It is a grand adventure, coming to Europe for the first time. Long awaited, I marvel that the trees, countryside and people look much the same–was I expecting Oz and orange poppies? Or people with Spock’s pointed ears, perhaps? I probably have “naive American” painted all over my face (it occurs to me that only 1 letter separates “naive” from “native”, after all).
Words to the wise (from those deep in the learning curve):
There are definitely people looking to separate you from your money–but there are more than enough people on the other end of the spectrum who will go far out of their way to lend a helpful hand.
Case in point: We took the train into downtown Milano from the hotel via the airport–a mile or two from our hotel… People were very helpful getting us onto the right train,thank goodness. As we headed towards the Duomo (huge cathedral plaza), we were approached (accosted?) by two men dressed in ancient Roman style, faces painted, in obvious pageantry, offering to have their pictures taken with us. There didn’t seem to be anyone else with them taking the photos to “sell”, so we thought, “what’s the harm?”. Quite to the contrary, as we tried to leave, they demanded 20 Euros each from us. “Oh no, fellas, we’re not that stupido”, and away we went, grumbling at our own gullibility, decidedly more savvy and alert (never trust a man in a toga with his face painted gold!).
We sauntered the streets, on the look-out for resale shops for SnaZZy’s next Open House, (Oct. 15), gawking and admiring the sights and albeauties sly people. At last! We found a terrific resale shop. In my element, I had to try on a few things to make sure they were just right for my customers back home (you can thank me later).
Victoria, a beautiful young Italian woman working there, was so very helpful–carrying my extensive bounty between the show rooms to the dressing room to the cash register, etc. After an hour or so, having worked up an appetite, we left, following directions from the ever-so-helpful woman behind the counter (from San Francisco), to one of the many happy-hour bars which offer free buffets to fill your stomachs while the atmosphere feeds the spirit!
Admittedly, our initiative is sometimes better than our understanding, so we followed her directions as best we could, winding through streets which seemed more like pathways, nearly missed by daredevil drivers, unconcerned with the likes of us, when the beautiful Victoria came running to find us, carrying a purple purse, I’d found, handing it to me as she explained that it had been overlooked and that it was a present to me for being such a good customer!
2nd case in point: on the way back to the hotel, we realized just how far we had wandered and opted to take the subway to the train station to the airport to the bus to the hotel (an example of our dedication). We failed to factor that the train might stop running at that time of night. Asking. an approachable looking man, he took us in hand, having us follow him to the last train running that night!
On his way to visit his ill father, he changed his plans to make sure we found our way. His halting English was better than our feeble Italian but somehow we made a heartfelt contact with Victore, and hope he fairs well and is rewarded for his kindness.
You will LOVE the clothes I found as much as they said they L O V E D us for buying so much!