Barnsley – First Visit


Barnsley is a place in the UK right where its heart of coal mining used to be. It’s a region with wonderful hillside landscapes with curvy small roads that give one a very tolkien-esque feeling of being in the Shire. But most of all, its distance from any larger city makes Barnsley a complete stranger for tourists. This gets apparent once you drive around there or visit the local pub. I was staying at the local Holiday Inn and I’m pretty sure I was the only foreigner staying there for the time being. Not only was the hotel hardly occupied, but the few people I ran into were some of Britain’s elderly couples. At first impression my stay at the hotel was looking to be as interesting as its other guests I ran into. Yet, the first night was already going to prove me wrong and be more interesting than I had expect it to be.

I had gotten back to the hotel pretty late after a business dinner that evening. To my surprise there were a lot of teenagers hanging out outside of the hotel. All of them were dressed up fancy and glamorous. Boys in tidy tuxedos and girls in sparkly dresses, a scene that instantly makes you think: prom night!

Flickering disco lights could be seen from the windows of the restaurant and so it seemed that the hotels bistro bar had been transformed into a hall of dance and music. The dance music inside could be heard from the parking lot where I was being dropped of. Instantly it brought me back childhood memories.

I greeted the young men and women outside who were enjoying a smoke and made my way through the reveling doors into the lobby. The lobby itself was sealed off from the bar, as I assume to make sure that none of the hotel guests would stumble into a party they were not invited to. Anyway I had made it to my room, but I didn’t actually feel like sleeping just yet. Maybe it was the feint notion of music that still could be heard or was it that I felt an opportunity rise up to feel a little younger again.

I kicked off my shoes and with a smirk I walked to the window which I had left wide open. My room was at the side of the parking lot and I could see some of those teenagers down there. I figured I would do a little strip down at the nearby chair with the hope someone would catch my act. Yet when I was done it was clear that none of the guys and gals had even shed one glance in the direction of my room. Why would they, they are having the time of their life. I wouldn’t either to be honest. The whole thing was not as satisfying as I had hope it would be and that’s when my brain started to think and come up with another plan. It did, but this plan didn’t involve staying in the room.

Admittedly the first idea was to go for a streak yet I really wasn’t mentally prepared for that at all. The fear of possible consequences for getting caught was just getting the better of me. I then decide to go for the next best thing.

I opened the door with nothing but just my boxers on and key card in my hand. The plan was to casually explore the hotel dressed just like that and hopefully run into another hotel guest like this. So I went on, let my door fall into its lock, and tried to see where the hotels many corridors would lead me to. When I saw a sign with arrows saying conference room I decided I would head out there. Quickly I learned that the closer I got to the wing with the conference rooms, the quieter the hotel had become and how obvious it looked that I wouldn’t encounter a single soul here. I turned back and would explore the other wing instead.

When I had almost reached the other wing of the hotel I heard a pair of shoes nearing the up coming cross section in the labyrinth of corridors. I smiled, straightened my back and walked on undisturbed on my bare feet. A woman in her fifties appeared from around the corner, another hotel guest. She startled as she saw me since my bare feet were not making any noise on the carpet floor. “Good evening,” I said well mannered and gave her a little nod. Completely flustered she returned my nod with a single greeting of herself. I grinned once I was around the corner. I walked on and I was set on exploring the further end of the hotels right wing.

Not short after I heard giggles and talking down a corridor. I went in that direction and happened to stumble upon two girls dressed in a party outfit. One of the girls held her heels in her hand while the other girl was trying to open the door to—supposedly—their room. One of them looked up as I came in their sight range, the one who held her shoes, while she raised an eye brow and doing her best not to laugh. Obviously both were well drunk, and when the second girl had managed to open the door she glanced at me too. A suppressed laugh that had pushed itself out in the form of a snort erupted from her mouth. Both of them stumbled inside and slammed the door shut. The girls voices could be heard laughing yet I couldn’t make up what they were saying. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around and decided to turn around to my room.

When I had gotten back to my room the music had stopped and the clock showed me it had just turned midnight. It was time for bed now, I had a meeting early in the morning.

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