As you might expect, things did not always go swimmingly when checking in and out of our hotels in Italy. The hotel in Rome just couldn't seem to manage to get the correct luggage to the correct room. In Cascia, I went without a hot shower for 4 days. The first night, after waiting what seemed like an eternity for the water to get warm, I just had to take the plunge. There is almost nothing I hate more than a cold shower, but I kept saying to myself through my chattering teeth: "It's OK, you're in Italy, be grateful and just offer it up."
There was a long cord in the shower and a light in the ceiling of the shower, so I made the mistake of assuming the long cord turned on the light. Shortly after I finished and was brushing my hair, I heard a knock at the door.
"Problem, problem" I could hear someone saying. I opened the door to a young man employed by the hotel who just kept repeating: "problem, problem" and I wondered if perhaps I had caused the unit below me to have a leaky ceiling. He looked around in the bathroom and said I didn't know of any problem. He pointed to the shower, said he was sorry and left.
The next morning at breakfast, I told one of the friars what happened.
"By any chance, did you pull the cord in the shower?"
"Yes, to turn the light on."
He laughed. "Did you notice the light didn't go on?"
"Um, yeah, as a matter of fact, it didn't"
He laughed again. "You pulled the cord for help. Most hotels in Italy have that feature in the bathroom. We even have it in our friary in Rome."
In four nights in that hotel, I never did figure out how to turn on the light OR get hot water.
Meanwhile, at our hotel in San Giovanni Rotondo, we had beautifully appointed rooms that were accessed with credit card type keys. I walked in, turned on the lights, and shut the door. Almost immediately, I was in darkness. Hit the light switch again, and shortly thereafter darkness. Huh?
Fortunately, one of our more seasoned travelers came down the hall and showed me how there was a slot in the wall by the light switch. Without the key in the slot, the lights would go out. It would have been nice to get those instructions before hand because as technically inept as I am, I'd probably still be there trying to figure it out had the gentleman not come along to my aid.
We were informed that we were to leave our luggage outside our rooms the next morning but leave anything we wished to take on the bus inside our rooms to be retrieved personally by us before our 10:30AM departure for Monte San Angelo. Only trouble is, the person who was to do the fetching of our luggage didn't quite understand his directions, and he took luggage as well as handbags, etc and loaded them in the cargo hold of the bus. Then we discovered that he brought some of the luggage to the wrong bus. Quite a fiasco to be sorted out, eh? As for me, I didn't trust anyone with my luggage, not because I worried about stealing but precisely because of situations like this. So while people laughed at me earlier for hauling my bags myself to the bus, it was I who had the last laugh as they tried to track down their belongings. Fortunately, it all got sorted out.
Our last night in Rome, I looked forward to taking a hot shower. Only one problem. When I checked out the bathroom, it had a shower all right. It just didn't have a curtain or a door around it. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how I could get a shower without soaking the entire bathroom and possibly causing the ceiling below to leak. I figured out by the raised toilet and extra wide opening that the room was designed for someone in a wheelchair. Luckily, the shower was equipped with a hand-held unit, so I managed without causing any damage.
After I finished packing my things for our early-morning departure to the airport, I went to turn down one of the three beds in the room, the one closest to the phone that would deliver the 5 AM wake-up call. As I pulled the spread down to the end of the bed, it caused the pillow to flip over, exposing the pair of man's pajamas that were tucked under it. First, I have to endure a shower with no curtain and now, it appeared I would be sleeping in someone else's bed. Fortunately, there were two other beds in the room so I opted for the one that looked like a cot. It was up against the wall and I figured it would be harder for me to fall out of bed with a guard on one side. Not a very comforting thought to realize that sheets didn't necessarily got changed between guests.
At least these episodes gave me something funny to write about, eh?