I was visiting a company in The Netherlands for the first time and since I was arriving late the night before the meeting, they had booked me into a hotel in a nearby town that they used a lot. It had been a long flight, followed by a long drive in pitch black with numerous wrong turns in a strange country – so I got to the hotel exhausted and ready to collapse. I check in; go to the room; settle in; set an alarm; and crash out in the bed.
At 2am, I’m awakened by a key in the lock and the door swinging open. It takes me a minute or two to work out where I am (as well as who I am and what I’m doing there), and then I jump out of bed to find out what’s going on. The lights are out in the room but not in the corridor and I can just make out the silhouette of a shapely young woman standing in the doorway. For one brief moment I thought this was some corporate hospitality by my hosts – that is until the woman sees me standing buck-naked in the room and starts screaming her head off and calling for the police. I was raised to have manners and I want to put some clothes on, but every time I make a move she screams even louder – so I stand still.
Well the hotel night staff arrive, quickly followed by the local police (I still don’t know how they got there so fast – but they did!!). What a scene. Can you picture this? The police waving batons and shouting; the woman waving her arms, pointing at me and shouting; the hotel staff are not to be outdone – it’s their hotel after all – so they’re shouting too. And all of that in Dutch (of which I don’t speak a word). Then we’ve got other hotel guests coming out to see what all the noise is about. And me the center of attention, naked in the middle of this screaming crowd. I heard later that people were trying to calm this young woman down and decide whether I’m some pervert that needs to be carted off and locked up for the night.
It worked out all right in the end – turned out the hotel had two bookings from the same company for people with similar surnames. They staff that had checked me in had gone off-shift and the new shift had given the woman the key to her room not realizing the previous crowd had put me in there.
I can think back on it and laugh now; I’d even like a picture of that scene for my memoirs. But don’t ask me to go through it again – once was more than enough.
If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our Europe Insiders page.