Rome > Venezia > Klagenfurt > Graz
I boarded the train from Roma to Venezia in the afternoon. Unsure of the strictness of seat assignments, I found my seat, sat down and then wondered what to do for the next three hours on my journey.
Quickly, two older men sat in the booth with me. One asked if I spoke English, and he briefly asked about my travels. He wore a Manchester City shirt, and so (without mentioning Liverpool), I asked if he was from the UK. He explained that he and his friend, who sat beside me, were from Bahrain, just visiting and sight-seeing in Italy, but that his soon lived and studied in Manchester City for 3 years. Later I fell asleep for a bit then woke up to record a little of the ride, the countryside views of Roma are so beautiful. I began to write some of my previous entry with pen and paper. The man with the Manchester City shirt asked if I was recounting my memories made so far, and I answered, "yes". In doing so, he handed me an apple, as the two of them were eating their lunch, and he sweetly said, "Don't forget the man with the green apple." he laughed warmly and I thanked him for sharing, I mean, gelato can only fill you up so much.
We spoke more of Bahrain and how there's a large Filipino population there. I was surprised as I had never heard that before. He explained how he had many Filipinos employees at his engineering company, which he had named after his daughter. He hopes that when it comes time, she will take over the company. The train eventually came to Venezia Mestre (which I learned was called, "New Venice". And while the train was a bit behind schedule, I still managed to sneak a peak around. As I boarded my train to Klagenfurt, I realized it was actually incredibly behind schedule.
The next three hours were occupied by panic, concern and a dying phone. I recently read an article about a man who was incredibly smart and capable, but going into a foreign country and lacking the full knowledge of the language completely stripped him of all of that. Sitting on the delayed train on the way to a station where a bus would no longer be waiting for me had me scared and unsure. The wifi was not strong enough for me to use my laptop and the mobile would not translate. Even so, I recalled that I had booked the last bus Graz for the night. I had spoken to the conductor, and he instructed me to stay on the train one stop after Klagenfurt and catch the next bus to Graz. After speaking to him, I saw him standing on the platform as the train departed the station. I now had a new conductor and I lacked any kind of familiarity and panicked again.
At the same stop, I overheard a girl my age speaking in English. With 20 minutes before the station I was suppose to be getting off at, I ran over to her seat and asked for help. Her English was limited, but nonetheless incredibly helpful. She and her friend used their phones to help me finds connecting trains as time was running out. She ran to find the conductor and to ask him to call the bus station to hold the bus for me. The other girl said I might be able to make it to the bus as long as I ran. When the other girl returned, a woman accompanied her. She explained that it would be better for me to wait 7 more stops, and to catch a train in Buck an der Mur that connected to Graz. The woman that was with her was also traveling to Graz (and would be missing the same bus), and she offered to ensure that I got to Graz. I said thank you to both of them a million times over and followed the woman to her seat. She hardly spoke any English, but with kindness in her eyes, she continued to reassure me, "It's okay". I followed her to Graz antler we met her daughter who was there to pick her up. She nodded in wishing me the best, and I set off in the dark, rainy night to find my apartment.
In doing so, I definitely got lost twice, as the street signs were labeled different than they are back home. In the cold, Austrian rain, I was tired; I felt out of place; and at this point, I simply wanted to be in bed. Consulting my Google directions I had printed off, I finally managed to luckily wander myself to the crossroads that were on my map, and I found the apartment building where my Airbnb host was waiting. With that small and final victory, I fell asleep in Graz, Austria.