Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Gifts of Freedom - Day 1.5

Okay - as foreshadowed - there was more to the story about the hotel.

When last I wrote, we were arriving in Eisenach (Martin Luther, New Testament, regularized the German language, etc.) and since we had no reservations, dusk was nigh (4:45 pm) and snowing - we drove to the center of the city and stopped at the Schlosshotel.  Sadly, there were no rooms in the tiny inn.  (This story sounds vaguely familiar...)

We asked for other hotels and the friendly receptionist offered several to us.  Peter and I agreed that one in particular seemed close by and rather than move the car, we decided to walk to the Bachplatz and try our luck there.  Yep!  I am talking about "those Bachs."  This town has been on the map a while.

After a 10 minute walk, we found the Bachplatz and the Bach Haus Hotel.  The warm light coming out of leaded glass windows in the restaurant reminded us of 19th century London in a Charles Dickens novel.  Little did we know that we were in Tiny Tim's and not Scrooge's neighborhood.  We stepped in and a tall, creepily quiet young man mumbled hello to us.  Peter inquired as to a room and he said that he had one for 80 Euros.  Peter said fine and filled out the paperwork. We asked about parking and he told us where to bring the car and we headed up to the room to check it out.

Well - I don't think anyone else was staying in the whole building and despite its recent renovations, the clean and adequate room looked for all the world like a no-name motel on the highway.  My heart sank because we now had a room (and the other place was full) but I just didn't like it.  As we walked to the car, I told Peter that Eisenach was such a charming and historic town, it was hard to imagine staying there, and would he be willing to look at another place?

Over the years, Peter has come to know that I have ... well, how do I say? ... expectations.  So, even though it is now dark (5:15 pm) and snowing hard, with an all out Christmas Market in the center of town (ferris wheel, music, gluhwein and lots of people), he lets me step into the Apotheke and ask someone else about hotels.  The clerk was incredibly knowledgeable about such things and after running down a list of all of the places to stay, she indicates that the "tip top" address sits just around the corner.  I asked Peter if we could just check out this one place and that is all I would ask him to do.  Resigned, he agreed.

We walked into the Steigenberger Hotel Thüringer Hof and I melted.  The lobby, the Christmas tree, the windows looking out to the plaza... it was beautiful.  Now, this is not a poor little me story - but we are on a kind of budget that I am trying ever so hard to respect.  So, we walk up to the receptionist and ask if she has a room.  She is delighted because indeed, she still has one room left with a view that she can offer for 132 Euros.  I look at Peter and he reminds me that we have a room for 80 Euros that we have already filled out papers for.  I look at the receptionist and ask if she has anything for less and she asks my budget and I say 100 Euros.  She says, well I do have a room for 112 Euros - and Peter says "book it."  We run up to the room and low and behold - it was THE ROOM - it was glorious with a view of the plaza with big windows and a HUGE marble bathroom.  We finally got one of the rooms that Cindy, Allen, Don and Janice got in Athens (Greece)! 

What to do about the other room?  Peter is delighted with this one but he was not looking forward to going back to the Bach Haus.  I told him - no worries.  This would be my responsibility.  So, we trudged back to the dark and dreary Bach Square and I went in and in my Ameri-Deutsch explained that this was my one night in Eisenach and I simply wanted to be closer to the Christmas market and was very sorry but we would not stay with him that night.  He nodded his head (like he was 60 years old but he couldn't have been more than 30) and that ended that.

I sat up that evening and watched it snow through the beautiful windows of our room.  Peter slept soundly and all was good in the world.
Hotel Lobby

Daybreak in Eisenach.

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