I’ll try to make this a newsy letter. I’m writing it in Salzburg, while we have a plug for the computer, but no internet access, so I don’t know when I’ll get to send it. I don’t remember when I wrote last! So this might have previous news or gaps.
In Rome, we got to sleep in, which is always news for us. Then when we got up, it turned out that the Metro was on strike, and only certain trains were running. We were worried that we would miss out train, but didn’t and got to Naples just fine. One of our funniest moments involved a little grocery store worker in Napoli. He gave us 11 little individually packaged loaves of bread, and wouldn’t let us pay for them because Holly “looked Sicillian” then when we went back to get breakfast foods, he gave us 6 more loaves, 7 peach tarts, 1 wedge of parmegian (?) cheese, and some gelato. He looked us over, and said (And this was all in italian, he didn’t speak english) To me: “You don’t have a man.” (Do I give off this single vibe?) To Holly, “Maybe one man?” And then he looked at Rachel and said/gestured, “You have your choice of men. When you want one, you can just close your eyes, pick one, and if he’s the right one, you keep him.” We laughed so hard after we left!
I think that was the memorable part of Naples. I really wanted to go to the Blue Grotto while we were on Capri, but we didn’t have enough time. The lines were over two hours long! That would be the biggest disappointment for me. On the other hand, we did get to go to Capri, and it was gorgeous! A lot of people told us to watch out in Naples, because of the crime rate, but we felt so safe there, and had a wonderful time.
We never did figure out how to get the right train in Naples except to our hostel. On the bright side, there was only one station where the train tracks divided to go their separate ways, and when you pulled into the station, you could tell if you needed to get off and change trains. One day, we were riding the train when a little old man asked us where we were going. After telling his two friends, they all decided that we were on the wrong train. We didn’t care. We would just change at our station. No worries. Oh, no. They herded us off the train before that station and told us that our train would be along in about ten minutes. They were right, but as we stood on the platform of a station where we didn’t want to be, we started to laugh about the fact that they just kicked us off our train!
On to The Ferry. It was a good experience. We were able to get tickets without a problem. On our way to the terminal where we waited, we met another American, Matthew, who hung out with us until we boarded. Then, while we were at the terminal waiting, we met two men from Finland, Markos and Jari. In their words, they were computer geeks (software engineers). For “geeks”, they were pretty buff, and Rach said to me, “Deb! If they try something, we can’t take them!” It turned out okay. They were both in their late twenties, one was married, and they became our protectors. We watched each other’s bags, and saved seats so we could all sleep inside the ship. All three of us felt safer with them around. We also met two girls from the Lake district in England who offered to show us around when we get there. We are stoked about that.
Greece was hard for Rachel. She didn’t get to see her little villages, and then we went to see ruins. She doesn’t enjoy days full of ruins. She was a good sport about it, but it was hard. We got her an extra cup of coffee, to help her feel a little better.
Greece hostel story: Our 2nd floor room was 55 rickety stairs up from the computer area. Once up there, our room had no handle. (“No problem. The handle is right beside the door. You just fit it on, turn it, and put it back.”) The door did lock, and had AC, so we were good. Our roommates were a family, husband, wife, teenage son. Very nice. We were cold the 1st night, but were sound asleep the second night when there was a knock on the door around midnight. I opened the door, and the person on the other side asks, “Are you Finnish?” I said no, and then they decided that they needed to be in the room on the other side of the landing. I went back to bed only to be awakened about 2 am by a bloodcurdling scream. It was our roommate (the wife), and she was sound asleep. None of them woke up, up but all 3 of us were wide awake! Rach and Holly decided that they were hungry and ate a snack, then we all went back to sleep. Needless to say, we were all tired the next day.
The ferry back wasn’t as nice as the one over. It was colder and the benches were harder. However, we met a very nice young man, whom I’ve told you about. Ricardo. The new Christian. One of the best things about talking with him was realizing that there is only so much we can do to bring those around us to Christ. We met up with a nice guy earlier in the trip who asked us- me- about what I believed and why. After we talked for a while he basically said, “That’s nice. I’m agnostic. I won’t say there is no God, but I’m just not sure.” It made me doubt whether or not I had said enough, too much, was I really being a witness for God, etc. Ricardo reminded me that it is not what I say or do, that God is the one who draws people to him. I need to do my part, but also to remember that in the end, it is God, not me, who saves people.
Off the ferry, we went to Rimini by train, then took the bus to San Marino. The lockers wouldn’t work right, and thanks to them, we missed the bus. We decided to wait. I think we would all make the same decision over again, but it would have been nice to have made that bus. San Marino is on the top of a mountain. Everything smelled clean and it was beautiful. Rach and Holly got their coffee, and we made the last bus back down the mountain to Rimini. That’s where things got hairy. They said that we could get to Bologna, but not from there to Venice. We actually bought tickets, then the man took them back and said we couldn’t make the train. I was ready to cry! I wonder if my frustration made them mad, and turned it into a vicious cycle. Anyway, I decided to take the train to Bologna because I thought that someone there might be able to talk English which no one in Rimini did. It was a good decision. People there spoke English and were very helpful. We got our train to Venice that night. Sadly, we knew we would not be able to make it to our hostel. A man on the train (who only spoke Italian) loaned us his phone to call them, and they didn’t charge us anything for canceling so late. We ended up sleeping in the station. We didn’t sleep well, but being in downtown Venice before the crowds got there was worth it.
And now I am going to go. I’ve written this over several days when I got the chance. Feel free to post it the same way. It’s a lot of news.