I have to say right off the start I was a bit concerned about booking this hotel, a one star. I was concerned because the rooms do not have en suite bathrooms, one per floor (about four rooms to a floor it seems). I was concerned because though I wrote several times, via email, inquiring about a booking, I never got a reply. I was concerned because when I finally broke down to call, the gentleman to whom I spoke did not understand my piss poor Italian and spoke no English, so I did not know if he understood my attempts to reserve a single (which they didn't have), so then change Shannon's reservation for a single to a double (which I think they did).
So when we arrived on October 8th, after getting off the train to Sondrio, and making my jet-lagged, baggage laden companions walk the four plus blocks from the station to the hotel (thank you Google maps), rather than getting into a taxi, and the only person working, a young girl mopping the floors, told us in Italian they had no rooms and we should come back at 6:00pm after the owners returned from a funeral, I honestly wasn't too surprised and surprisingly unconcerned.
But this is Italy and everything seems to work out.
After struggling with our Italian, the young girl agreed we could leave our bags, and we began to pile them up near the "reception area." Then a thought seemed to occur to her, and she checked the notes in the little boxes next to the room keys, and showed them to us, and sure enough, there were our reservations. So we did have rooms! To which we brought our bags.
Now if you read our train fiasco, you know we really hadn't eaten too much that day and we were hungry and it was closing in on three so no restaurants would be serving lunch. So we decided to have a picnic with our supplies. Only by this point in time, our young friend had locked up the downstairs tight!
Oh, I should mention here, the Gembro is really a restaurant with rooms above, more than hotel with a restaurant. So when I tell you she was downstairs mopping and cleaning, it was the restaurant to which she tended. And when I say we wanted to have a picnic, it was on a small patio outside the restaurant at which we had hoped to sit. But no luck, as it was all locked tight and she was gone.
So we commandeered Jen and Chris's matrimonial room, spread the food out on the window sill, used the shelf above the sink as a bar, sat and drank wine and ate sandwiches and chips and talked of completely random topics until it looked like Chris might nod off, so we decided it was time to head out for a passegiatta and explore the town.
Chris at our smorgasbord
Shannon reflected in our "bar"
When we went downstairs, Roberto the owner was there, and he speaks some English (I believe his wife/girlfriend, Lisa, who have yet to meet, is English or Australian), and we got the room straightened out too - getting another single for Shannon, and leaving me with my own room (a double which I'm using as a single).
The double goes for €45 and the single €30, and for the extra 15, I'm not complaining.
I'm still leaving my mind open as to the hotel facilities (we also dined in the restaurant last night but I'll make that a separate entry). The people are nice, and the price is cheap enough but the single bed is quite narrow, the hotel a bit loud (with restaurant downstairs) until about midnight, and some early morning noises which made me wonder what was afoot (and miss Chris ;D, ;D).