I’m writing you from a train rolling through the countryside in Northern Italy. I’ve just spent the last two days in Rome, and found myself sad when leaving the historic city this morning. It felt like you were getting an in-person history lesson each time you walked out of a door or turned a corner. I even noted to my lady this morning that while people were gawking at the usual tourist sites, all you had to do was turn around and there was a lesser-known artifact staring right at you. It was absolutely surreal to be in that city. I don’t know that my senses enjoyed so much stimulation and jubilation since I was last in New Orleans. There’s just something about it that makes me automatically want to return. The sites, much like every other tourist, are up on my Instagram; so, feel free to pop on over to take a gander at them.

This afternoon presented a different challenge and adventure of sorts. My lady, her son, and I were returning to Bologna from Rome to retrieve my rental car and then move over to Venice -probably my last big European trip while living here- for a night. We were expecting that the train would arrive at our destination approximately 5-7 minutes late; so, I went ahead and tried to take a little nap before we got off. Well, when we got off the train, it dawned on me that I’d left my hat on the train. Now… listen… it’s not that this hat is special to me. I’ve actually got a hat exactly like it (my Observer Coach Trainer hat from when I was a member of the Vampire Field Artillery Team) with my call sign (Vampire 11D) embroidered on the back. That hat has become my display hat, but if I’m honest, I have to say that I still enjoy wearing the hat. Now, it’s not something that I would normally go out of my way to retrieve, but if there’s a reasonable chance to get my hat…. why not?

As it turns out on this very afternoon, there was NOT a reasonable amount of time to retrieve my hat. So, while my girlfriend and her son stood on the platform of the Bologna Centrale train station, the doors to the train shut -as they do one minute before departure. I’ve used transit in Paris, as well as Bavaria, and I can tell you that there’s usually still the opportunity to jump off of the train. This is not the case on the bullet train. While her son pressed the button on the outside, I pushed it repeatedly on the inside, and then the train began moving. It felt like any other old movie with trains, but for some reason, Young Frankenstein came to mind. The train started moving, and I was helplessly along for the ride.

Luckily, the train conductor had a good sense of humor about it. In his best English, he told me, “Next time maybe you be more faster.” My lady had the keys to the car; so, they weren’t stranded in Bologna waiting for me to make some grande return. This gave me solace and I was able to laugh it off. So, off to Milan I zoomed on the bullet train, ears popping each time we entered and exited the tunnels, and she and her son took the car to Venice to get us checked in to our next hotel.

This is where I join you on this beautiful, Italian Sunday afternoon, about an hour and a half from arriving in Venezia Santa Lucia. The trip from Milan to Venice -thus far- has appeared much more industrial than our foray through Florance and Tuscany as we moved from Rome to Bologna, but the countryside is beautiful, nonetheless. It’s good to have a sense of humor in these instances. It’s not necessarily in my nature to be so calm when things go wrong, but for some reason -perhaps it’s my lady’s influence, or it could just be how beautiful I find Italy and how drawn I am to it- I find myself joyfully sitting back and enjoying this unexpected little detour.

No, I didn’t get a chance to explore Milan in the process… there wasn’t that much time between getting off and jumping back on the train to head in the right the direction. But I found humor in the process, and managed to sit back with a beer and a small bottle of wine to enjoy the detour.

I hope everyone else has a fantastic weekend, and if there’s one thing I’m learning -finally…. in my 37th year of life- it’s that you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.


As a side note, the young gentlemen sitting catty-corner to me -social distancing rules in effect in Italy, of course- is actually reading and making annotations in the Italian newspaper he is reading. I find his behavior quite interesting. I couldn’t understand his conversation on our departure from the train station, but if he isn’t already making his way in the world, I’d guess by first appearances that he is going to make something of himself in the future.

I do make a second note that he and the young Italian lady sitting on my left -catty-corner, as well, but across the aisle- continue to make eye contact and smiling. I don’t think that they know each other, based on the fact that they got on the train at separate times, but I can’t help but noticing that even young attraction has its place in this world.


Published by Shaun M. Wilkinson

Poet. Author.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: