You imagine that when you finally meet your future husband there might be some kind of sign, or at least a night so perfect, never before eclipsed by previous dates etc. etc. I’m sorry to say that it definitely wasn’t the case with us!
Two weeks ago Thomas and I drove to Piran, Slovenia, for a long weekend. We were meeting travelling friends and while they economically chose a perfectly decent hostel, we opted for the luxury hotel. It’s not something we always do, but in this case, the reason was born from the first night we spent together, which, after we got over the initial awkwardness of it, is kind of a funny story.
In July 2013 Thomas collected me from the Zagreb train station – this was about a month after our initial ‘meeting’ at Festival St. John in Porto – and we had planned to spend a week together in Austria. We had spoken via message and Skype during that time, but let’s be honest, we barely knew each other.
Thomas had suggested we stop somewhere by the ocean on our way back to Austria for a night or two. Great idea, I agreed. But I was very clear that he should book us into a hostel, both because I was backpacking and didn’t have the budget for something fancy, nor was I wanting to feel guilty about having some random Austrian pay for my expensive accommodation – I mean I was basically just some hussy he’d picked up at a party.
Upon arrival we were greeted with a welcome drink – looking good so far – and then taken upstairs to our ‘room’. I put ‘room’ in inverted commas because to be honest, I’m not sure it should actually be classed as a room. The first thing we immediately noticed was the giant sign above the door of the only private ‘room’ in that hostel stating: The Honeymoon Sweet. Of course the hostel manager made it even more awkward by announcing the name of the room loudly and giving as a friendly ‘wink-wink- nudge-nudge’.
For a brand new couple – ok, not even a couple yet – this was positively cringe-worthy. The two of us laughed good-naturedly and tried not to let on to the hostel owner how uncomfortable we both were. Because that’s when we noticed the next thing about our ‘room’ – the fact that there was no door – only a thin, privacy curtain covering the opening (now you see why I question referring to this space as an actual ‘room’). In fact, all the ‘rooms’ in the hostel (bathroom excepted) were the same – which meant we were basically staying in a large, partitioned dorm.
Still, we simply exchanged awkward looks – me desperately wishing I’d never said anything about a hostel and him wishing he’d ignored me) – and went with it. In fact, we had a beautiful, romantic evening in the hot summer air, strolling the streets hand in hand and eating delicious fresh fish and chips on a boat, water splashing quietly beneath us as we drank wine and chatted comfortably.
Upon returning to our ‘Honeymoon Sweet’ that evening, we were to discover another surprise. It was an exceptionally hot night, and though the ‘Honeymoon Sweet’ had a giant window (covered again only with a flimsy curtain), it was bolted firmly shut. That’s right, in the upstairs floor of what was essentially a shared dorm, listening the muffled snores and murmurs of those around us, on a 30-something degree night, we were not going to get any fresh air either. It was a long, hot, sweaty (not in a good way) night.
At the crack of dawn (remember only a flimsy curtain covering said giant window), we were awake, and as I excused myself to stand under a cold shower, I saw Thomas quickly pull out his iPad. And I knew exactly what he was doing – he was going to find and book the most expensive hotel in the area. And so despite my reservations about not wanting to be paid for, I smartly kept my mouth shut.
And as we entered the airy, 4-star foyer of Hotel Piran, with its it’s smiling penguin clad staff, its air-conditioned rooms, its awesome buffet breakfast and its beach-front seating, we looked at each other and burst out laughing, all awkwardness gone. Boy did we enjoy that hotel!
And that’s why we went back to the luxury Hotel Piran for our recent trip… but more about that next week!