I remembered my handheld compass was stowed in my backpack. It’s a small orienteering style compass that I take on trips to cities I’ve never been in before. I dug it out of the backpack and held it in my left hand, the darkness causing me to strain to see its indicator. The red north needle pointed to my right. I was riding reverse in the train car facing the rear of the train which meant the train was traveling due east. That was a good thing since Riccione lies east of
It began to rain. The rain pelted the outside of the car in a steady rhythm. The floor of the car was growing damp. The wind had picked up appreciably and was rocking the sides of the train car as it rattled down the tracks at 60 miles per hour. The wind had grown even colder, cold enough to force BEG and I into a differnt car where the window was just as broken, but broken in the closed position at least, little more than a ½ inch crack showing at the top. An English speaking train ticket attendant came down the corridor peering into the individual cars. When he discovered us he entered and took a look at our ticket. He told us the train would not be stopping in Riccione this late at night. He told us to get off in
I was grateful to know that we were at least going in the correct direction. I smiled at BEG knowing we were moving ever closer to being able to sleep and rest with a roof over our heads. The train rolled to a stop at the brightly lit
The bus driver started the bus forward as soon as we were seated. It was a large city bus with two patrons and a clearly agitated driver, headed for Riccione. I smiled. A bed was waiting. My watch read 2:17 am.
My smile underwent a reversal as the bus rolled along
The somberness and quietness of the bus returned. I spotted a small poorly lit sign out the window. It read ‘Riccione’. I smiled. We had made it. Finally. It was a testament to resolve, persistence and a degree of stubbornness. We were in Riccione. It was now 38.5 hours and counting since I had slept, but I smiled any damn way. We would get to the Riccione bus station, go inside to its warmth, and call a cab.
The bus pulled alongside and stopped at a dark building. We sat patiently. The bus driver turned and stared. He opened the doors. He stared us again. Finally he tried his Italian on us and I made out the phrase ‘Riccione bus station’. He was telling us we were as far as he was going. He waved his arms aggressively. We stepped off the bus into the rain and wind. The bus station was dark. It was closed. There were no overhangs to stand underneath. Before I could turn back to the bus and re-board hoping to make a different arrangement he had quickly shut the doors. I looked inside the bus door at a man that clearly was headed home and felt no remorse about our predicament. He studiously avoided eye contact. He drove away. We were in Riccione, but as I looked up and down the streets there were no signs of life. No humans. No open businesses. The hotel signs were lighted, but the interiors were dark. I looked for a phone in order to call a cab. I would learn later that public ‘street side’ phones in Riccione are a rarity. There were none in sight, not even at the closed bus station. BEG remembered there had been an open bar back down the road toward