We left Grenoble last Thursday for the Cote D'Azur - just a quick look at it, you understand, on our way to Italy. We were going to stay a little way from the coast, but then decided to press on and ended up in Cannes. The hotel we finally arrived at was overpriced, had no facilities for breakfast or a restaurant (unlike the others in the same chain) and we were also informed quite gleefully by the 'manager' that there was also no air conditioning. By this time, I felt we had been travelling long enough and we could probably manage for one night, and we did.
On Friday, we took Italy by storm and arrived mid-afternoon at our hotel in Florence, pre-booked (prenotare) for three nights, to be confronted by a hatchet-faced manager who looked as though to smile would crack his face. So my best, prepared-in-advance- Italian was wasted on him! Then he and a female colleague spent several minutes in a furious argument in front of me which I think was about which rooms were / were not ready and why. He was replaced the following morning by a younger man who was even more abrupt and, not to put too fine a point on it, just plain rude. I found myself wondering why one would contemplate a career in hospitality when one quite obviously hates all one's fellow men, but my Italian wasn't up to expressing the thought and their English wouldn't have coped either.
And then we experienced Italians behind the wheels of their cars!
Over that I will draw a veil except to say that if the Italians' cars were not equipped with horns, they would suffer severe withdrawal symptoms!