“Assumptions are the mothers of all screw ups!” ~ Wethern’s Law of Suspended Judgement
If only I had remembered this useful quote during my trip planning, it would have saved me a lot of tears and rattled emotions.
In the summer of 2015, I took a trip to Venice, Italy. I had booked all my accommodations on a third party site, but I didn’t bother to confirm with the hostels directly if they had received my bookings. I had assumed that the confirmation numbers were sufficient. Wrong assumption.
At the Bridge of Sighs
Problems started on my first night in Venice. I showed up at the hostel and was told that they had no room for me. Blasphemy! I showed the confirmation numbers to the receptionist.
“No ma’am.” His greasy smile flashed. “We don’t have a room for you and besides we closed an hour ago.”
“That’s not what it says on your site!” I harked back, raging.
He called somebody on his cell and, after having spoken for fifteen minutes or so, hung up in a resigned tone. I figured it out. On the pretense of saying they didn’t get my confirmation number, what they had actually done, was give my room away since I was apparently “late” for my booking.
“We will try to find another room for you in our sister hotel.” He told me.
“How long will that take?”
“Two hours. Maybe. Come back then.”
At this moment, two things flashed across my mind: 1) What the **ck! 2) Where am I going to sleep tonight?
Though the receptionist said to return in two hours, I decided not to take any more chances with this hostel.
I walked out into the Venetian night where the scent of the Grand Canal wafted towards me. The air was sticky and to make it worse, I was sweating from dragging my suitcase all over the rugged roads. The alleyways were dark with barely a soul on the streets. I sighed. I was in a beautiful, mystical, romantic city and instead of promenading through it, I was slumped against a marble column, contemplating where to sleep.
View from the Accademia Bridge
Three solutions came to mind: 1) I could make my way back to the train station and sleep there. 2) I could try to look for a police station and beg to sleep in one of their holding cells. 3) I could always sleep in the streets.
I noticed some pricey hotels nearby. Though not wanting to shell out the money, I was desperate. I knocked on the closest one and asked (while crossing my fingers and toes) if they had any rooms available. None. The manager was there and I told him my plight, but there was nothing he could do. I felt like crying.
Gondolas and Lamps
I plucked what was left of my dignity and knocked on another hotel. The receptionist told me he had one room left. Apparently someone cancelled at the last minute. While I stood there in silence, the receptionist stared back. Finally, I blurted out my whole ordeal to him and he told me to thank my guardian angels. At midnight I was comfortably settled into a hotel steps away from the Grand Canal, just paces from the Rialto Bridge. And surprisingly, it actually costs less than that other hostel I had booked online.
St. Mark’s Square far side
Wethern’s Law came to mind while I was strolling down the alleyways of that watery city the next day. Interesting how life sends you warnings after you experience the dangers.
What was the lesson that I took away from all this?
Do not make assumptions, do not take things for granted, and try not to worry because, well, things always work out in the end.
Venice by Air