One Hundred Forty Eight

IMG_4840A Year of Yoga: May 29, 2014

Pose: Side Plank with Toe Grab

Location: on the steps of the “new church” in Lonigo, Italy. Some days are destined to become an epic story that you will re-tell for the rest of your life. This is one of those stories.

I knew today would be a longish day of travel in a new place, but I’ve had loads of those kinds of days over the course of my life; especially over the last 3 months. It was a short flight from Barcelona to Venice/Treviso and then a short train ride to the village of Lonigo where our friends live. No big deal….or so we thought.

Getting the metro to the airport in Barcelona is easy. Our particular route includes this crazy long, underground, dank hallway in order to transfer from L4 – L3. But other than that it is a very easy straightforward trip. The train station at the airport happens to be in the same terminal as Ryan Air so we got off the train and directly into line to check in. The plane was on time and a it was a short and  pleasant flight.

I’m a fairly relaxed and easy going person with most things and I’m also fairly organized. But when it comes to traveling, some buried Type A monster takes up residence in my body. I over plan and then worry until everything works out. I’m trying to get better and I always remind myself, one way or another it will be o.k. Things always work out. But today really was my worst nightmare in terms of what could go wrong while traveling…..epically so. The bus trip from Treviso Airport to the train station seemed easy enough. Of course whenever things are unfamiliar and in a foreign language there is always that seed of uncertainty. However we asked a few people and didn’t have much trouble purchasing our bus tickets and making our way to the right stop….even though none of the stops are marked with any identifying markers (no names, no numbers, no route maps, etc.). We got on the bus and asked what stop we needed for the train station and we arrived there no problem. According to all my notes and plans, the train from Treviso to Lonigo left every hour and it would be no problem to purchase tickets at the station and catch the next train. We walked into the station and looked up at the board only to see that every single train had been canceled. Italy is famous for its food, its gelato and wine, its beautiful art, the history and architecture…..and it’s freakin train strikes. For some reason, Italian train workers find it necessary to strike on a regular basis leaving thousands of travelers stranded. I was really hoping it wouldn’t be something we had to deal with, but alas! I was determined not to panic. Our friends live a little too far away and have small cars so we would definitely have to find our way to them. So we thought….bus! Plan B. No problem.

We asked several non-English speakers where the bus station was. After wandering for about 30 minutes, we finally found it. Of course the lines were long because every train was canceled and many people were trying to take a bus to their destination instead. When we arrived at the ticket window, the woman spoke very little English and did not understand when I said we needed to go Lonigo. She looked at me like I was crazy….then she said something that sounded like it could be the way an Italian would pronounce Lonigo. And I was so excited! “Yes! I think that’s it! We need 4 tickets.” We purchased the tickets and found the right bus and were on our way. After we had been on the road about 10 minutes I happened to ask Brandon if I could look at the tickets. He handed them over and when I read the destination, my heart stopped. It said Onigo. Not Lonigo. Onigo.

So I turned around in my seat and looked at Brandon with panic and said “we are on the wrong bus”! She thought I was trying to say Onigo not Lonigo. We spoke with the woman next to us and told her we needed to go to Lonigo; a small town near to Vicenza and the look on her face was not good. “Yes, you are going in the wrong direction.”

We did the only thing that made sense to us in that moment which was get off at the first stop before we get too far away from where we need to be. O.K. we can salvage this. It’s o.k. We just need to explain to the gentleman at the ticket counter, who doesn’t speak English, what happened and where we need to go….a small town that apparently no one in this part of Italy has ever heard of. Right. We get off the bus and look around. It’s dead. There are no stores, no cafes, no people, just a tiny train/bus station. Then it started pouring down rain. We walked into the station and spoke to the train station attendant who verified the trains were still on strike and probably wouldn’t be running again until 7 that evening. Then we spoke to the bus station attendant. She was very sweet but spoke zero English. Thankfully someone overheard our conversation and offered to translate. We were able to get our message across with the correct name of the town we needed to get to, but she also had never heard of it and didn’t seem to think there was any bus that we could take.

So Brandon and I found our friend’s phone number and a pay phone and thankfully had enough coins to call him and explain the situation….hoping perhaps he would have a solution. He didn’t. We were pretty far away from them. He basically just said let them know when we got closer and they would try to make arrangements to come get us. But for now we really needed to find a way to travel in the correct direction.

Brandon and I stood outside in the rain looking at each other both completely lost. We could take a taxi? It would probably cost €200 that we didn’t have. Moreover, there were no taxis around. We could get a bus back to Treviso and start over? More money for more tickets and still back to square one. We could wait until 7 when the trains started running again? It was only about 1 in the afternoon at this point and there was almost no shelter from the pouring down rain….and we have Momo and Lulu to think about. I don’t think there has been any other moment in time when both of us were at such a complete loss. Usually one of us can take charge and figure out a solution. I’ll confess….this entire situation did not lend itself to he and I being a good team.

So, we went back into the station and lo and behold, the super sweet lady at the bus ticket counter had spent some time figuring out where Lonigo was and what we would need to do to get a bus there. I could have kissed her! I would have kissed her if she wasn’t behind a ticket window! She told us we would just have to make one transfer in the city of Castelfranco and then we would be dropped off right in the center of Lonigo (which ended up not being true but we’ll get to that later).

So we bought the tickets and only had to wait a few minutes before our bus arrived. We showed our driver our tickets and asked him to make sure we got off in the right spot. It was an uneventful ride where we got to relax a bit and feel better. Now we are on the right track, it didn’t cost a fortune, and all is well. When we arrived in Castelfranco, our driver was so kind to walk us over to the platform our next bus would come to. He even checked the schedule and told us we had about an hour to wait. Such kindness in Italy so far!

Since we had an hour to kill and it was still pouring down rain and now thunder and lightning, we decided to get a drink in the cafe. We found that ordering in Spanish works very well in Italy. We were in decent spirits although considerably exhausted from the stress and from dragging our luggage all over. It was nice to enjoy a glass of wine and some snacks.

About 15 minutes before our bus was to arrive, I got that familiar panic feeling. Do we have the right information? Are we definitely going to the right place? Do we have the right time? I couldn’t feel comfortable until we were on the bus. Thankfully our previous driver was right on and we got onto the bus with no problem. Until we arrived at the end of the line for that bus….a bus station in San Bonifacio. What? You’ve got to be kidding me. Our tickets say Lonigo. The driver of this bus told us it was no problem and that the bus leaving from platform 4 will take us to Lonigo, but it’s leaving very soon so don’t miss it. Then Brandon and I proceeded to get into a fight because there was a bus #4 that said Lonigo on it and there was a different bus on platform #4. We didn’t agree about what was meant. We stood there for a few minutes glaring at each other. By this time I know my anxiety level is making me crazy and of course it’s raining, I’m hungry, I’m tired, and I’m freakin pissed that the bus didn’t take us where we thought. I spoke to the driver of the #4 Lonigo bus and he confirmed it was the right bus. So our previous bus driver told us the wrong platform #, although I’m sure it was a simple language barrier thing.

We sat on the bus determinedly not looking at or speaking to each other. We rode in tense silence to the center of Lonigo, got out and now had to figure out how to let our friends know we finally arrived. The plan was for them to pick us up at the train station in Lonigo, so we now just had to let them know we were in the town center instead. We wandered for a fair amount of time looking for a pay phone or even just wifi so we could get in touch with them. Finally we spotted a pay phone. Hooray! We made it and they were on our way to get us!

So the above photo was taken on the church steps in the center of Lonigo while we waited for our ride and were very pissed at each other.

Of course by the time our friend got there and we reunited with them and had some delicious pizza and wine, we were able to laugh at the day and forgive each other.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

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