Saturday, August 19, 2006

Swedish Grand Hotels.
June 19th

To get to the city of Lund in Sweden you fly to Denmark. Yes, Denmark. While there's a sea separating the two countries, it's still the best way to go. You land in Copenhagen, board the airport train, watch the view as the train gets on the 16km bridge that crosses the sea and 30 minutes later you're in Lund. Welcome.

A quick Internet search about the bridge shows it's a bridge-tunnel combination. The bridge dives under water at a certain point to leave space for ships to pass. I don't remember that, but then I was probably in travel-stupor, a state similar to the hibernation of laptops when they're not needed. Or maybe after the first kilometer of sea I decided it all looks the same and went back to reading my book.

Lund is a university town with lots of students, some industry and not much else. We did a quick tour of the town center, some restaurants and shops, and a quick jaunt through the old city - the city is almost 1000 years old. But since my brain was still in travel stupor and my camera was at the hotel, you'll have to go there yourselves to see it.

We were booked at the Grand Hotel, a fancy old hotel from 1899. The building is shaped like a castle with minarets and towers rising up. Some of my colleagues had round rooms since they were located inside the tower. When I checked in, I got "upgraded". You don't say "no" to an upgrade, but sometimes you should check the small print. The upgraded room is indeed bigger, and also includes a sort of terrace. I was level with the top of the towers and so when my stupor finally wore off I was able to get a few nice pictures of Lund-skyline-at-sunnet.

What they don't tell you is that while your room is number 505, the elevator only reaches the 4th floor. And oh yes - the stairs climbing up to room 505 were built to allow archers to quickly climb to their firing holes at the top of the castle while not taking up any space from the actual building fortifications. It was amazing that my suitcase fit the stairs. Of course it's not a real castle so I'm not sure what they were thinking.

But I was lucky! After climbing those stairs, I found out that people staying in 515 had another floor to climb. I guess I was only partially "upgraded" :)

The other interesting thing about the hotel was the mattresses. A poll at breakfast showed that all of us had the same mattress type. Apparently purchased in 1899 as well, the mattresses at the Grand Hotel have a tendency to sag in the middle. You lie on them and your head and toes are suddenly a few heads and toes higher than your middle. Quite an interesting position to sleep in. Add to that a slight list to port (my apologies for the nautical term but it seems appropriate for someone trying to navigate the deep waters of sleep in a foreign country) and you get the added risk of falling out of bed at night.

Lying there, I noticed that the bed stand had a sharp corner that is "optimally positioned" to catch my head if I fall off. I pushed it away, just in case. In the morning, we heard someone from a different breakfast table telling his friends how he fell off. Maybe it's time for the Grand hotel to open up donate to the historical mattress museum and get some new stock.

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Anonymous said...

Great as usual! love reading you!

Anonymous said...

my matress, small as the bed, smaller than a twin bed, was the only comfortable thing in the room. i was lying on it for over 90 minutes while waiting for Amex to do something about Air France and my lost laggague...
and as they built in those long ago days, the missing AC was badly missing.