The one thing I've learned from travel is to go with the flow. Things won't always turn out as planned and wherever I am to be in the moment and enjoy. Such is the story I have for you. A few days back I decided to venture out to a village called Bagnoregio. As you can see from the picture it is a small town high up on a hill in Tuscany. The entire village was built by the Etruscans on land created from volcanic ash. Not knowing that someday the wind and the rain would erode this entire area they built a lovely city high up on the hill and into the walls of the mountain. Today most of the city has crumbled, leaving only the center buildings and eight inhabitants along with a few restaurants and stores. Those that have chosen to stay have a place of peace. Cars can't come into the city since the road is now a foot bridge. All around the hill is a lush green valley of vines, and olive trees that lead to the surrounding mountains.
It was only supposed to take one hour by bus to get to Bagnoregio. This was my first journey on the bus from Soriano and I thought I could buy a ticket at the station. Wrong. Instead, a man told me in English that I would have to climb the 124 steps back up to the center and buy a ticket from the convenience store, and that I wouldn't have time before the bus left. The driver taking pity on me, or possibly liking my blue eyes, let me on the bus as a gift.
I arrived in Viterbo for the transfer only to find that the next two buses had been canceled. With an hour and a half wait I had no idea what to do with myself. The area around the bus station was ugly and industrial, but I didn't have enough time to walk to the medieval center. So I found a grocery store, and a patch of grass with flowers. I sat in the middle of the tiny lawn and didn't look at the ugliness around me as I enjoyed strawberries, Nutella, and cheese with bread.
My picnic done, I went back to the bus station and asked which platform to Bagn....Bagn...what the heck city was I going to? The bus drivers standing around assumed I wanted Bagnaia and they whistled to the bus leaving to stop. I ran after it, my shirt falling below my lace bra. I stepped onto the bus only to realize it wasn't what I wanted, jumped off and laughed at myself along with everyone else at the station. I found the right platform and met three Americans who live about an hour from me. They were headed to Bagnoregia, their daughter had been there before, and for the rest of the day she guided us. Karen, John, and Meleesa were the nicest people and we have made tentative plans to do some wine tasting when we all return to the states. So two buses canceled brought me friendship.
At the end of the day, we were a little late for our bus ( we didn't realize how long the walk from the town on the hill was to the one still standing strong). I ran ahead with plans to hold the bus for my new friends. Just as they arrived a bus went flying down the road and we thought we had missed our ride. I was more than worried since it was the last bus of the day and even if we got a cab back to Viterbo I would have no way to get to Soriano. Karen offered me a room in her daughter's apartment and I figured I would be where I would be. Then we saw another bus, one going where we needed. I ran after it waving my arms for it to stop. Once again my shirt dropped to show off my bra (this really wasn't a seductive shirt - it just wasn't meant for running). Then I saw the bus turn and I realized it was coming back to the bus stop where we had been standing. The driver laughed as I got on the bus and all I could do was laugh with him. All in all a great day.
But the story goes on. A day later I was again planning to take public transportation to a town called Orvieto. I had it down this time, with all my trains and buses checked out beforehand. Two other people from the hotel were at the station and as we spoke a bus pulled up on time. We boarded and continued our conversation. It wasn't until a half hour later that I began to wonder where we were (maybe I should stop talking so much....nah). Turns out, we were on the long road to Rome. No one on the bus spoke English and they all tried to explain what we should do. I found out that the next bus back to the train station would be over two hours later.
Then an angel appeared in the form of a doctor from the U.K. who got on the bus. He spoke fluent English and Italian. He told me my best bet would be to go to Rome. I didn't have a bus ticket to get there and there was nowhere to buy one, so he negotiated with the driver to let me on the bus. At the first stop the man from the U.K. brought me to a store to buy my ticket while the driver waited. In Rome he led us to the train we needed and then went on his own way. So instead of Orvieto I was in Rome. What a problem to have. I hadn't planned on returning to Rome on this trip, but I spent the day in the Pantheon, roaming the streets, and seeing sites I hadn't seen before. I had beautiful Roman men handing me their numbers as I shied away. Yep, not too bad when you add in yummy gelato, cannelloni, and beautiful sunshine.