Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day #16: Rudesheim am Rhein

Frans wrote:

20 Nov '09: I had the night before we left Prague a heafty discussion with the snotty receptionist at the Prague hotel about the use of my creditcard. Normally your creditcard does not get charged until you check out off an hotel, it is only used to secure a reservation and as a guarantee for use of the minibar, etc..

When Karen and Yvonne wanted to pay their bill that night they had found out from her that this hotel had already charged my creditcard that was used to secure the 'on line' booking for both rooms. When I enquired about this strange practise with this far from helpfull creature, I was advised in a very abrupt manner that that was what I had agreed to whilst making the booking?! Upon checking it turned out she was right, we had agreed to a special rate for the rooms and one of the conditions tucked away somewhere in the terms was that we would pay immediately!

Let this be a warning for anyone reading this blog, when you make your bookings on line, there too you have to read the fine print....

Anyway, on the morning we checked out and I went to reception to finalize our bill our receptionist was all of the sudden full of smiles, as I can't stand hypocrites and wasn't in the least interested to add her to my tribe I ignored the fake charm and paid the, what I thought then, was the full bill.

When we drove out off the Hotel's parking which was behind the building and through an alley way so narrow it took a seperate person to guide us out of there without scraping the walls, we came to a closed gate! When I pressed the intercom button to let us out and after submitting our room number I was advised by the receptionist in her sweetest voice that I still had to pay for parking the car for 2 days! It was obvious what was going on here, the parking charge was not put on the bill so that guests would pay for it seperately, in cash, without an invoice and preferably in Euros, a great way to earn some hard currency.... welcome to Prague in The Chech Republic! http://www.hotel-caesar-prague.com/

We were then on our way to Rudesheim am Rhein in Germany which was going to be our last stop of our journey before returning to home in Terwolde again.

We set out in first instance to Wurzburg which Yvonne had visited on an earlier journey and was supposed to be another old village where we could stop for lunch. We made good time as the dual highway out off the Chech Republic was a lot better then the single lane road we had used to get into it from Vienna.
When we arrived in Wurzburg we couldn't find what Yvonne had talked about, we had set our TomTom for the center of the city thinking this would be a good place to start but that had not brought us to the area Yvonne had described. As Wurzburg is not a very pretty city we continued on our way and we saw something on our way out that might have been the place Yvonne had visited some years ago but we decided to keep going towards Rudesheim.

We stopped somewhere on the way and I had read in the comments left by previous guests at the hotel where we were booked in for that night that parking might be a problem there unless you had made a reservation so I rang the hotel for that only to be advised to my great surprise that they were closed! I advised them that we had made a reservation with them that morning and that we were on our way! The lady was very apologetic and told me that they would open the hotel up just for us because we had been able to make the booking!

She rang us back about an hour later to tell us they had found our booking but that we had not made it for that night but for about a week later! Apparently when you book on http://www.booking.com/ it already puts in there as a default a date a week in advance and unless you change that every time you look at a new hotel it will keep putting that date into your reservation! ....another tip to be aware off for our readers......

Anyway, the lady still offered to open the hotel up for us and enquired politely when we would like breakfast the next morning and at what time we woudl like to check out, well, after our blunder we weren't going to make this lady's life difficult and we agreed to her suggestion of 8 am the next morning...

When we arrived at the hotel everything was arranged with typical German efficiency, the keys were left exactly where she said we find them, our internet voucher was included as was a tourist guide to Rudeshem and the wireless internet system was turned on and so we found us roaming around in a fair size hotel all by ourselves without any other guests and absolutely no staff, it was a bit 'strange' actually...


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We explored Rudesheim on foot straight after settling into our accommodation and we wandered through this quaint old town wth its many alley ways and obligatory cobblestones. The town was preparing itself for their Christmas markets and many stalls were in the process of being erected and made ready for the opening the following Monday. It was a pity they weren't open yet but
Karen still managed to buy a hat from one of the stalls..... Even that didn't satisfy the urge for shopping in 'The one who had declared she wasn't much into shopping but who spearheads every excursion in every shoe shop anywhere in sight' and more local shops were explored for their wares.

To me these sodden shops look all the same but there must me something in the female gene or in the mystical cauldron of female hormones that lures them into them every time they see the word 'SALE!' ... what absolutely bewilders me is how they seem to recognize the word in any language....

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After chasing Yvonne and Karen out off yet another shop we had our dinner in a local restaurant and made our way back to the hotel. Karen had her directions firmly in her sight and started proceeding uphill.... With a full stomach and no enthousiasm whatsoever to excersize I didn't even bother to argue this time and turned right around the next corner and started heading downhill to what I was sure was the shortest route to the hotel...


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With no staff in the hotel to ask for a pair of extra pillows I wasn't looking forward to sleeping on a pillow that was so soft it wasn't going to support my weighty head so I went in search for a solution and found them in the Yvonne's and Karen's room. This pair was busy on the internet hurling abuse at Yvonne's husband Gary for not responding to any emails and giving no signs he was actually missing her so I snuck into their room, pinched their pillows and shoved them under my head..... A few minutes later a stern looking Yvonne came into our room and asked in this deadly voice: "So you think you were funny?" , I gave her my most innocent look and responded friendly: "What are you talking about, 'vonka?".. she wouldn't have any off it... "I'll have the pillows back, thank you!" she stated in her sternest matriachs voice.. "Ok then", I sighed.. Now how did she figure out it was me, I wondered, it could have been anyone in that hotel, right?.....

We got up a little later then usual the following morning to go to breakfast at the proposed time and we discovered that one other couple had arrived that night. I'm pleased that we had decided not to run around naked through the hotel after all because that would have been a trifle embarresing... Breakfast was set by the hotel staff that had magically appeared and we were overwelmed by the size and variety of it. I was quite embarresed that they had put on such a lavish spread for just us and 2 other guests, I don't think the hotel made a lot of money that day....

We left them with our heartfelt thanks, a generous tip and two koalas to compliment their reception area and without a doubt we'll leave some glowing comments about their service and hospitality for future guests to read. http://www.rheinhotel-ruedesheim.de/

We took the tourist road along the Rhine river towards Koblenz and we saw many castles and interesting places on the way. This section of the Rhine is one of the prettiest and is strictly maintained in its original style for tourists to enjoy.

At Koblenz we rejoined the highways as the Rhine area from there towards Holland becomes very industrialized and in some way we were looking forward to going 'Home' after having been on the road for 16 days in a row. By this time our faithfull Mercedes Benz had clocked up nearly 5000 kilometers and the driver was also looking forward sleeping in a bed with normal pillows that night....

Our journey through Europe had come to an end, we have nearly another week in Holland left..... God, please close the shops?!... pretty please?...

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