Thursday, January 8, 2009

God is good all the time and all the time God is good

1210 local time

i arrived in padova, italy, on saturday night. thomas and i walked to his dorm and eventually went to sleep. we got up the next morning, sunday, and headed to venice. venice was a very pretty city. we took the bus down the grand canal...their buses are boats...and got off at st. marks square. we went a little farther on foot and saw the arsenal where thomas has come for research. then, we walked toward st. marks square where we toured the doges palace, which is HUGE, but to be expected. afterward, we sat on some steps along the grand canal, facing the sea, and ate the lunch thomas had packed for us...tasty, fun, and economical! ;) afterward, we went into st. marks basilica, which was also very nice. from there, we continued to wander the city and saw some interesting things, such as part of the location for the chase scene in "indiana jones and the last crusade" and a collection of some very beautiful, old violins (and other instruments in that family). thomas was pretty excited, and i was, too, just not as much as he was, ha. we eventually returned to padova and thomas's friend, frederico, picked us up and took us to a pub where we had wine and spritzis (i think?...its an italian drink with aperol, whatever that is, and prosecco...) and discussed things like culture and politics. very fun. :)

monday, we got up and went to verona for another day trip. verona is an enchanting city about an hour west of padova, and the setting for "romeo & juliet". we went around the city, mostly taking in the sights and trying to stay warm...we saw juliets house (spoiler alert! balcony added for tourists), il duomo, and many awesome views from the grounds surrounding a hillside castle. then, we walked along the river, just hanging out and noticing the architecture (when i wasnt watching the ground to make sure of my footing). also, we spent a bit of time in the entryway of st. anastasias because i wanted to hear the organ was beautiful!! at 330, we met up with joel rinn, a missionary who thomas's church in little rock supports, to go to his home for dinner; on the way, we went by the building he has recently been able to rent for worship services--cool! dinner at the rinn's was SO much fun and such a blessing!! joel and jessica have four children, nico, emi, anna, and eti, and they seem to have a great time with life :) we had coffee, then the other guys (andre and manuele) went home. for dinner, we had margaritas to start and then risotto and wine. dessert was a traditional cake from the area, i think, and thomas was eventually coaxed (berated?) into playing the violin and we shared a digestiv of grappa, a local delicasy, before joel had to take us back to the train station. we got home and i. was. exhausted! but it was fun monday...

tuesday was a lot more low-key. thomas and i meandered through padova. we saw st. anthonys relics, though kind of from afar because they were closed off at that point (you could still see them up close, however), and his tomb. that was a very beautiful cathedral. we also went by galileos tower and observatory--SO COOL! we saw the old part of the university and went through a park. for lunch, we ate at a really nice restaurant. thomas had a pizza, which i tried--delicious!--and i had a trip of ricotti ends stuffed with a spinach, butter, and basil cream. amazing! we also had a really nice red wine that didnt go with my meal because i dont really like white wines ;) after all of this, we took a 40 minute bus ride to vicenza, to go to the px so i could buy some things. we also went to the library to use the computers since thomas's internet quit on monday. the weather was a lot warmer on tuesday than the previous two days, as northern italy has been having an uncharacteristically cold winter...seems i have a knack for finding those! we eventually got home and i got all of my stuff ready so that this morning would go smoothly...

this morning went mostly well. i ate oatmeal and we were at the bus stop at 740, in the hopes that we could get right on a bus, go to the uni and use the computers, and get me to the train on time. well, not surprisingly, we didnt get to get on a bus until right at 8, so we had to forego the uni and get to the station. thomas said he would facebook weilun for me to see if i have somewhere to stay tonight (remember that internet problem) since i couldnt get on facebook on base, neither could i reach him on monday, as planned. so, this train was supposed to get to basel at 330ish and then i would get a connection to frankfurt and kaiserslautern. operative words: supposed to. we were about 70 minutes delayed because of a blizzard in milan. everything we have passed has around a foot of snow...i wonder if the snow got to padova. we have made up some time and are only 55 minutes late, as of now, so i suppose we will see. i still need to get into contact with weilun, but i guess that will have to wait. all i can do is pray (literally) that he says i can stay, and that getting through the alps in this goes smoothly. oh, how i wish our train engineer were german so that he would have more experience with this weather!

things of note:

~il pannettone is an italian Christmas cake. its kind of like fruitcake but tastier. yum!
~tiramisu. this is evidently scarce at night. but we eventually found some and it was also tasty!
~there was a holiday for the magi getting to the baby Jesus. they evidently also have witch-burning bonfires on this day...strange.
~the man at the train station was extraordinarily rude when we tried to make a reservation for the train...he threw us out of line because we 'werent listening'. this was more frustrating because the next guy, who didnt speak english, either, was like 'oh, no problem' and helped us in about 30 seconds. ridiculous. but i found out that, when i get stressed out in foreign countries, i speak german. that one guy was enough to pretty much make me dislike italy. most of the other people were really really nice, but wow, what a meanie! grr...
~italy, take it or leave it? leave it!
~God waits until i am EXTREMELY desperate. he sent francesco when i needed help, but not until i was already on the train in help-needing mode. he sent weilun when i was only an hour from my goal and was past help-needing mode...
~there is a roman arena in verona. what a sight! so cool :)
~snow-covered italy makes for a beautiful train ride!

ciao from yet another train :)

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