Nom de Plumage

October 1, 2012

Farewell Italy


A day that finally came and one that I am reluctant to face.

I have always had an affinity with all things Italian. I sometimes wonder if in a past life, I may have been Italian? My four weeks have been amazing and I have seen some of the great wonders of the ancient world, met the world’s greatest artists, eaten delicious food (not to mention all those gelato’s), marvelled at the great architecture and those who built them, witnessed the finesse and elegance of the people and met some truly wonderful people along the way. My travels have only just started, but damn, Italy will be so hard to beat.

Suzy and I farewelled each other early in the morning. It was not really a goodbye because we made plans to meet up again in December in Strasbourg. That was something to look forward to. I was left to pack my bag and then leave them at the hostel, while I explored a little more of the city.

The river was just holding out and although the threat was not completely over, it had abated somewhat. It was still a little frightening and something I did not want to face being caught in a flood. The rain had stopped and Italy shone beautifully. My only regret here in Vincenza, is that I did not get to see more of Andrea Palladio‘s buildings. Most of them where closed down for the season, but I did get the chance to see one of his finest.

Teatro Olympico is a masterpiece and one of the most beautiful theatre’s in the world. Small and very old, I sat upon a wooden bench, savouring the delicious smell of aged wood, with a strong fusion of mould. No photo’s allowed, unfortunately. It is a unique theatre and one that has stood the ravages of war, decay and centuries, to be still standing and in prime condition.



And then my camera died – AGAIN! That is officially number two.

I reluctantly left Vincenza at 5:30 pm, bound for Venice and my overnight train to Budapest. It would be a long wait at the train terminal for my 9:20 pm departure, but it gave me the chance for some much needed rest and catch up on my reading. After several hours waiting, I walked down the long platform to my waiting train and nearly dropped my bags in horror. I think they stopped making new trains after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 because this thing was old. But not to be deterred, I walked up to the conductor with my ticket and it was here that I could use for the first time, the language of my ancestors. Hungarian is the language spoken by my parents and it is one that I know relatively fluently. Although, English is my predominate language, spoken in all aspects of my life in Australia, Hungarian is what is spoken at home. So with pride, I converse with the conductor who recognises my Hungarian name, albeit Australian passport. The cabin I am conducted to, is small and with only two beds. I am to share it with a woman from Finland by the name of Tua. She is lovely and we talk for some time. Our train departs and it is not long after that we both prepare for some much needed sleep.

I would like to write that I slept like a dog, but the truth being told, I slept poorly. The train rattled and rolled the whole fourteen hours of travel. To combat matters, I suffer from motion sickness and it did not help the situation when I had to lay down in the dark and be constantly thrown about in my bed. Then came the fun part. At 3:30 am we were woken for a passport check, then at 4:00 am,  6:00 am and finally at 6:30 am. Through the former country of Yugoslavia,  the border checks were at Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and finally Hungry. I was not amused! Tired and pissed off, when we arrived at the third check, the woman guard stamped my passport and I thanked her in Italian. What the……? I understood enough of her comment to her partner, that I have an Australian passport, Hungarian name but spoke in Italian. Even I laughed at how habits die slowly. With our last check over, we got back to sleep for a few hours, only to be waken for the last time for breakfast.

To try and freshen myself up, I attempted to use the tap at the little basin and when I turned it on,a greasy something spewed out. Thankfully, Tua bought bottled water and I was saved from that hell. The remaining hours passed along the mighty Balaton Lake- the biggest inland lake that went on and on. We arrived in the capital right on time at 10:59 am (not bad for the old-timer) and Tua and I departed accidentally. I got side-tracked with a persistent taxi driver and before I knew it, Tua was gone. The driver and I argued a fee and with the agreed sum finalised, he drove me to my hostel. It was an interesting few minutes because he was most happy to impart historical information of his most beloved city. It did fill me with pride listening to him speak and seeing the beautiful Budapest for the first time. I was dropped off nearby and was left to walk the short distance to my hostel. A little hard to find because it is in an apartment block and not well advertised, but thankfully a local saw my confused look and directed me.

I arrived tired and in desperate need of a shower.

My host and part-owner of the hostel, Heidi, greets me and shows me to a huge room that I have all to myself. I shower, have some lunch and spend the rest of the day resting and talking to Heidi who is fascinated with my Hungarian accent and my life in Australia. A great start to my three day sojourn of my ancestors.


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