Georgio brought his guests with him to the top of the stairs where they remained standing while he picked out the right key for the door to one of the apartments.
"The sky light is a miniature version of the dome they will erect over the tennis court, by the way," Georgio explained while looking through his keys. "And the crystal chandelier is imported from Venice. It's the real deal! You see how it breaks the light, and makes a little pattern at the wall over there?"
"This is a palace, isn't it?" Olga exclaimed, thoroughly impressed by it all.
"It is," Georgio confirmed. "It certainly isn't your average apartment building. That's for sure."
Then he opened the door to the north facing apartment.
"Come have a look! And remember, don't step outside the floor coverings."
They stepped into a generous hall with cabinets and racks on both sides for guests to hang off their jackets. The craftsmanship was stunning with little patterns and details everywhere. Everything shaped and fitted perfectly. And although the cabinets were what drew the guest's immediate attention, it was clear that no less care had gone into the flooring and skirting which was done with similar precision and craftsmanship.
The floor was partly covered by large rugs for the guests to walk around on, but elaborate patterns could be seen everywhere, especially in the larger rooms, such as the living room overlooking the fjord. And Bjorn noticed that the armillary sphere was a recurring element everywhere, while the theme on the more elaborately decorated floors and doors was that of St. George slaying the dragon.
"This is Pedro's apartment, isn't it?" Bjorn ventured.
"That's right," Georgio confirmed. "St. George gives it away a bit, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, that's what I thought too."
"So, every apartment is different with different patterns and cabinets?" Igor asked.
"That's right. Mons' apartment is furnished like a yacht. Thick teak floors, and sturdy cabinets. All polished and shiny, of course. Brass elements... You name it. And the foreign minister has an illustration of the whole world edged into the floor of his living room."
"And the armillary spheres?" Ante asked.
"Well, that symbolizes the empire."
"Yeah, I know, but do the other apartments have them too?"
"Ah... Yeah, they do. Even the fourth one... In fact, the fourth one has no other theme. It's entirely dedicated to the empire."
"So, you think Frederico will be moving in there?" Bjorn asked.
"I don't know. I don't think he has the money for it to be honest. Frederico isn't a very rich guy."
The apartment building was much larger than Bjorn had thought from seeing it from the outside, and he was amazed to learn that it had seven bed rooms, all fitted with their own en suite bathroom, in addition to a separate section for the servants, complete with a little living room and four small bedrooms, also with their own bathrooms.
The servant section ran parallel with the guest bedrooms, with its own corridor. A single door connected the servants' corridor to that of the guest section. And having never seen a modern place with its own division for servants, Bjorn was intrigued to explore it together with Einar, who acted as his guide.
"The servants have a small living room for themselves up there," Einar explained, pointing to the far end of the servants' corridor. "And the kitchen is over there," Einar continued, pointing over in the exact opposite direction.
"This doesn't look so bad," Bjorn commented on seeing one of the servant's quarters. "It's bigger than what I have up at the checkpoint... And it has its own bathroom. That's pretty good."
"Yeah, it is. He'll have people willing to work for free, just to be able to live here," Einar commented with a nod.
"You think so?"
"Yeah... Things are pretty bad, you know. There's just too many people looking for work."