In the summer of 2006, I worked in Munich and hungered to see the world. I was able to get 8 days off my summer internship and decided to go to Austria (Vienna) and Italy (Rome, Pisa and Sicily). After that chaotic trip, I wrote an email to my family and friends chronicling my adventures and these are the tales I have shared with you over the past few weeks - ending with this post today.
My plans once I got to Rome was to spend the day at the Vatican . My train would arrive at 0611 and I would begin my great trek to the Vatican (1 hour walk.) I would be there by 0711 and hopefully get in line for two or more hours and be in the Vatican hopefully at 1011. The lines at the Vatican are legendary, and people get there before 6am . Someone told me the line is soooo long that you can’t see the Vatican when in line. The line stretches for miles. Hmmm then it dawned on me that finances were dangerously low…..That is an understatement. I had exactly 5 euros and 13 cents to my name in Rome if I didn't count the 6euros Salvadore owed me. There are four trains leaving Rome for Munich daily, and I realized pretty late that the only ones that weren't speed trains ie sort of cheaper and would cost me 5 euros instead of 15 euros (which I didn't have anyway…) were the ones leaving at 0742 and the one leaving at 2100. Unfortunately the one leaving at 2100 was leaving from a different station, and I would have to take the subway to get there. I was pretty sure there was no subway that would cost me only 13 cents. So financially it only made sense to take the 0742 train to Munich . Besides I was now too broke to buy water which I would definitely need lots of for my pilgrimage to the Vatican . I was also really exhausted after two nights of sleeping on the train. I just wanted my nice bed in Munich , my inextinguishable water supply and food in Munich and a nice long long long hot shower. My little energy would not be enough to stand in the line under these scorching heat. The Vatican also has a dress code that restricts showing shoulders, thighs etc and these would mean I would have to sauna in my jacket. Common sense prevailed and I decided to go home. So yes I did not get to see the 16th chapel and Michaelangelo’s famous mural, but at least I got to sleep on a bed that evening.
*****NOT WITHOUT MY CHILDREN/BAGS ******
My train got to Rome late ie 0630 and my Munich train was to leave at 0742. I had 1 hour and 12 minutes to reserve a ticket and get my bags and be back. I went to reserve my ticket, and luckily the line wasn't too long due to the early hour. I got my ticket i.e. parted with my 5euros, and ran to get my bags. I got to the hostel, and rang the bell. No answer!! I rang the bell more frantically!!!!! Still no answer!!! This just could not happen to me. I was absolutely broke now, and absolutely needed to catch that train I had just paid for. It was past 7am right now. I banged on the door!!! I banged on the window!! No answer!! I was now really beginning to panic. I started screaming out “SALVADORE!!!! SALVADORE!!!!!” in the middle of the street. Then I decided to scale the wall, and scream his name through the window. There I am looking like a real criminal and screaming “SALVADORE!!!!! SALVADORE!!!!!! While hanging from a window pane. I was just thinking “my bags!!!! my bags!!!! I need my bags!!” Finally I hear someone come and open the door. I was sooooooo soooooo happy. He had red eyes and looked like he wanted to kill me. I apologized, but told him I really had to catch my train. I got my bags, and my money from him. I ran to the train station and jumped into my train. I put my bags in the luggage storage overhead, and sat down. I breathed a sigh of relief having made it just by a hair’s breath.
The train starts to move and I am dreamily staring out of the window saying goodbye to Rome, goodbye to Venice, goodbye to Sicily, goodbye to Italy and having the feeling that this is not really ‘goodbye” but “till we meet again.’ The announcer starts to speak in Italian……blah blah blah…..welcome to this Trenitalia train……blah blah blah…..destination Monaco!!!!! Monaco !!!!! What!!!!!! Monaco !!!!! I jump up not really sure what I am going to do now that we are already in motion! Jump out the window with my bags and run across the train tracks to catch my train to Munich.!! I frantically ask the guy next to me who luckily speaks English “Is this train going to Monaco ?” He tells me “yes.” I start looking for the train official or something now really believing I must have the strangest luck. The guy asks me where I want to go. I tell him Munich , and he tells me the train is going to Monaco , Germany . Can you imagine that!!!! In Italian Munich is called Monaco and Monaco is also called Monaco ….only with a different emphasis on the “o.” I actually had to laugh at myself. I laughed and laughed till I was in tears. My cabin mates looked at me like I am insane. I really didn’t mind anyway. Maybe I am indeed insane.