At the hotel

Hotel Sheyly’s is about five minutes’ walk from Trnava station, and not much further from the city centre in a different direction. So it was booked for us because it’s convenient as well as inexpensive. Although it’s five minutes’ walk from Trnava station, by some quirk of geography it is also right beside it. I can hear (although not understand) all the station announcements, and all the bong-bong-bongs that precede them, from my room. I can also hear the trains, but I like that – most of my favourite bedrooms in my life have included being able to hear trains.

I’m on the second floor, and there is no lift. So I’m not bothering with trying to remember my Wii Fit routine every morning, because I’m doing quite a lot of running up and down stairs (admittedly in order to have a cigarette outside the back door, but exercise is exercise).

I think the room is quite large (I’ve certainly stayed in smaller). Twin beds are pushed together to make a large double, with a small bedside table either side. One has a clock radio, which I haven’t dared play with yet in case I accidentally set up one of those terrifying buzzer alarms to go off in the middle of the night; the other has a socket where my phone charges. There are two single duvets, so I’ve put one on top of the wardrobe, and two large square pillows – if I fold both in half, and stack them, I get about the right amount of pillowage.

There are two wardrobes, also side by side. Each has four hangers, which is not nearly enough (and the hangers don’t come off) and a shelf above. Between the windows and the door there is a little desk with a lamp, an internal phone, and an internet cable – it also has three drinking glasses, which I’m using to store hair accessories, and a little shelf underneath, where I keep the netbook case, which I must not forget to take with me when I leave. I’ve already spent a lot of time at this desk.

There is one wall which is completely empty of furniture and pictures – actually, I’ve just noticed there aren’t any pictures at all, how very strange. Generally hotel rooms have a bit of art in them, sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. In the corner between this wall and the windows there is a large TV – the only English channel I’ve found is CNN, but Scooby Doo was on in Slovakian yesterday morning. And then in the space under the windows between the TV and the desk, there is a glass table with two wicker chairs.

The bathroom has a corner shower, loo and sink, and a small towel rail with two shelves above, holding more towels and Bathroom Supplies. There is also a groaning hot water tank in here.

So, I have everything I need, don’t I?

No.

  1. The sink doesn’t have a plug. A plug was on my list of things to bring and I realised quite late (certainly after I’d packed) that I’d forgotten to get one. Kit said I really didn’t need to worry, all hotel sinks had plugs nowadays. Ha. And I need a plug because I have undies to wash. Nic gave me the one from her sink.
  2. There is nowhere to hang things to dry in the bathroom, and I need a place etc etc … I have draped things in the shower but this means I have to relocate them when I want to use the shower.
  3. There is no fridge. Nic has a fridge, next to her bed, but I don’t. I’m not bitter.
  4. There is no kettle. (There is also no hair dryer but as I never, ever use a hair dryer I’m not bothered about that). No kettle!!! I’m afraid nothing prepared me for this.

None of this was really an issue yesterday, when we were fed and watered elsewhere all day. But today we were fending for ourselves, once breakfast was over. Oh, yes. Breakfast. Breakfast is a help-yourself buffet affair, the choices being:

  • Scrambled egg with bacon bits mixed in.
  • Frankfurter sausages (you know, the tinned ones, boiled).
  • Cereal.
  • Very, very weak coffee. I like my coffee like dishwater, and it’s too weak even for me.
  • Tea. Well, tea bags and hot water.
  • Strange milk. It’s not Dairy Crest, put it that way.
  • Fruit juice.
  • Toast.
  • Rolls.
  • Selection of jams (I think I had peach this morning).
  • Yoghurt
  • Garlic sausage.
  • Processed cheese slices (the sort that comes in a plastic sachet).

I have stuck to coffee, yoghurt, and rolls with jam. I’m quite prepared to give the local cuisine a go, but not first thing in the morning. And I’m jolly glad I had that bacon and mushroom sandwich for my last breakfast in England – although of course it does mean that any hotel has a high standard to live up to.

After breakfast this morning, Nic and I set out to find the supermarket, so we could buy in some provisions – I was also hoping that perhaps I might be able to get one of those element things that you put in a mug of water to heat it up (although I would also of course need to buy a mug and a teaspoon). The nearest supermarket turned out to be a branch of Lidl, a supermarket that always seems strangely foreign when I visit it at home, but suddenly seemed very home-like and familiar. Lidl always have a load of baskets of weird electrical stuff on offer so my spirits shot up, as there was every chance I might be able to get a substitute kettle. But no – I could have bought a weather station, some fleece-lined crocs, or an electric angle grinder (it might not have been an angle grinder. It was a tool, anyway) – but nothing to heat water.

What Lidl did sell was something called, in English, ‘Raspberry Taste – instant tea drink’. All the ingredients and the instructions were in 8 different languages, none of them English, but the picture on the front showed a glass with a straw and ice cubes – ie, clearly a cold drink, not requiring a kettle. I decided this would do instead of squash. I also bought a seeded sub roll, a packet of Black Forest proscuttio, a 100g slovak soft cheese (the local equivalent of Brie), two enormous golden delicious apples, and three small cartons of fruit juice, all of which cost me the princely sum of 4 euros 50 (less than £4). Oh oh oh and I must share this – a packet of cigarettes, you know, the sort that costs nearly £8 in England, is on sale here for TWO EUROS. Ally gave me a euro in change – I thought I might buy him some cigarette papers, it never occurred to me that I might actually be able to use such a small sum for real tobacco.

The instant tea drink does work with cold water, and it tastes quite pleasant, without being in any way reminiscent of tea – in fact, they might as well just call it ‘instant raspberry taste drink’ and I’m not sure why they don’t. IT’S NOT TEA.

I am turning into Arthur Dent. And what happened later in Trnava only made this worse …

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About Mrs L

Wife, mother of three, civil servant, writer, school governor, charity trustee, girlguiding mentor, allotment gardener, revolutionary monarchist. Usually tired. Lives in Northamptonshire, and in 2012 travelled outside the UK for the first time since 1986.
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