by UK Flower Girl
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
May 9, 2005
The ancient village of Les Combes had been lying in ruins since the 1800s. This hotel was completely restructured and restored into this gem of a hotel. The lady of the house speaks only French and Italian, which made things a bit awkward. We knew some French at the time, but zilch for Italian.
The hotel was done in stone and wood. My husband was intrigued by the detail of the work on the building. Since we visited in February, we didn’t get a chance to take in the sun terraces that are offered for guests. Our room did have a balcony that afforded us the most awesome panoramic views. Our room had beautiful sleigh beds, one double and one single.
We also booked ourselves dinner for that night. We all decided that we had to try something new. That wasn’t hard considering that we couldn’t read the menu and were having a hard time communicating with the owner. We just couldn’t look up things fast enough in the dictionary. We ended up asking for recommendations. My new item was a raw artichoke salad. I rather liked it, although I was tired of chewing by the time I finished. Tom and Michelle both had carpaccio, thin slices of raw beef. We enjoyed our meals and wine that evening, even if it was a little awkward with the communication difficulties.
At this time, we hadn’t travelled in Italy much at all. We didn’t know that all Italian showers come equipped with an emergency cord. Should you fall in the shower, you pull the cord and it sounds an alarm in the office. (Remember, "Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.") I started the shower and the water wasn’t getting hot. My husband says, "Maybe you need to pull that cord to get the hot water." So I pulled it. Not long after that, the water started getting hot. Little did we know that the alarm was going off in the office and the lady of the house was ringing down to our room to find out if someone was hurt. Michelle was sound asleep in bed, and we didn’t hear the phone because of the shower running. Once I got out of the shower and Michelle woke up she said, "Some lady called and was speaking something other than English and there was this terrible screeching noise going on the background. I don’t know what she wanted." We were all close to tears laughing about it. We learned that lesson rather quickly. I was nominated to go down and try to apologize to her—in French. I tried my best to apologize, but I think she was glad that we were leaving that day. She didn’t look very amused.
From journal Laghi Italiani Romantici, Pt. 1