Now yes, I'm chronicling our Italy trip, but if you have been reading my blog for any time, or even noticed the the title of said blog, you know that I have a strange take on the world. After all, you can find out all sorts of things about Italy from other excellent sources so I tend to remember the odd stuff.
The amazing room-with-a-view at the Hotel Santa Maria Novella had a bathroom to die for. Typically I don't care about bathrooms as long as they are clean. But this one was special and had a bathtub the size that I could soak my back in after the horrible airplane coach seat (which are designed for space aliens since they seem to fit no one!)
This fabulous bathroom had a little extra something hanging on the side that I couldn't figure out. A string with a ball attached to the top of the wall. I thought it was some kind of vent pull. The entire bathroom was sky-lighted and had window vents at the top. It was great because I always bring just enough clothes for 4 days and then hand wash as we go along and they dried in 4 hours in that bathroom! Limited clothing keeps us "lighter" suitcase wise - me with a 20" rolling carry-on (& tote) and Len with a 24" rolling suitcase (& small duffel bag) for an almost three week trip. But the bathroom vent windows had electric remote switch so it was not for the vent.
***Sidebar - Italians LOVE their electronic switches! You are first struck by the fact that you have to insert your key into a slot by the door. When you do this, the lights and environment control system comes on. If you forget, you can't get any lights to come on (or if your husband takes the key to get back into the room when he goes down to the front desk, you find yourself soaking in a tub in a very dark bathroom about 30 seconds AFTER he leaves). We left Italy still unable to figure out what all the switches by the bed did.***
I was remarking to Len about this goofy little gadget and he said "look, it is a clothes line to dry your clothes" and he pulls it around to demonstrate - but no, I argued, it is too flimsy with nowhere to attach it. We were debating this point when the phone rang. I went to answer it since Len was in the shower and a voice at the front desk asked "is everything all right in your room?" I was taken aback partly thinking "how nice - they want to know how we like our room" and said everything was great in a very happy voice. The desk then informed me that since the alarm in the bathroom went off they were checking if we were OK. Oopsie!
I was telling Paul and Claudine this story and they laughed and said they had the same thing happen to them their first trip to Italy. In their case, the front desk called and simply said "stop pulling that!" Quite funny. If I had actually bothered to read my Rick Steves travel book I would have found it mentioned in there. They have a variation of this alarm pull all over Italy. That way you may bathe/shower secure in the fact that if you "fall and can't get up" or any other disaster that help is close at hand. Scary thought - I hope I'm not naked if that happens! :)