I am not a bus girl. I realized this a few hours ago when I began the seven-hour bus journey on which I’ve now found myself. But I am a poor girl on a six-week European holiday and that’s why I find myself on a bus typing this post.
How have I gone from flying first class on a lie flat bed on Swiss Airlines, drinking champagne while wearing comfy pajamas supplied from the carrier, to squatting over a stinky toilet at an Agip on the side of a highway in who knows where Italy?
Because the bus isn’t even half full, I’ve commandeered half of the back row so I can stretch out and have room for Lucy, whom I later learned wasn’t supposed to be on the bus. Then again, neither was I.
When I awakened I must say I found the scenery dazzling. Lush hills and every so often a medieval castle nestled amongst modern apartments that seemed as out of place as me on this bus.
How did I get on this bus anyway? Layne. My American friend whom I met in Firenze in December 2003. I still remember when we met at happy hour at Hotel Savoy, my favorite watering hole. She later invited me to her apartment on Christmas – a get together for the ex-pats — and we’ve been friends ever since. We both moved back to the States a while ago and we had dinner in Denver when I passed through following a trip to Aspen.
I’ve so admired her for following her dream. A lawyer by trade, she’s run her practice from Italy when possible and I hooked her up with some celebrity reporting when we both were trying to make a living while we chased our Italian dream. We had some fun times on the road and in Firenze back then. She can keep me laughing for hours. She’s been back and forth from Colorado to Italy for quite a while. Now she’s here for good having just landed a job as in-house counsel for Fendi. I couldn’t be prouder of, or happier for, her.
Though right now, unbeknownst to her, I am cursing her from several rows back on the bus. Truthfully, now that we’ve made the stop at Agip I’m better than I was when I started typing this. I didn’t know we would stop so I was happy to get out and tinkle for I was just wondering if I could make it four more hours without using the toilet.
Now that my bladder is empty, I’m feeling better. It was Layne’s bright idea to take the bus to Tropea, a seaside town of 7,000 that she suggested I consider when I told her a couple of months ago that I wanted to rent an apartment somewhere in Italy. We had talked about doing this years ago and never did. She brought it up again and told me to let her know where I decide to rent because she may want to join me.
So here are Layne and I, about to spend a week together in a town neither of us has been to. And which I had never even heard of. Although I get along just fine on my own, I’ll be happy to have her company as I settle into what will be my apartment for a month. And this comes at a perfect time for her because she begins her new job next week. We’ll celebrate her new gig, which I hope will light a fire under my butt.
Both of us are pinching pennies, which is why we opted to take the seven-hour bus rather than fly (flight schedules weren’t favorable and my 30 kg suitcase can drive up a ticket price something fierce), take the train (changing trains twice is no fun with a heavy suitcase and dog, plus there was an hour-plus layover at one tiny train station) or drive, which both of us were up for initially because we didn’t have to worry about the luggage thing but which could still be costly due to the drop charge, tolls and gas, which is more than $5 a gallon.
So we decided to leave the driving to others and take the bus. It’s almost 8 p.m. and the sun is dropoping. I’m going to enjoy the rest of the scenery while I can.
I’m not going to think about how my realtor Maurizio is going to get all of our luggage and us in his car when he picks us up from a neighboring town. He is going to earn his money tonight. I’ve rented a fourth-floor walk-up. Seemed like a good idea at the time, just like the bus.