Mia Mia in Italia

July 26, 2006|Posted in: Uncategorized

Here’s the next chapter from Mia:

yep, i am here. FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mom, i can’t even begin to tell you what a nightmare i have been having since i left Natasha. i got on a trade to belgrade on monday night at 5pm. my overnight train was supposed to leave at 10pm and it didn’t get to belgrade until 1AM! natasha had left me at 11 on the last train back to novi sad (luckily she came with me because i ended up having 7 hours to kill and belgrade was really dodgy) so i was just sitting there in this scary train station with loads of gypsies and bums. after i had been there a bit, the guy next to me started talking to me and turns out he is from davis and so then i had a buddy and a GUY so i felt better. (how disappointing is that!)

anyway, we FINALLY got on the stupid train and tried to sleep as best as we could but as we passed out of serbia, into croatia, out of croatia, into slovania we got woken up about every hour or so to show tickets or passport, answer questions, anything to declare?! ack! but i got into ljubianja (the guy got off in croatia) at about 12 (4 hours LATE) and missed my connecting train to venice. i was supposed to have got into slovania at 8, get on a train to venice at 10. enjoy the day there and then take another train down to rome to check into my hostel tues. night. but instead, the next train i could take was at 430. so i had HOURS to kill in ljubianja. which, as it turned out, was actually a really quaint, beautiful town and so it wasn’t bad.

There was another girl who had the same problem so we ended up hanging out. and she was serbian so it reminded me of Natasha and i liked that. anyway though, we get back and have to pay for reservations for this train (which was essentially empty when we boarded. i am talking FULL empty cars. and we had paid for reservations on top of our inter rails) also: they really fucked up this girl jelena’s connecting train in venice (she was making her way to paris) and had her traveling through switzerland after she had told them that she had a serbian passport and could only go certain places. so there was a bit of time where she was freaking out about how much trouble she could get in. so then we FINALLY got on that train and got to venice at like 830PM.

there was no train i could take to rome before 12am and there also wouldn’t be any public transport that i could take to my hostel in rome because it’s in the fucking BOONIES (not in the center of rome… like a metro ride to the end of the line, then another train-tram thing and then a shuttle. it’s some bollockey camping village or something. so i had to camp out in venice for a bit (but there wasn’t anywhere to leave my bags so jelena and i went in shifts. like 20 min each to go out and walk around the train part a bit. it was lovely and make me really pissed that my day was all screwed and i didn’t see any of venice at all. when my rome train finally came (i am not even kidding, every train has been awful) and i managed to find a seat.

it was just ridiculously hot and i had been wearing the same clothes for 3 days straight, including sleeping in them. (if u can call it sleeping) and i think i got to brush my teeth once? i was so minging it just really wasn’t even laughable anymore. i had been laughing for the first part of all this and then it really got old. so i got into rome about 7am this morning and it basically took me an hour to sort out the transport and lug my bags to the hostel. they were pretty cool about me not showing up last night (that probably means that they are going to charge me for the room anyway) but they are so lax they don’t even know who is in what room. i had to schlep ALL my shit back and forth to rooms to check if there was a bed, then to reception to tell them there wasn’t. then out again. i finally got into this room and at 11 euro a night, i can’t REALLY complain but oh my god. it looks like a jail cell and i have to trek out to the boonies to the showers (which i did RIGHT away).

so now i am in here, paying a million dollars to check my email and let you know that i am alive. they CAN charge ridiculous amounts because we are stranded outside of the city! ahhhhh!!! well the shuttle back into the city center takes a break between 12-4 and i am still trying to decide if i should change and get on the last train before the break. i hate to throw this day away but god i am just so exhausted. i can’t imagine trying to work up the enthusiasm to see sights. my whole body hurts from lugging all my stuff around and the MOSQUITOS IN THIS PLACE ARE A NIGHTMARE. in venice i discovered this massive bite on my leg. it itched and hurt and grew to be about the size of… i don’t even know, like 5 inches across though! it was taking over my leg in the middle of all this train maddness and i was seriously like my leg is going to fall off or i am going to dye from some awful mutant bug bite and i am absolutely never going to get to rome. or home. or anywhere. just my death, here with a backpack strapped to my back and smelling like european trains and sweat in the middle of a train station.

sigh. i don’t know what else to say. i think i will probably just take the day to relax. do some laundry, SLEEP. apparently there is a pool somewhere in this lone village. and a market so i can eat. yep, i think that’s the plan and i will just start early tomorrow because i am a mess right now. i really really can’t wait to come home. 5weeks of hardcore traveling and wearing the same clothes etc. good lord, i just want to die right now. the funniest thing is that i am feeling a little more humorous about it now that i am here but last night i was about to call you and say sell something because i want to come home NOW. i guess the next 6 days or so will fly by and i will be home to be coddled soon enough. i am so glad to hear about the house. i hope mr. pat is okay. you guys should SEE all the shit natasha got you. oh lord. you are all very very spoiled. and me too. except i am earning it all by schlepping it first around europe.

okay i have to go because this place is really expensive. i don’t know if i will be able to check again here but hopefully things go okay and i will get to florence on saturday and it might be cheaper. i am hoping florence will be quiet and relaxing and like the italian lifestyle i have been dreaming about. (it is much like the paris life we led!!) lots of cafes and shopping. and that hostel is a small quiet one right in the center of town. i am looking forward to that.

okay back is really dying now. i know how u feel PAT!!!!

i looooooooooove everyone and will see you SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

love
the traveler
the train rider
the CLEAN (about time)
mia

And from Natasha:

Dear Julia,

We had a great time. We were shopping, hanging out in cafes, walking around the town. She liked the fortress. We were listening the music, laughing, eating, watching photos, movies (and also “Only fools & horses” show), talking a lot about you. You must been have many hiccups these few days! 😉 I also showed her the box with all your letters & photos, so she wanted and read them all. I hope that is OK with you or that you won’t be angry at me because of that.

Yesterday night we said “so long” with tears to each other at the Belgrade train station. We hope she safely left Serbia & arrived in Italy. Just let me know, OK?

I’ll be definitely writing you more about Mia in the next e-mails. I just want to thank you again that you matched us. She is like me during her age! I felt like I found my younger sister. We have so many similar things to talk & laugh about. I enjoyed SOOO MUCH her company. (I hope I didn’t bother her too much with my bad speaking English!) Just when it started to be the most interesting, she had to leave. I hope this friendship won’t stop. And I also hope that we won’t have to wait more 15 years to pass to meet you! 😉

How was the moving going? Is Patrick feeling better now? How does your job? May I expect the new RHR with my story?

Have a great time whatever you do. Keep in touch. Write as soon as you can, my friend.

Many, many, many, many, many (etc.) greetings for all of you from boiling Novi Sad
Zoran & Natasha

P.S. I hope you will like any of the gifts we sent you with Mia. Her bag is full of gifts from Novi Sad! 😉

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of six books: three novels, one poetry collection, and two women's history. She was the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California, in 2014-17. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. She has a BA in journalism from San Francisco State University, and MA in Early 20th C. British Literature from Cal State Hayward. Julia's articles have appeared on Salon, Thrillist, Paste, Scary Mommy, Narratively, Yahoo News, Your Tango, and Sweatpants & Coffee. Her articles have also run in Redbook, Woman's Day, Country Living, House Beautiful, Town & Country, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Magazine, Quill, and MadeLocal. She was the founding editor of weekly Alameda Sun and literary zine Red Hills Review. Her poetry has been in The East Bay Literary review, Postcard Poems, Americus Review, Cicada, Tiferet Review, and many others. Julia has been recognized several times by the San Francisco, East Bay and Peninsula Press Clubs as well as the California Newspaper Association for her blogging since 2003.

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