Friday, November 25, 2011

Weasels seized my brain

La Tour Eiffel at Sunset

You will not be surprised to learn that Cate does not like the hotel. Anything about it in fact – including the location. She may not – in fact – accept that it is a hotel – in the true sense of the word.

On a scale of 10 this is a 4.5 and - my lowest score since Prague in 2009 – which I really never thought I could beat. That was really special – the one with the door that you could lick while you were sitting on the toilet – if you had a mind to lick toilet doors.

That was also the one that was next to the church with the belfry and you could not only hear the bells you could almost touch them as they were just across a narrow street – and at the same level as us - and we had no sooner asked the question ‘I wonder if they still ring those?’ than our question was answered.

But they stopped at midnight at which time we were able to stop gritting our teeth and our ears and ungrip our fingers from the frayed arms of the lounge chairs that once belonged to communist apparatchiks - and even the rats became more relaxed and stopped crashing around in the walls and bleeding from the ears.

Other than that – and perhaps Stockholm – which was not really my fault – this has not been my finest hour.

But it is entirely due to faulty planning and research and a last minute panic. There were indeed mitigating factors but I will not affect to apportion blame but will take the whole burden upon myself.

But it is indeed a stupid hotel. I mean it has shag pile carpet on the walls in the restaurant and the stair wells and the elevator looks like the movie set for a scene for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre - and it is in a part of Paris where you simply would not go after dark without armed guards or unless you were training for a tour of duty in Afghanistan and even then you would not do it without 12 navy SEALS in tow.

When I got the taxi there from our first hotel my driver had never heard of it and was amazed that it existed. When I said it was 4 stars he laughed out loud and said `why would you put a 4 start hotel here?’

Why indeed?

Well we had dinner here tonight. It was adequate. We saw no beautiful people although the nightclub fired up at about 9:30 and the singer was excellent. She looked liked she was Algerian.

She clearly had the hots for me because I was wearing my Eric Bompard cashmere top – and was looking for a more mature (if not fossilised) man - but Cate kept her at bay with a mild death glance.

The Ice Cube Bar is somewhere you go by booking in advance and paying €38. For this you get to go into a freezing room and have four shots of Grey Goose Vodka.

They have these places all over Moscow. They call them Metro station entrances. The vodka is not Grey Goose but the results are much the same. The greatest hazard in the Moscow metro in winter is circumnavigating the comatose Russians and the empty vodka bottles.

In Vienna the biggest displays are for chocolate. In Moscow they are for vodka. In any given supermarket – 50% will be devoted to vodka.

Given what I have learned over the last few years – and the mistakes I have made – I am astonished that I have fucked this up so badly. With the benefit of hindsight there was almost nothing right with my decision in terms of location, quality, style, presentation, ambience etc.

I mean it is a complete Goat Fuck. It is just stupid. This is the last hotel in the world we should be at. Weasels obviously seized my brain just before I made this decision. There is no other explanation.  


  1. If 'weasels seized my brain' would the medical condition be called a 'weas-sure' ?

    I like the name of the area Goutte d'Or, meaning Drop of Gold.

    I like how the arrondissements of Paris are in a clockwise spiral, easier to remember them that way.

  2. Badger: I think that what you need to do before you next travel is to select 5 hotels, put their names and website links on your blog, and have your readers help you to choose the hotel.

    That way, we'll be partly to blame for Cate not liking the next place. ;.)

  3. "They have these places all over Moscow. They call them Metro station entrances." Holy hell, Badger. That made me choke, I was laughing so hard.

    Chalk it up to adventure. If the hotels were all perfect, you would have no stories.

    (PS: Only today I learned of Vienna's Accordion Festival! Why have I never heard of this nor been to it?!?)

  4. esbboston: Yes but after at least 40 visits over 40 years I still get lost.

    nzm: Excellent plan. I will try that.

    smedette: Accordion festival. Why have I not heard of that?

  5. I almost always know what direction N-E-S-W are. Paris forty times?!?!? Wow ... jealous ... I think the large city, that is far away, that I have been to the most number of days and trips is San Francisco, maybe a dozen days, 5/6 trips. But I rarely stayed there, just drove up from San Jose while on business in the 90's.

  6. 13th Accordian Festival in Vienna:

    25.2.2012 bis 25.3.2012
    Mo, Di, Mi, Do, Fr, Sa, So, Feiertag
    Festival-Info: 0676/512 91 04
    Festival, Live & Unterhaltungsmusik
    Termin in eigenem Kalender speichern (iCAL)
    (Click the last line to save the date on your iCAL).

    Last year's ran unter the title "Viva la France" - unfortunately, I was to busy studying.

  7. P.S.:
    Of course, that fabulous site also offers an English version (also Turkish and a few other languages): in English

  8. esb: I used to work for a French bank so went there often for them.

    Merisi: Of course you would know!

    Simon: I have not tried too many - but I duo have some really bad stuff in Moscow

  9. I have a direct line to Google. Imagine that.