This is a real-life story of how Twitter and a human being, not an algorithm, saved the day.

Feeling stranded, stressed and gutted, having arrived at our Lake Como apartment, to find it grim grotty and sticky (and I’m not just talking about the humidity) tired, late at night, with very special friends joining us the following day, I had a light-bulb moment. Twitter.

But first let me set the scene.

My husband and I (primarily my husband, I have to say) have been overseeing the renovation and restoration of a beautiful ‘rustica’, traditional brick Italian house, overlooking Lake Como, which we purchased on our honeymoon 4 years ago.

It’s been a long project, to say the very least, and one that has been fraught with various challenges – the strength of the Euro versus the Pound coupled with the fact that Iain realised, oh a year and a half ago now, that the only way to deal with Italian builders is to accept that this is THEIR project and things will be done on THEIR terms and to THEIR time-line.

Having said that a year ago, we decided to plan a holiday in our lovely Italian home for this July (our home would surely would be finished by then) with very, very special friends, who were coming over from Australia to spend time with us.

In spite of us doing everything in our power to ensure the house was ready, it simply wasn’t on our builders agenda. We held out to the end, though, with Iain determined that we would be spending our holiday together there. But it didn’t happen. And two weeks before we were due to arrive, I persuaded my husband that we should book alternative accommodation.

So, we made a rushed decision, and booked accommodation online, without getting a personal recommendation.

Fast forward to a few days ago, and we arrived at our alternative accommodation to find that it

a)      Was overlooking the noisy bar

b)      Smelt of smoke (because of people smoking in the bar

c)       Required a deep clean

d)      Had wafer thin sheets that were towels, apparently

e)      Had a 2 ft squared bathroom

f)       I could go on

Who can help us to get out of this horrible situation so late at night and in the middle of peak holiday season? And in a flash it came to me. Twitter. Then, almost instantaneously @EliteTravelGal popped into my head – who I’ve been following on Twitter (though we’ve had no direct communication) – I remembered; she’s based in California, which is 8 hours behind us, she plans luxury trips for people travelling to Europe – if anyone can help, she can.

So, using my new Google HTC magic phone, I hastily sent her an urgent DM (direct message) – crying out for help – explaining that we needed a villa for 5 adults, with lake view – can she help?

I received an almost immediate response.

And by midnight, she had put me in touch with her key contact on Lake Como – who contacted me (immediately, even though it was 1 am by now) and assured me that first thing in the morning she would help us find what we were looking for.

Phew, I could sleep (if it weren’t for the lack of air conditioning, mosquitoes, ancient bed and brewing migraine).

The following morning I was told by @EliteTravelGal that her contact had found us the perfect spot.
And here I am, happily ensconced in a beautiful villa in Bellagio, overlooking the stunning Lake Como with my very, very happy friends.

Thank you, Twitter, and thank you @EliteTravelGal 🙂