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  • Day15

    A night to remember

    August 10 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    Behind every picture there's a story, is what people say, but behind these photos there's a particularly exceptional one: After last night's dinner, we went back to the hotel. It was a budget hotel with an automated check-in system and a coded front door lock for after 10 pm. We had two double rooms, one of which was bigger and nicer, with an extra space and a sofa, as well as a balcony. We had planned to spend our last night in Spain with a couple of beers that were waiting for us in the fridge. To our surprise, our key card didn’t open the electronic door lock. We tried a good number of times, but to no avail. So we called the emergency contact number that was posted at the reception desk, but it went immediately to voicemail. A bit panicked, we left a message and tried several times more, the phone number as well as the room key. We tried getting a spare key from the check-in machine,too, but it only produced an error, asking us to contact the reception. We were in full panic now, since we had left everything, including the key for the second room, in the main room, and phone batteries - as well as our patience - were running low. We even called the support, but they only had the same contact numbers as we did. That's when Marysol discovered the second room's key in her hand bag, which she must have mechanically grabbed when leaving for dinner. That one worked, so at least we had access to the one room. However, we were without any of our clothes, toiletries, or phone chargers. It was a very small room and there was only one queen-sized bed in it. Meanwhile it was already past midnight, so we gave up solving the problem right away and decided to arrange ourselves with what we had. Marysol and the kids shared the bed, while Stephan used all the available towels and the bed sheets from the trunk of the car for a make-shift bed on the floor. As all nights tend to do, this one also passed eventually. Slightly sore and still with nothing but yesterday's clothes, we had breakfast in the little café right outside the hotel. We eagerly waited for any sign of movement, because the so-called emergency phone number still went straight to voicemail. When we saw someone entering the premises with a key, we rushed after her. Trying to explain our problem, she said she was only the cleaner. However, she offered to try to let me in with her universal key. Of course this had to fail as well. We begged her to call someone in charge. Shortly after, a second woman arrived, which turned out to be the second cleaner. Together they tried to open the lock with a special reset terminal, but with the same result. The room stayed shut. We had no choice but to wait for someone in charge to arrive, and probably even for a locksmith, to get our luggage back. We went for a walk along the coast to kill some time. After about an hour, we came back and were greeted by a very apologetic hotel employee who told us that something like that had never happened before, but she would do anything to get into our room, even if it meant to break down the door. While they kept trying to access the room, we used the time and went for some groceries around the corner. When we returned, low and behold, our room was open! They had given up trying the lock and sent one of the cleaners through the adjacent room to climb in through the balcony and open the door from the inside. The hotel offered us a full refund for both rooms accompanied by a huge apology. At least we had stayed the night for free. Happy to be reunited with our stuff, we made haste to take a shower, put on clean clothes and get on the road, because we had planned to reach Carcassonne by noon. With a delay that didn’t turn out too detrimental and this unique and memorable experience, we continued our journey.Read more