We're pretty spoiled here in the US when it comes to elevators. Our buildings are new. The elevators are spacious. And fast. And - there is really no mistaking where the elevators ARE . . . or how they work.
It's kind of standard.
In much of Europe? Not so much!
European buildings are old. Very old. Often there are no elevators at all, and when you find an elevator, it is small. Very small. (Like . . .we're talking tiny!) In fact, often, a typical European hotel elevator can fit two rather small sisters and two carry-on sized rolling bags. And that is it.
It's part of the charm of traveling in Europe! (Even though my sister often has to swallow hard and close her eyes. Because she's never been a fan of elevators to begin with!)
We stayed in a Quite Posh hotel in Florence. While we usually stay in Very Nice Places when we travel, this particular hotel was incredibly comfortable and rather luxurious. Like I've already mentioned, it was almost right next door to the Uffizi, steps away from the Ponte Vecchio, and our room had this view . . .
(Seriously. This photo was snapped out of my hotel window!)
The elevators, though? Crazy-funny!
First, you know how, here in the US, you push the UP or DOWN button for the elevator . . . and then just wait until it makes its way to you? Not at this hotel! We pushed the UP button. And waited. And waited. And waited. We pushed it some more. And waited. And waited. We figured it must be broken, so, in the end, we took the stairs. Four flights. With luggage.
It happened again later. We pushed the button. We waited. No elevator. We took the stairs.
We figured there must be a trick to this particular elevator! So we asked at the desk. The slightly-smug-but-helpful-concierge just looked at us -- (stupid Americans. . . ) -- and suggested we use the "other elevator."
Why, right there. (Smug pointing to . . . the wall across from the desk.)
I've got to say . . . my sister and I nearly went into a hysterical laughing fit right in front of her. Because this . . .
Look like an elevator to you???
We opened that secret and completely un-obvious door (that, truth be told, looked more like a hidden refrigerator door in a well-appointed kitchen) to reveal . . .
another set of doors inside . . .
which opened to reveal . . .
a teeny, tiny, glass elevator!
All of those doors? They make incredibly loud CLUNK noises as they close. And the elevator was super teeny. And glass. (I felt sort of like we were in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. . . heading up and through the roof . . . )
Also. No emergency phone in the elevator. (I didn't point this out to my sister. But I'm betting she noticed.)
As for pushing the button and not having it ever come? Well. It turns out that the elevators in this hotel only take one command at a time! So you have to time it just right. You can push the buttons all you want -- but if that elevator is already following another command, all of your button-pushing is completely in vain! (The bartender explained it to us.)
Luckily, the bar was only one flight up from our room on the fourth floor -- and we could just hop up the stairs! Totally worth the hopping, too. Because here is the view from the bar's rooftop patio. . .