomstick. In case you are wondering this does look as funny as it sounds, and here's a photo to prove it.

This yielded a seriously confused guest, who after many vigorous hand gestures, finally understood the concept and came and unlocked the door.

Just to be sure the concept was enforced, the next morning the slide-latch had been taped over, with a large note proclaiming "Do Not Locked" on it.

That battle went to the door, as did the Battle of the Air Conditioning Unit, which the website had enthusiastically promised we'd have. And we did indeed have one- unfortunately, it was just located sort of behind the armoire, whose doors we'd opened without thinking to put away bags and which then sort of shielded the unit from us until the afternoon of our second day, when Traveling Companion was doing sit-ups on the floor and shut the armoire to have more space.

All in all, Locanda Armizo was decently recommendable, if not enthusiastically. The rooms were clean, the staff helpful, and they serve a lovely little breakfast to you in your room (mostly because the entire hotel is rooms, and there's nowhere else to eat). If you don't actually want to spend a lot of time in your hotel room it is a wonderful place to stay, perhaps a bit pricey but the location can't be beat. I'd also recommend that you steer clear of the restaurants right on the water nearby, as a far more affordable meal can be found just a few streets in from the canals.

And don't lock the deadbolt.

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