“We don’t have a room for you and the entire city is booked out,” said the hotel manager as I stood across from him, clutching papers in my right hand and looking around nervously.
I grew angry and worried: “But I made a reservation. Here is the proof.” I showed him a paper with proof of my reservation. He looked at it, but came back with some sort of stupid reply, absolving himself of any blame and pushing the fault at me.
I wanted to yell at him, make a scene, but it would have been of no use. It wouldn’t change the fact that I was now stuck in Copenhagen for three days without lodging and needed to make a presentation at a huge conference the next day. The most important thing is to try to find a place to stay the night.
All the hotels in the city were booked out. ALL OF THEM! There were most likely several big conferences happening at the same time, therefore pushing up the prices for the hotels and bringing down the availability of rooms to zero.
I was in crisis mode and quickly needed to do something. There must be some hostels nearby that I can stay in. Those always have rooms. Resigned to my fate, I calmly asked where the nearest hostel was. Apparently there was one just up on the next streets. I took my bags and started walking to where the hostel was supposed to be. On the way, I passed another hotel and stopped in to ask for availability of rooms. As expected, they were all booked out.
I got to the hostel and asked whether they have any rooms available for 3 nights. The guy at the counter checked, but there was a private room available only for tonight. I was kind of relieved. I still didn’t know what I was going to do the two other nights, but at least I could stay somewhere tonight.
That’s where further problems started. The hostel was accepting only online bookings for some reason. Their ipad was already rented out to someone who was hogging it. So I took out my own smartpad and tried to book the hostel online. No luck. For some reason, my smartpad didn’t recognize any certificates as valid, so that prevented me from logging into secure sites and actually booking the hostel.
What to do? I was worried and getting more frustrated. Felt like throwing the smartpad somewhere at the wall and smash it. I went to talk to the guy at the counter. At first he insisted he could do nothing, but after a bit of talk and seeing how frustrated I was, something was arranged and he made the booking in their system himself. What a relief!
I had a place to stay for one night at least! I went to my room, all sweaty, dropped off my bags and came down to the lobby of the hostel to continue my adventure. Mission: Find a place to stay for the two other nights!
“Do you guys know of any hostels around here where I could stay?” The guy looked on the internet, but couldn’t find anything.
Then he started thinking: “There is another hostel a bit towards the south. Maybe you should go there and ask. Maybe they have something.”
Seeing no other choice, I asked for him to point out the hostel on a map for me. He took out a pen and drew a circle around where the hostel was supposed to be.
I am pretty good at directions. I had already located the spot where I was at that moment on a map and mentally calculated the way to the other hostel. I would have to go down and cross a few streets.
Armed only with a map, off I went to find another place to stay in a city which I had never been to, with the time getting late and the night starting to descend.
I managed to find the hostel with no problem. I entered through the front entrance and went to the reception and told the guy what I was looking for. He looked at his computer and started typing.
“Hmmmm….don’t see anything,” he said looking up from his computer after searching in his reservation system.
“Anything? Not even a bed in some room?” I pleaded, looking desperate.
He looked back down at his computer: “Wait, an 8 person room has just opened up for two nights.”
“Great I will take it all,” I was happy and wanted a private, so decided to book out the entire room.
“Oh wait…sorry…there is a problem,” said the guy at the reception.
“Problem?” I asked worried.
“It seems that actually the room is only available for tomorrow night.”
“What about the night after? Not even one bed somewhere?” I asked.
“No, sorry for that night we are all booked out,” said the guy at the reception.
“OK then. I will take the room for tomorrow and will try to find another room somewhere.”
I booked the room for tomorrow night and rushed back to the first hostel to ask whether maybe some room for the third night hasn’t opened up. I came back and talked to the people at the reception of my first hostel. They said that there was the possibility of getting a bed in one of the big dorms they had. At least something. I wasn’t extatic, as I would have preferred a private room, but at least I had a place to stay. I was relieved. Homeless no more in Copenhagen.
PS: The adventure did not stop there. That was just the beginning. I will write a continuation in a future post.