European Travel Photo Blog #3
The Lovely Island of Ios (and a little story about a hotel elevator)
“When you leave a beautiful place, you take it with you wherever you go.”
– Alexandra Stoddard
In the last travel blog I sent out, Emily & I had just left the little Greek island of Poros…
After leaving Poros, we had to take the ferry back to Piraeus Port (in Athens), to catch our next ferry to the island of Ios. In Piraeus, we stayed the night in a hotel, where something rather strange happened.
After we had checked in at the front desk, Emily took the elevator up to our room. The elevator was tiny and could only hold one person & their luggage.
I took the elevator up next…which is when things went wonky.
When the elevator stopped at our floor, I pushed open the door on the opposite side of the elevator (to the one I had got on). Although this did seem a little odd at the time, it wasn’t entirely unheard of because sometimes elevators work like that, right? You get on one side and then the floor you are going to has the exit on the opposite side.
At any rate, I had our one hotel key and I knew Emily was waiting for me outside our room, so I pushed open the elevator door and hauled my suitcases out behind me. Then the elevator door shut behind me.
I found myself standing in complete darkness.
Now again, although this was strange, it is not entirely unheard of in Europe because they often have dark stairwells and hallways – and the light only goes on when activated by movement (for energy saving purposes). So I wave my hands around, thinking the movement might activate the light. Nope.
Which is when I start to panic a little. WHERE AM I? How could I possibly get LOST getting off a flippin’ hotel elevator?! And then, of course, my vivid imagination kicks into high gear and I start to wonder if someone has TURNED off the motion sensor…and is waiting in the darkness, ready to grab me! So I turn myself around – but now I can’t even SEE the elevator door, because it is so dark.
Which is when I really start to panic.
And then I hear Emily calling to me (from goodness knows where): “Maryanne?! Where ARE you?”
“I DON’T KNOW!” I yell into the darkness.
“I think you got off the wrong side of the elevator!” she yells.
“NO SHIT!” I yell back.
“Just relax,” she says, ever the calm one. “The elevator hasn’t moved, so just get back ON the elevator.”
Easier said than done, considering I can’t see a damn thing.
So I grope, as calmly as possible, in the dark trying to find the elevator door to slide open again. And when I do get it open, Emily is standing in the hotel hallway – on the other side of the elevator – looking at me like I have horns sticking out of my head.
And thanks to the light from the elevator, I can now see that I am, in fact, standing in some sort of utility closet with mops, buckets & brooms etc. But nobody is lurking in the corner 🙂
I share this little story with you because upon further reflection, I had a huge Aha! moment that – oddly enough – helped me understand John’s death a bit better.
As you likely know, John (my husband) was a police officer who fell to his death (in 2000) while investigating the mezzanine level of a warehouse. He had been searching for an intruder (during what the police thought was a break and enter in progress), when he’d stepped from a safe surface to what he thought was another safe surface – but it wasn’t.
He’d stepped right onto the top of a false ceiling…but of course, he didn’t know that because there was no safety railing in place to warn him (or anyone else) of the danger. He’d fallen a mere nine feet into the lunchroom below, but the back of his head hit the concrete floor with enough force to cause a massive brain injury.
The building he’d been searching had been in darkness and even though John was using his flashlight, he obviously wasn’t able to see the hazard…especially when he was rather busy searching for an intruder. It ended up there was no intruder in the building…it was a false alarm caused by the wind.
I share the circumstances of John’s death again in this blog because when I got off the wrong side of the elevator at the Piraeus hotel and suddenly found myself in unfamiliar surroundings in complete darkness, I had a lightbulb moment of realizing – again – just how easily “accidents” can happen. I, too, could have very easily stepped into a dangerous situation in that pitch-black utility room.
The incident in Piraeus was a good reminder to me about the importance of the workplace safety education we continue to do through the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. People who work at at a company might be aware of the hazards…but someone who is not familiar with the premise (such as a first responder, service technician or visitor) won’t be.Travel is interesting, not just because of the beautiful sights, incredible food and interesting people... but also because of the insights we often get - as we push beyond the boundaries of our comfort zones. Click To Tweet
After Piraeus, Em & I took the ferry to the lovely island of Ios…
Thanks for reading & have a wonderful week!
Previous blogs in the Epic European Adventure Series:
Maryanne Pope is the author of “A Widow’s Awakening.” She also writes screenplays, playscripts and blogs. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a co-founder of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive Maryanne’s blog, “Weekly Words of Wisdom,” please subscribe here.