I am currently trying to book a hotel for a family vacation to Colorado and as you might expect I am looking for somewhere offering basic amenities and a nice view.  However I wasn’t always a lover of 3 star hotels and during my pre-marriage era travels I stayed in some of the most unusual places you could imagine ……… (Dim the lights as flashback sequence commences) ……………..

Lake Brno, Czech Republic …… My mate Deacon and I decided to go with Cosmos on a $129 coach trip to Eastern Europe and booked into a dated but seemingly decent hotel on the banks of Lake Brno in the summer of 1996.   The Lake was pretty nice if you could overlook the masses of Czech nudists who were congregated on its banks.  They were all men over the age of 40 with giant beer bellies and moustaches that could easily have been mistaken for small woodland animals.   The women were mostly clothed possibly because they didn’t have enough of the oompa loompa style fake tan to cover their entire bodies.  Irregardless I wasn’t there to spy on naked people I was there because it was cheap and so after a day spent discussing the merits of dyeing your hair purple with some middle aged Czech women we retired to the hotel.

The first night the Deacon (We called him “The” because his nickname Deacon was more of an unwanted title that an actual name) started accusing me of throwing things at him.  When something struck me on the head a second later I told him to cut it out.  Before long I was being pelted with fragments of plaster.  Angrily I turned on the light fully expecting to assault my travelling companion for this unprovoked attack.  As the 15 watt bulb slowly came to life we both realised that the cause of the problem was a huge hole in the ceiling that had miraculously appeared as we were sleeping.  Chunks of plaster continued to rain down on us as we quickly dressed and ran for cover.

For our second night the hotel manager transferred us to a more stable room but we were soon on the move again as Deacon came under attack from a colony of spiders at 3am.  I am assuming the bed linen hadn’t been changed for at least 15 years because the offending arachnids were entrenched in every corner of the cheap plywood bedframe.  We stormed down to the hotel reception and demanded to be moved again.  The reception desk clerk called Barin who looked like a cross between Mr Bean and Rod Stewart lead us to one of the “luxury suites” on the 3rd floor.  Everything seemed OK at first but at about 5am I noticed an increasingly loud buzzing sound eminating from the area around Deacons bed.   I wasn’t sure what was going on but thought it would be better not to ask until Deacon suddenly jumped out of bed and starting swearing profusely whilst waving his hands in the air.  At first I though he was having some kind of sleep walking experience where he was dreaming he was at a “Village People” concert but it quickly emerged that another force was at work.  It turned out that there was a well hidden wasps nest in the room and poor old Deacon who already had a black eye from the falling debris of night one was now covered in sore looking wasp stings.   Time to move again !

As you can imagine we were pretty relieved when our latest room passed our thourough safety inspection.  No spiders, no wasps and even the ceiling felt pretty solid.  The last words I heard Deacon say were “OK I will turn out the light” when suddenly there was a blue flash and Deacon was flung across the room by a violent electrical surge.  All that remained of the light switch was a charred piece of plastic and a small hole in the wall.  The next day we checked out.

The irony was that we only stayed in a hotel because of our experiences of dodgey accomodation on our previous trip to eastern Europe a year before ……

Budapest, 1995.  For some stupid bloody reason we thought that we were getting a good deal when an old shrew who looked like some kind of 13thcentury plague victim approached us with a cardboard sign at Keleti station and said “$5 hotel.”  We should have known better but we followed the old women up several flights of stairs in one of Pests crappiest looking tower blocks to her apartment which in her mind at least was a “hotel.”  Our accomodation consisted of a small room with an old couch and a “bed”  I grabbed the bed and left Deacon with the couch but he was to have the last laugh this time around.  I dove onto the “bed” only to discover that in fact it was nothing more than a grand piano with no legs from which the lid had been removed !  For comfort the shrew had placed a thin blue sheet over the piano strings.  The sound of vibrating strings was almost as loud as my scream as I smashed my knees on the ill fated hammerstein.  Things got worse when we inspected the bathroom and found a toilet with no seat that was entirely covered in some kind of black tar like film and appeared to have no flushing mechanism.  Nevertheless we decided to stay and the following day after a bout of sightseeing we returned to the apartment only to discover that the key she had given us for the door didn’t work.  A passing neighbour informed us that Mrs Nagy had “gone away.”  The fiend !  We had left our luggage, our cash and our passports in there only for this trickster to change the locks and leave town !  We were livid.  Before I knew what had happened Deacon started trying to break down the door whilst the neighbour called the cops.  I don’t exactly remember all that followed but what I do remember is that about 5 minutes after the police showed up (I never quite established if they came to arrest Deacon for attempted breaking and entering or to investigate the shrews apparent deception of us) the landlady showed up with a few bags of Bulgarian luncheon meat for dinner.  Apparently “Gone away” meant she had gone grocery shopping !  Either way we were asked to leave !  I guess it wasn’t as bad as the time we were locked in a padded dungeon by the guy in Krakow but that is a story for another day ……