For anyone that’s been following along, you know by now that public transportation and I are not the best of friends. I have a nasty habit missing (or taking the wrong) busses and trains. And let’s not forget planes. I’ve missed a couple of those too.
Needless to say, I’ve tried to be a little better at keeping track of my schedule because, on top of being late and mixing up days, I also am very good at getting lost. This, of course, leads to missing more things… it’s a tricky circle and trust me when I say, it’s a really bad (and expensive) habit.
So when I was in Ljubljana, Slovenia, staying at a hostel an solid 25 minute walk from the train and bus station, you can bet I left early to catch my bus to Venice.
Or at least I thought I did. Until I got distracted by how pretty the castle looked in the early morning and stopped to take pictures. And then figured I would probably want a snack and a drink for my upcoming trip, so joined the line to grab something at the little café. But of course the clock kept ticking and next thing I knew…my bus would be leaving in fifteen minutes and I still wasn’t at the station.
So I ran, or at least as close as I could get to running with my camera and backpack slung over my shoulder and my wheeled backpack bouncing along the sidewalk beside me. And as I ran, I got warm. Really warm. I felt like I was baking in my raincoat so I struggled to pull it off. And soon after that I yanked off my sweater too, leaving me in just a t-shirt as I finally arrived at the main station. I felt so much better with the cool air rushing over my clammy skin so I decided to just stick with the t-shirt. Tying my coat to my bag and looping my sweater over my arm, I took my place beside two elderly Slovenian women and waited for the busses to arrive.
I felt the women staring at me as I stood beside them. Getting more and more uncomfortable I finally glanced their way, into eyes wide with shock. To be honest, it really wasn’t that warm out, maybe about 12 or 13 degrees Celsius. But for a girl who had recently escaped the Polar Vortex that was taking over Canada, and had just run to the station, it was warm enough to just be in a t-shirt. At least for a little bit.
But, the way those two old women looked at me, you would have thought I was only wearing a t-shirt in the middle of a blizzard. Neither one spoke a word of English, but as soon as I made eye contact both were on me in two seconds flat; babbling away in Slovenian, complete with arm gestures, miming that it was too cold for me to be without a coat or sweater. One rubbed her hands up and down my arms while the other tugged my sweater out of my arm to wrap it around me.
‘No, no, it’s okay.” I tried to explain, “I’m Canadian.” As if explaining that I was from a country notorious for its cold winters would help.
It didn’t. And these two elderly Slovenian women, bundled in their own coats and scarves, continued to wrestle with me until my sweater was back on. Smiling and rubbing my shoulders the entire time. Eventually I just gave up. As hot as I was, it was just way too cute that these little old women cared so much about a complete stranger, and a foreigner to boot.
Pleased with their work they positioned themselves beside me, as in one on either side, as if they were afraid I would take it off again.
I didn’t, at least not then.
A few minutes later my bus pulled up and I smiled and waved goodbye to the women. But it wasn’t until we pulled away that I figured I was safe to go back to just my t-shirt. Just in case.