We made it out of the hotel room at 7:20 am in Milan only to sit down in the dining room to enjoy some more of that delicious buffet. That buffet was too good to miss out on. After ingesting some more croissants and cheese we made it to the bus stop on time which took us to the train station. From the train station, we hoped that nobody would strike so that we could get on the train and go to Venice. Nobody stroked/striked (not sure which is the proper way to say that), so we hopped on the train bound for Venice. It was a four hour train ride coupled with more beautiful scenery. But what made this trip so especially interesting was the gentleman both Bella and I met on the train.
Bella and I have the habit of talking and assuming that no one understands what were saying, because they usually don't. We never say anything incriminating, we just.....speak freely. Anyway so we were chatting, like we usually do, oblivious to the train filling up with people and had a discussion on the people in our lives. The conversation carried on for some time until I had to pull something out of my backpack. Well the first thing I pulled out of my backpack was my bible as it had been resting on top and what I needed was underneath. We carried on with our chatter until the gentleman sitting next to Bella, who was sitting across from me, piped into our conversation.
Gilbert, that was his name, was an American soldier who had been stationed in Italy for three years. He asked about us and what we were doing there. Told him we were seeing the world and he expressed surprise at that, especially when he found out Bella had already been backpacking for two months by herself. We talked about this whole "seeing the world while you're young bit" before we got down to the nits and grits of the conversation. At least that's why's I'm sure God put us there.
He mentioned he saw me busting out my bible and asked us what our religious backgrounds were. We told him and he proceeded to tell us a bit about his background. He was the son of a baptist preacher when he lost his mom to brain cancer. Shortly after his dad also passed away a few years after, also with brain cancer. He told us he hadn't really talked to God since then, because he first didn't understand, then because he simply didn't know how to.
This introductory story birthed a great conversation. We explained the attributes of God (ie. loving, kind, merciful, etc.) and encouraged him to just talk to Him. We talked about aspects of the bible and challenged him (hopefully) to get started in the right direction. Prior to getting off the train he thanked us and we told him we'd be praying that he gets busy praying.
We made it to Venice and drank in it's beauty before getting on the next train to take us to our hotel. Little did we know our hotel was an hour away and in the middle of nowhere.
The station we got off at was so small we nearly missed the platform. Seriously, that is the first smallest train station I have ever seen. The next step was to find our hotel.....this, we thought, would prove to be difficult. The area we were in was heavily flanked by fields and rural communities. We walked out into the road and tried to get our bearings....to no avail. So we asked a young Italian woman in the parking lot to help point us in the direction of our hotel. We showed her the directions and she sent us off in the right direction.
Only problem was the direction included no sidewalk....the area was so rural the streets didn't have sidewalks....which meant we would have to walk into oncoming traffic. Well I saw no other way of getting there, so I started walking down the two way lane; Bella started questioning my sanity. So I asked her how she would prefer to get there, fly?
Thankfully we didn't have to construct wings to fly or walk into oncoming traffic. The young Italian woman who gave us directions pulled off the side of the road and compassionately encouraged us to get into her car. All I kept saying was "graize, graize." She drove us no more than 5 minutes away and dropped us right off at our hotel. We tried to give her money but she refused, despite our extreme insistence. We thanked her, got her name (Melena), and thanked her again. God bless her Italian soul.
Our hotel....was ostentatious. Seriously. And I can't believe how little we paid for it. Ill upload pictures but it had stone floors, high ceilings, brocaded draperies, and amazing croissants. It also has breakfast for the guests every morning....I'll stay here thank you very much.
We took a tour of the town after we settled in. It's a quaint town. People know other people passing in the street, that's how small it is. We stopped off at a pastry shop and got pastries for €.90 each then sauntered off to a street restaurant/bar and had small sandwiches and white wine for €2.50. Seriously, I could get used to a place like this.
We made it back to the hotel and decided to dedicate the evening to updating our blogs and responding to emails. That is where I find myself now....except now....I'm going to go to bed so that tomorrow I can officially see Venice. Despite the strikes.