The grand city of Lugano, Switzerland
I had fallen asleep on the bus that brought me from the Milano Malpensa airport to the city. Instead of waking me when we arrived, the bus driver drove me back to the airport. And he made me pay for another ride.
When I eventually arrived at Lugano (again) I left my luggage at the hotel and went for a light breakfast. There were few people around. Being a weekday and mid morning, just what I’d expected. The coffee was reasonable, the sweet bun acceptable. I called the waitress who brought me an outrageous bill and walked off again. The receipt said 95 francs, close to 100 dollars. So I called the waitress to my table, explained I had a coffee and a sweet bun, so that could never add up to 95 francs. The lady at the counter intervened and told me it was not just a coffee and a sweet bun. Actually, she had forgotten to add that to the bill: six coffees, two cappuccinos, an apple cake and crepes. 95 plus 10 for my coffee and sweet bun. I explained I came alone and never ordered all that food. Table 6? Yes. Then you did order all that. Sorry. The waitress sheepishly said she didn’t remember. The manager came. He too insisted in me paying 105 francs. The few people in the café told me they did not want to be involved.
I paid the whole sum and went back to the hotel, knackered.
The key, a key-card, did not open the door. At the lobby a spotty youth controlled the computer. At least, he faked controlling it, and he was the worst actor ever. Two suited men came to stand next to me. Please walk along…
Apparently I had forgotten my bag in the corridor. So they called the police who called the army who called the secret services (that is not true, I made that up). Anyway, they had the bag removed and my key-card deactivated. All a mistake. Sorry, the early flight, the bus, you know. No problem, the suited people gave me the address where my bag could be recovered. The room, the spotty youth muttered, was alas no longer available. But it would be refunded.
A taxi brought me to the address and a mere 100 francs were charged for the bag-accident.
I settled for the first hotel I found nearby. An over-priced viewless hotel room.
The afternoon meeting was very nice. The merchandiser, a jolly round fellow, offered me dinner. A very fine dinner indeed. We had a trifle too much to drink. He told me he was perfectly able to drive and I did not doubt that. He dropped me off at the hotel and disappeared in the dark night. Too late I realized I was at the wrong hotel, they one he had booked for me. With not a taxi to be found, I walked all the way back to the other hotel. Under cold, incessant rain.
Lugano, never again.
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