It was supposed to be a great vacation, but when we entered the cozy cottage on the border between Bohemia and Poland, another family was sitting in the living room, unpacked. We didn’t understand what was going on, where the mistake happened. Aren’t there more cottages on the same plot of land that we might be mistaken?
“It must be some mistake,” the husband nodded his head. But no, it was. There was a mistake somewhere, but we weren’t able to figure out where until we calmed down and introduced ourselves. “Irena Pokorna,” said the woman, giving me her hand and it dawned on me.
“Sylvie the Meek. Nice to meet you,” I introduced myself. It didn’t take a second for it to dawn on us why our vacations had gotten so tangled up. We tried to call the owner, but he didn’t pick up. We argued about who would stay and who wouldn’t, but as we talked we realized that none of us had anywhere to go. We all arrived in the afternoon and didn’t want to travel anymore with the children in the evening. So we decided to stay the night and wait to hear from the owner.
Getting ready for the night was like a comedy full of mistakes. Beds were allocated, shuffled and allocated again. Our dear children, excited for the holiday, eyed each other suspiciously, obviously wondering who the intruders were. We adults tiptoed and tried not to disturb others’ space. But I tell you, sharing one bathroom with another family? Insanely!
The owner did not call the next morning either. We decided to join the other Pokorny on the trip and wait until lunch to see if our situation would be resolved. Although we were the second to arrive, I refused to leave the cottage without the owner’s promise of a solution to our situation or at least a guarantee that our money would be returned.
In the afternoon after returning from the trip, the owner finally called. He apologized and explained to us that he had another property in the vicinity where he intended to accommodate us, but unfortunately he would not be able to arrive until the next afternoon at the earliest. I couldn’t believe my ears, but what could we do? We were supposed to spend two weeks here. And so the evening began the same confusion as before. We had to fold in the cabin for four and it was not easy or comfortable.
The next day we decided to go to the swimming pool. Although we got along, it was becoming clear that we were infringing on each other’s space and our vacations were ruined by the fact that no one could do what they came here to do. Nervousness rose during the packing. Irena suddenly shouted at me: “Your daughter took my bathing suit. So that’s education.” We immediately started arguing until it looked like we were going to get physical.
In the midst of a heated exchange, our children intervened. “We changed the swimsuits. How about we exchange all the things?’ they suggested. We stood there as if scalded, and then both spontaneously burst out laughing. The process was surprisingly cathartic.
We moved to the second cottage that afternoon, but it was in the next village, so we spent the rest of the holiday together. The holiday mix-up, however absurd, became the basis of a friendship that transcended the confines of that cramped cottage. We left as one big, messy, happy family, forever bound by the memory of a strange vacation, a story we’ll share and laugh about for years to come.
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The text was prepared based on a true story, the photo is for illustration only. Do you have a similar experience? Trust us with your story, write to [email protected].
Queen of Czech detective stories Michaela Klevisová: I started writing at the age of 4 under the pressure of my parents