April 9, 2015 8:30 PM *Milan to Verona*
We had to run to catch our train to Verona…just like we’ve had to run for every single train so far. “Milano” didn’t get the chance to impress us—we really didn’t see it at all, but the lady who got us on the train earned one point for Italy! Apparently, we didn’t have tickets after all (don’t know where the break in communication was) but we do have proof of purchase, so she talked to the ticket man and they decided to let us on. Phew!
So we are finally on our way to Verona. Fair Verona! I can’t wait!
April 12, 2015 *Moscow to Riga*
(there is a perfectly good explanation for the missed time…)
Wow, wow, wow! When I’m too busy to journal is when there is SO much to journal about! I am on a plane from Moscow to Riga. I have the row all to myself, I just inhaled a cheese sandwich because travel makes me so hungry, I am writing with a Central College pen that saved a girl’s life—but I am getting ahead of myself.
Russian airlines are not keen on announcements, but I think we are already about to land, so I will get as much down as I can before then! When I lat wrote, I said I was on a train to Verona, and that was both true and false. after a very long day (about twenty-seven hours on trains,) we were finally on our train from Milan to Verona. I wrote that I “couldn’t wait.” Well, I would have to!
Our train rom Milan was booked through Expedia and there was some sort of mix up. (See last entry.) The ticket man, whom I am tempted to kiss* later in this chapter, allowed us on board without a real ticket and we headed toward Verona. (*or create a national holiday in the honor of.)
We were on a very fast train from Milan to Verona, and all feeling SO ready to be in our hotel and get showered, etc. After so much running and lugging and confusion, we were relieved that Verona was our final destination. Zurich had been quite the adventure, and we thought that might be the biggest story of the day, but looking back, losing Daddy in Switzerland and having him run up and down countless flights of stairs in search of us before barely making it on our train, was a small part in our crazy day. Missing the next train due to construction at the station, having to bus to a new station with a bunch of skiers…all of that seems like a vague memory already.
After a few minutes on the train from Milan, Daddy said we were almost to our stop, but we didn’t need to rush because the buses ran every thirty minutes and this was our last train. Rushing was really difficult with our big packs, and my poor father was often carrying multiple bags (including his extremely heavy camera bag) and running full speed ahead in search of each train. Every time we’d board, he’d strip his scarf and coat off and sit there sweating and panting! We definitely made a scene…
The train stopped, announced “Verona,” we got up and began to gather our things. People were already hopping off and on and I said something to the affect of, “Well, we may not be in a hurry, but we don’t want to be sent to the next stop, either!”
TO BE CONTINUED
April 13, 2015 *Riga*
To continue our adventures…
It was at this moment we realized that trains that move quickly also stop and start quickly. As we grabbed our luggage, a woman came up behind us to take one of our seats, and in a moment of chaos, we rushed to the door, only to find it closed. We pulled and pushed and tried to get off, but the train took off with all of us still abroad, in the direction we were already heading.
We passed Verona, where we had a very nice hotel reserved for only one night and had already called ahead and told them we’d be checking in late—and headed toward Venice, where we weren’t supposed to be until the next day! Before we could say “mama mia,” the train was whizzing down the tracks. In a panic, we sat down in the nearest available seats, which happened to be First Class, and began to assess the predicament.
We were probably going to to lose our reservations and have to stay somewhere else. We were going to spend about 100 euro more on this unexpected First Class ride. We told the ticket man what had happened. He told us that you have to pull the red lever to open the doors once they’ve closed. We had never been on a train that didn’t have automatic doors, and the lever certainly didn’t look like something passengers were supposed to touch!
We felt a little less stupid now, and all agreed it was just a mistake anyone could’ve made, but one that would cost us dearly–especially if we never got to see Verona. The ticket man told us what stop (more like pause!) was next and that if we wanted to catch the next train to Verona from there, we had one minute to go under the platform, to the Verona-bound train and board.
If we did our very best and ran our hardest, we might have been able to make it onto the train in sixty seconds, expect for one thing: we did not yet have tickets for that train! The next Verona-bound train wouldn’t come for close to an hour. We were getting way behind schedule and continually more at risk of of losing our reservations. We sat on this first class seats, too frustrate and nervous to take our packs off. Daddy rubbed his temples and Mommy used to her phone to try to find the hotel’s contact information in case we needed to cancel. The girls sat behind us and played quietly. I was tempted to cry—after all, I had been looking forward to Verona more than anything and even if I got over it—Mommy and Daddy would never get over “letting us down” like that after so much anticipation. All because of a stupid lever!
Instead, I swallowed my emotions and pulled my Bible out of my bag. I prayed that somehow, we’d still get to Verona safely that night and that by some miracle, we wouldn’t have to pay the extra money, even if that meant we found a hundred euros on the streets of Verona!