Monday, June 20, 2011

"The Out-Of-Towners"

There was a movie made by Neil Simon in 1970 called "The Out-Of-Towners" with Jack Lemmon (one of my all time favorite actors) about a couple that goes to New York for a nice weekend away and the husband to interview for a job. In the movie the weekend turns into a disaster and everything seems to go wrong.

I tell you this because after watching this clip it is somewhat of an idea of how my weekend turned out.

After a wonderful week in Sardegna I was ready to enjoy the weekend with my friend Michelle, who lives and studies in Florence. We went to University together in Tennessee but she is from Florida and has already graduated. Anyway, we decided to meet up for the weekend in Padova and then spend the Saturday in Venice. While I was in Sardegna I had a terrible time trying to find an affordable B&B or hotel for our weekend stay in Padova because everything that I was interested in was fully booked. I finally came across a B&B "A Casa di Chiara" - I searched this B&B on tripadvisor and read the reviews, it seemed nice and the reviews were positive so I booked the B&B for 2 nights.

We arrived back from Sardegna around 6pm and I ran back to my 'home' in Abano Terme, packed another bag, and then I went straight to the B&B around 8pm to check in and settle in before my friend Michelle arrived. I met with Chiara (the owner of the B&B) and she seemed very nice and welcoming. The room wasn't a 5 star hotel but it was clean and seemed cozy. I began to get ready because we were meeting up with my friends Chiara and Alberto for drinks later on in the evening. We went out and enjoyed our night out. After our night at the bar we got a taxi back to the B&B.

*Sidenote: Before we left, the host of the B&B gave me the keys to the building/our room and told me which key to use for the front door.

When we arrived (at the wee hours of the morning) we tried to open the door with the keys we were given. The keys didn't work. I tried over and over and spent nearly 15 minutes at the door using different techniques to open it. We didn't know what else to do but to ring the buzzer/doorbell.

Chiara (the owner) came running down the stairs yelling and screaming at us. Yes, it was early in the morning and we had woken her up but she was the owner of a B&B and these things happen. It shouldn't be something to get angry or upset about. Michelle and I were apologizing to her over and over but she continued to yell at us about waking her up and made us feel very very uncomfortable. She gave me my money (or I thought it was all of my money but only half) and told us that we should find a different place to stay the next night. It was currently 5am at this point after spending nearly half an hour of trying to open the door and then being insulted by a very rude woman. Michelle and I did not want to be in this terrible situation any longer so we packed our bags after searching online for another hotel and made our way out. We were extremely exhausted and just wanted to go to sleep.

After nearly an hour of attempting to find a taxi and correct address for our hotel we arrive. The man working at the desk was elderly and seemed to not know how to process a credit card so we didn't get into our room until  7am.

We woke up midday in complete shock of what had happened the night before. I have never been in such a situation. Not only was this woman psycho but the owner of a facility should be prepared for situations like this and be understanding of any complications that may happen, not to be angry or go into an outrage because there is a mistake with a key. It was so incredible for someone to be so unprofessional.

Our day was nearly ruined because we were tired and the day was half gone. We decided to put everything behind us and to go to Venice for the night for free museums and for Michelle to see the city for the first time. Little did we know we were in for another night of chaos.

Venice was beautiful and our trip started out well, we had a nice walk in the piazzas and saw the canals and then went to a restaurant for dinner and spritz. After that we went into a few museums. We had bought our train tickets to return to Padova at 10.30pm to make it back in time to go out one last night in Padova. For those of you who haven't been to Venice.. it's basically a human maze. The streets are impossible to find and even if you have a map and you take one wrong turn you can easily be lost and never find your street on the map. Well, at 9pm we started to make our way back to the train station but we decided to stop at a shop on the way back and took a wrong street and was lost, it seemed every street we turned on was in a circle and that we were backtracking. Finally, we ask a group of locals where they were going and asked them if we could walk with them because they were going in the same direction. It was then 10pm and we were still far from the train station.. we finally got a boat taxi but it wasn't a single taxi, more like a water bus crossed with an immigration ship or the sinking of Titanic. The boat was so crowded that I thought small children were going to be crushed. I couldn't believe how unorganized and chaotic this boat was. When we arrived at the train station it was 11pm and we had missed our train. Luckily there was a train going to Padova at 11.30pm but it wasn't just a train to Padova the final destination was Napoli. It was a night train to Napoli that passed through Padova and it was the worst, dirtiest, oldest train I've ever seen while in Italy. Not only was this train terrible but it was overbooked and the last train leaving for the night which meant it was like a can of Sardines packed with people from Naples and tourists trying to get to Bologna or Rome. The train would normally take 19-30 minutes but this train took 1 HOUR. It made a stop to connect another train that took 20 minutes. We didn't arrive back to Padova until 12.45am. Aside from all the problems we decided to go out again in Padova and ended up having a really nice evening catching up and meeting new people. We still saw some really beautiful things and can look back on this experience and laugh. Things happen and we move on.

The next day I said goodbye to Michelle and returned to my sweet sweet home in Abano. It felt so good to be back home and around my host family.

After a Sunday morning and afternoon of relaxing and recharging I met up with my friend Alberto to go to our friend Chiara's house for dinner, drinks, and card games. It was a perfect end to my weekend and I look forward to spending many more evenings over good food and drinks with them.

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