Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Hotel Management in Switzerland

I land up at the entrance of Hotel Garni in Zofingen on a Sunday morning. It is winter and bitterly cold. The streets are eerily quiet and not a soul is in sight. There must have been heavy snowfall the previous night, for the few cars parked on the street are blanketed in white.

I lug my suitcase in and look around. The Reception is empty. I press the small buzzer affixed to the Reception desk and wait.

Zofingen is a small town, about 60 kilometres from Zurich. For the next three weeks, this hotel is going to be my home. I am cold, hungry, tired after a nine-hour flight from Bombay, and want nothing more than to get into the relative warmth of a room, have a shower, have some breakfast and sleep for as long as I can.

After what seems like a very long time, an old lady appears who introduces herself as Mrs. Schmitt. She seems bright, chirpy and in excellent spirits the reason for which was to dawn on me within the next thirty minutes. She checks me in and we take the slow, ancient lift to the third floor. She opens the door of room number 31 and ushers me in.

It is a small room with just enough space for a single bed, a table and two chairs. There is an equally small TV, placed on a bracket fixed on the wall. There is no English transmission though, she informs me sadly. Only German and French.

Acceding to Mrs. Schmitt’s suggestion, I have a quick shower and go down to the breakfast room adjacent to the Reception. To my surprise, I find her dressed in outdoor gear, car keys in one hand and an overcoat in the other. She quickly shows me the kitchen, the pantry, and the fridge and asks me to help myself to whatever I need: there are eggs, sausages, butter, cheese, marmalade, milk. There is a grill, cooking range, the works. Before I can get over my bewilderment, she informs me cheerfully that she is about to go on a short holiday and will be back only next week, but don’t worry, her replacement shall be at the counter sharp at 6 am on the morrow.

But what about the other inmates? I ask.

You are the only guest we have this Sunday, she says. Then, thrusting a bunch of keys in my hand which includes that of the main door, with a wave and a bye, Mrs. Schmitt walks out of the door.

And thus it came to pass that I managed a Swiss hotel all by myself for almost 24 hours, without causing any mishaps to life or property.


Vijay said...

Thats funny...

Did the replacement show up?

Cuckoo said...

Ha Ha Ha... so typical of Swiss.

Having stayed in Switzerland for about 2 years, I can relate to it very well.
Thanks for sharing.


Ajith said...


I read about 50% of your Blogs and found it exhilerating that so much could be conveyed by writing out for public view.

I found the Swiss Hotel and Nandu and the Railways episodes very interesting.

I am also getting inspired to open a Blog site.

Thannks and pranaamam, Master

Ajith (KayCee)

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Stepping Sideways... by K. Radhakrishnan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.