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  • Writer's pictureThat Happy Human

9. Hitch-hiking

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

Day 9 , 28 July 2019


Good morning !

After a wonderful day with the European family in Slovenia ,it was time to leave for my fourth country, Italia (as they call it ) . Next stop is Venezia also known as "The Floating City " . Italy was chosen for all the lip smacking food it brings to our plate and the ancient roman culture .

Its more than a week in Europe and I was getting overwhelmed with the various experiences. Slovenia made me the happiest. The people, Lake Bled, the food, everything was just the best . It stays my favourite country till date

So, I woke up around 9 AM and packed my bags, got ready to leave and this is what I see,

I began to panic. I had to reach Venice and with the rains it seemed very difficult to get all those public transport options.

Slovenia shares border with Italy. The distance I had to cover today was almost 175 km. Seems easy three hour ride, right?

Remember it was Sunday so there were very less transport facilities available. That's why yesterday Masa was working so hard to find me a convenient way. Even with her combinations it would have taken me 7-8 hours to reach Venice.

I asked the hostel owner Anna if there's anyone going from the hostel to Italia so I can go with them , but there were no such guests. Anna suggested "Hitch-hiking ". Basically it meant travel by getting free lifts in passing vehicles. Well that sounded dangerous yet the only option available.

I kept the bag in hostel lobby and went to check how and where to go because one way from Kobarid goes to the city and another to forest through which goes the road to Italia.

I was worried now looking at the weather and vehicle frequency. I went back to the hostel to take my bags. And surprise, I get a visit from a girl's best friend, "Periods " .

Ughh !! That added to my irritation.

Nevertheless , I walked out from the hostel with my stuff. About half a Km away I reached the spot from where I was to take ask for lift. One side had Kobarid, another had forest.

I stood there for almost an hour in the rains. Asked many people but they were not going the Italia way they said.

So my plan was what Masa gave me .

Kobarid --->Cividale -->Udine -->Venice

I literally paid no attention to this yesterday and now standing in this spot I was getting more impatient. Not everything is going to work out each day , right ? May be today was my bad day. I thought I'll wait here for another hour and stay back in Kobarid today and get a direct bus to Venice on Monday.

And that's when a fancy car stops ! The man drops down the window . I told him I want to go to Cividale (This is in Italy) which was almost 30 kms away . Unfortunately he wasn't going that far, he said. He was going to his restaurant and being Sunday, it was going to get busy during lunch hour. However ,he suggested he could drop me at the Kobarid-Italy border which was still 5-7 Kms further from his destination. I could't be any happier. I hopped in the car. My drenched luggage and myself made his clean luxurious car dirty and yet he didn't complaint. He was an Italian guy.

So here's the thing I've heard about Italians. They understand English but won't speak. They love their language way too much I suppose. Also, they're not too friendly people. But this guy seemed nice. He told me how he moved from Italy to Kobarid and set up his restaurant post retirement. In fact his restaurant was just next to Hisa Polanka.

Well, the border came up pretty soon. He suggested me to wait there at the cafe , have my coffee and look for people who are going to the Italia side. I went inside, had my coffee and as advised by this gentleman looked for people in the parking lot going to Italy side.

Soon I saw an elderly couple walking out of the cafe. I hesitantly asked if they are going to Cividale. The man couldn't speak in English but the woman could speak broken English. Again with gestures and some words I was able to tell them that I need to go there.

*My plan was to get a bus from Cividale to Udine train station and from there I could get a train for Venice. *

Thankfully the woman convinced her husband to drop me, yay. She was a very sophisticated lady in her 80s may be. As we spoke I got to know she has 2 daughters and 2 sons, all living in Italy. I told her I'm from India and then she tells me that her niece was in India last year. Infact she called her niece Mikela and made us talk. That's when I was able to communicate better. I told Mikela about my plan and she translated it to Italian for the couple.And guess what ?

I then understood that they're going to Udine as well. That was such a big relief. They decided to drop me at Udine instead of Cividale now, which saved me a bus journey and then I thought the day was finally getting better for me :)

In the next thirty minutes we reached Udine . I had given up hopes of reaching Venice today after that one hour wait in Kobarid , but who knew, Phew !!

*Never leave hope ,they say *

Udine Train Station

As I was unloading my luggage from the car, this lady got down specially to hug me. Kissing on my forehead she said ,

" I'm so proud of you for doing this trip . I've been born and stayed in Italia all my life. I never left the country as I have always been taking care of my husband ,then children and now grandchildren. Please live your dreams and do everything you want before life puts its burden of responsibilities on you."

And , I was left speechless. A stranger lady giving me this piece of advice was like a sign. I didn't know what to say. I handed her the "Leh flag " as a Thank you and took her leave.

*With the situations in Italy, I hope this lady was able to beat the pandemic and doing well.*

That's the amazing Italian lady !

It was almost 2 PM now. I got my ticket to Venezia (Venice) for some 20 Euros which was expensive but I had saved on my earlier trips , so I didn't mind.

I got in the train at 2.30 PM . It was all empty. I finally relaxed after all the rushing, waiting and uncertainties since morning. I made myself comfortable and started writing the diary with all the things about last two days as I did not get any time to write earlier.

By 4.30 PM I was at the Venezia's main train station. So I made it here from Kobarid in 4 hours, still couldn't believe it. Now the task was to get to the hostel, I was very tired by now. Getting out of the station , I checked maps and the hostel was 230m away.

WOW, This was like a reward for me.

I heaved a sigh of relief. I went to the hostel, it was Huge and nothing less than a luxurious hotel . My next two nights were in Venice. I went to my room , it was a mixed dorm of 6 people.

As I entered, I see a guy Matt on the bed in front of mine. He starts talking. For the first time, someone else initiated the conversation, lol.

Matt is here with his sister .They are very young 22-23 may be and from the USA. They were on a holy trip to Jerusalem and then came here just a while ago. Brianna comes back from shower and I tell them about my Hitch-Hike adventure today and they were shocked and that's when I ralise dthat I've oulled up a dangerous task today without understating the risk. We exchanged talks and these two left the room to check out the city.

Meanwhile , I took a good hot shower leaving behind all the tiredness of the day and got ready for my evening stroll. Honestly after Slovenia, I wasn't very happy to be here. I missed Aleks and Masa.

I got down to check the hostel and well, see for yourself !

This was a very big hostel. It had huge rooms and amazing interior and could accommodate 700 people at once. It was comparatively expensive , around 23 Euros per night ,but I was happy for the service they offered.

Their kitchen was too big and had so much variety of stuff to be cooked. I made my usual coffee and went out so I return before sunset. I was told Italy is not a very safe place.

The hostel lift mirrors were really cool !

I walked through the area around hostel but did not get a good vibe. Never until now, I felt this way in any country. I din't go too far and decided to have Italian food for dinner. I went to a cafe and there I see Matt and Brianna . We ordered variety of dishes .

Well, none of us liked the food. May be we had high hopes and so were disappointed.

We returned to the hostel and talked to other travellers . The common area in this hostel was super amazing. The travellers here were from various countries. We met another Matt from Australia and had a good time with him over wine.

We are talking and then Matt gets a bottle of wine from the hostel's restaurant and we celebrate for no reason.

It has been a long day for me. Tomorrow I've to see the actual "City of Canals". Matt and Brianna had booked a guide for themselves and will be leaving early morning. So we call it a night .

Learning from the day : Be kind , the world becomes better each time you’re kind to someone.

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