Goldilocks and the Five Rooms

Four days ago I checked into my Iceland hotel, thrilled to have arrived at the reception desk with all of my bags and body parts.

“Here is your key, you are in room 117, just down that hall,” and she does the tomahawk slash through the air.

“Oh! I’m sorry to be a pain, but is it possible to get a room higher up? I like to sleep with the window open, and don’t feel safe on the first floor.”

I actually thought hotels didn’t put single women on the ground floor any more…for that very reason.

“Of course,” click, click, click, “here is key to 297. This elevator, turn right then left.”

“Thank you SO MUCH!”

So I lug my u-haul to the room, walk over to the window…..and it looks down into the hotel atrium, directly above the bar. One floor above it. So much for fresh Icelandic air. The window DOES open, however. So I try it, and the room fills will jovial conversation and cafeteria noise.

Dang it.

“Um, hi, I just checked into room 297, and I hate to be such a bother, but is it possible to switch into a room that has a window that opens to the OUTSIDE? I really like fresh air.”

“Of course,” click, click, click, “come get key for 224.”

I raced down and back up, worked my bags through the maze of hallways that create the second floor and walked into a lovely room with an operating window to the great outdoors.

Goldilocks had found her perfect bed.

But did I mention the shower? Later that evening, I discovered that the piping in the shower was defective, and a jet of cold water shot straight up to the ceiling while the shower was running. What goes up, must come down, of course, so big droplets of cold water continuously rained down from the ceiling tiles. I tried to adjust it but it wouldn’t budge, so left it alone, and just did my business quickly.

I noticed that the ceiling tiles were pretty rotted (which made me happy that they were filtering the cold water that was falling on me), so figured it was an old issue, but I just couldn’t bear to complain again.

However three days later..yesterday…I turned on the water for my shower and got a full-frontal, full-force, ice cold blast. The pipe had given up.

I took a sponge bath instead, then cleaned up the bathroom, and as I left for breakfast told the front desk that my shower “needed some love.”

I went up after breakfast and the pipes were dismantled.

Soon there was a knock.

“Here are some more towels, and a day pass for the spa. We can’t fix the shower.”


“I’ll be here two more nights! You can’t fix my shower?”

“No, sorry.”

I sit on the bed. I stand. Sit. Stand. I call the front desk and get put on hold before even saying hello.


“Here is key to new room.”

“Oh! Thank you!!!!!”

I look at my watch….one hour til my tour bus picks me up. No problem.

I load everything into my suitcases and some bags, traverse the hall maze again, and open the door to 211.

Open the window.

Cigarette smoke.

I look down, and there is a cluster of smokers huddled in the rain, outside the front door. Aaaaaah, the smoking section.

“Hi. It’s Catherine? The one with the broken shower? Um, this room is right above the smokers? And I really love fresh air?”

“Yes, yes, I understand. Let me see what we have,” click, click, click, “ok, but this is an UPGRADE we could do for you…on eighth floor?”


“You understand it’s an upgrade?”

“Oh! How much more will it cost me?”

“Oh, no charge, but want you to understand.”



“You come get key, then use other elevator to tower. For upgrade.”

“I understand.”

Time was running out, but I ran and got the key, then back to the smoking room, then back to the UPGADE tower elevator with my enormous baggage in tow, then into my big fancy upgraded…..

Identical room.

But it was on the eighth floor.


And the window opened to ice cold, glorious, freeeessssssh Icelandic air. And the shower works.

This one is juuuuuust right.

Ps… the photo is the Gullfoss double waterfall…quite unbelievable.


One Comment Add yours

  1. what a wonderful vacation – I’ve enjoyed it, too – and am so glad that the cold and ice and snow was yours to experience and mine to enjoy through your words. Happy travels back home.


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