The Germans are often the butt of the joke when it comes to reserving sun-loungers with their towels.
And whilst I hate to fan the flames of this sweeping stereotype, it seems no coincidence that our hotel happens to be full of Germans, who are more than living up to the sun-bed hogging cliche.
Having struggled to find a sunbed on the first day of our holiday, we soon realised that we had to be more on our toes. Operation ‘Bag A Bed’ was put into action the following morning. Setting the alarm for 8am, we headed straight for the pool area, foolishly thinking we’d have free pick of the loungers pre-breakfast.
But – unbelievably – at 8.15am, every good spot was already taken. Rows of towels and magazines were strategically-placed on beds, while the occupants were nowhere to be seen.
‘They probably came down here at the crack of dawn, threw down their towel, and then headed back in bed,’ I thought grimly.
The husband and I settled on our substandard sun-beds. Two hours later, and the mysterious hordes of sun-lounger hoggers still hadn’t appeared.
Even the usually laissez-faire husband agreed it was infuriating.
‘There’s a sign next to the pool stating that you aren’t allowed to reserve a sunbed for more than 60 minutes,’ I said. ‘They’ve been several hours!’
But would you put your faith in this gormless poolside attendant to enforce such a rule?
I didn’t think so.
The next morning, my alarm went off at 6.30am.
‘This is no holiday,’ mumbled the husband.
I tiptoed out of the room and scampered down the corridor in a cloak of darkness, thinking, ‘No sane person would get up this early… this’ll fox ’em!’
I leapt in the lift, armed with the all-important props – an old magazine and my sun hat – ready to commandeer the best sun-lounger humanly possible.
I trotted down the corridor, turned the corner, and was greeted by…
… a very sodden looking pool area. It was absolutely pouring down.
I’d been foxed by the weather.
I trudged dismally back to bed, where in my mind I played out a Robin Hood-style scenario of sweeping up all of the magazines and towels around the pool and piling them up in the corner – a true crusader of the Save Our Sunbeds campaign.
When the sun-bed hoggers eventually arrived to reclaim their spot, I’d be innocently led nearby, pretending to be engrossed in my Kindle.
If approached, I’d probably say (in a terribly British accent): ‘Oh golly gosh, I have no idea who has moved your things…
‘Although now I come to I think of it, there IS a notice saying that you shouldn’t leave your sun-loungers unattended for more than 60 minutes. So I suspect it was probably the pool staff enforcing this very sensible rule. Auf wiedersehen!’
That didn’t happen, of course.
Instead I vowed to rise even earlier the following morning – or possibly sneak down to the pool at midnight, with a couple of towels I’d squirrelled away the day before.
The sun-bed war was on. And I wasn’t going to throw the towel in that easily.