I’ve pretty much reached the end of Trying our Luck in Ireland trip, but I do have one story left to tell. I’ve been trying to plan in my head how to tell it. Even now, I’m not sure I can. So let me just jump in.
In all of the hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast room I’ve stayed in, I’ve never gotten stuck in the room. Until Galway.
We’d arrived in Galway after a very busy day moving from Bunratty Castle to the Cliffs of Moher. My husband was a little concerned because we were arriving very close to the “let me know if you’re going to be late” time limit posted in the B&B’s confirmation e-mail. At least 4 out of 6 of us were also starving. My car snacks just didn’t cut it. So we quickly headed from the B&B to an area of the city with a selection of restaurants.
This is not super important to the story, but it does help explain why we have no pictures of this B&B. Not a single one, on our regular cameras or cell phones. It’s why I used a general picture of Galway as the featured image. The night we arrived, we were in a hurry to eat. The next morning, we were in a hurry to leave. And by leave, I mean specifically leave the room we were locked into.
How does one (or two) get locked into a room? Well, early in the morning, I woke up while the girls were still asleep. I’d slept in the three-person room with them, giving my husband a double all to himself. Since we still weren’t very clear on what we were doing, I went to see if he was awake. I left the door to the girls’ room ajar, since I intended on going back to get dressed and ready.
The rooms had very charming old-fashioned brass keys. I’d been having trouble with them, never sure if they were locked or not. As a result, I would lock the door I meant to unlock and vice-versa.
After a conversation about an itinerary for the day, I tried to leave the room to get ready. (I’d closed it so our conversation wouldn’t wake anyone up.) But when I tried to open the door, it seemed stuck. Hmmm, I thought. I must have locked it. Let me unlock it. But when I tried to unlock the door, the key would not turn.
“Hey, I can’t unlock the door. Can you do it?” I asked my husband.
Rolling his eyes, he went to the lock and pressed the handle. When that didn’t work, he turned the key. Or tried to, since it was stuck. After trying it one way then the other, he turned it “lefty loosey” one more time. In slow motion, I watched him turn too hard and saw the bow (head) of the key come off in his hand. The bit was left stuck in the lock’s barrel.
“Oh, no! Is there any way to turn the key?”
After a lot of jiggling, putting thin items in to loosen it or push the key out somehow, we came to terms with the fact that there was no way to turn the key. Nor was there any way to take the door off its hinges, or call anyone for help. My husband was determined that we would have to climb out the window and make our way from the second story to the ground via a steep and slippery roof.
About a half hour passed trying to get the door to open. I heard my mom go into the girls’ room and call for me. I looked through the keyhole (I don’t know this was possible with the stuck key, but it was) and called out, “In here!”
After a few minutes of her saying “Where are you?” and me trying to shout-whisper, “Over here!”, the guest in the next room opened his door and said, “She’s in there.” Apparently our door jiggling wasn’t as quiet as we thought. I do wonder why this guest heard all the commotion and never checked to see if we were all right.
My mom comes over and I try to explain through the door what happened. Her first question, “Can you turn the key at all?”
“No, we can’t. We need pliers maybe to pry it out or help turn the key.”
She went to get my dad. I imagine he thought he could easily fix it. I hoped he’d have an idea. But my hopes were dashed when his first question was, “Can you turn the key?”
My husband was insisting we just make a jump of it out the window. Or at the very least, be given permission to go through the window of the room next door. But the B&B’s hostess arrived and seemed very upset to consider either idea. I understood. I don’t know much about liability in Ireland, but I don’t think guests falling and/or breaking bones is a good thing in any country.
After asking if we could turn the key NO! We can’t! If we could have, we would have! she agreed to get us some pliers. Then she went to make breakfast for all the other guests. We had some pliers thrown up onto the roof, then my family abandoned our situation and went to eat. The pliers were useless. Climbing down from the roof seemed more possible and scary with each passing moment.
While my family was eating and while we were despairing, a car pulls up in front of the B&B. An old-ish gentlemen who my mom can only describe as resembling Elmer Fudd came upstairs and asked if we could turn the key. I had zero confidence he’d be able to get us out. Yet this man proved to be more clever and spry than we gave him credit for.
My husband explained what we thought we might need to open the door. A few minutes later, the man was crawling through our window with some locksmith-looking tool. I don’t think he was a locksmith, so I can’t imagine why he owned it. Had this happened before? Hmmm…..
In less than a minute, he’d used it on the door and we were out! I don’t know his name and I didn’t get a picture, but I’ll never forget this man. I think he was helping out a friend and am fairly sure it he wasn’t paid.
As quickly as we could, we ate and left. I don’t think the hostess was sorry to see us go. All ended well and we got a funny story out of it. So it all worked out. This experience didn’t dampen my love of bed and breakfasts. But, I’m not sure if I want to stay in a room that doesn’t have a more modern key system. Charm only goes so far.