Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Venetian honeymoon gone wrong

Venice, May 2006: Day 4 (part 1)
> Previous day: The Lido, a Venetian quest and a new hotel

My hotel in Venice was lovely, but I didn't enjoy the good night's sleep I was expecting. The night turned out to be memorable for entirely unexpected reasons.

Long after midnight I was woken by two fellow-guests; a German couple in a room around the corner. There were knocks, remonstrances and strings of abuse.

I don't understand much German but my tired brain began piecing together what was going on. The woman had apparently locked her boyfriend/husband out of their bedroom. He kept knocking and urging her to open the door in an exasperated undertone. She responded with a long rant in loud, sulky (and drunken?) tones. Sometimes he would get tired of arguing and go away for a while, but her loud self-pitying monologue continued regardless.

The walls of the hotel hadn't seemed particularly thin, but this disagreement made it impossible to sleep, as well as being rather more disturbing than the cheery sounds of conversation or laughter would have been. Eventually I stuck a tousled, bleary head around my door, at which point the German husband looked very embarrassed and disappeared downstairs. I actually felt rather sorry for him, as the nagging diatribe continued from within his room.

Breakfast the following morning was smart and refined, and the room around the corner was already being cleaned. It was as though this couple (honeymoon guests? Romantic tourists? The mind boggled) had never been. Until I heard other guests complaining about their interrupted sleep, and the conversation became a general comparison of notes. Some holidaymakers had complained to the night-receptionist, they said. They had been unlucky enough to occupy the room next door, and thought the loud-voiced woman must have been ranting into her mobile phone. We all marvelled at a Venetian holiday that could degenerate into such a nightmare, and piously expressed our horror and our sympathy at such a state of affairs.

The locking-out scenario certainly made a change from the other tourists I encountered: most were couples on the holiday of a lifetime, on a second honeymoon, celebrating their children leaving the nest or travelling with a new spouse. Venice didn't seem to me the sort of place you would come to with the partner in a rocky relationship. But maybe this young-ish couple thought a romantic trip would patch up existing problems? Or maybe they had learned too much about each other and the recriminations had started? Perhaps they were on their honeymoon and the bride already regretted it and was telephoning an ex-boyfriend? Maybe the local wines had caused the mischief? There was a lot to wonder about, and as I had lain there, sleepless, I started to wish I had a better understanding of German.

> Day 4 (continued): Murano and Dorsoduro

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