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Blurred memories Memoirs of a lost and bewildered Australian chick through Europe.

I wanna be a Wallaby

ITALY | Friday, 6 March 2009 | Views [644] | Comments [1]

The train ride to Padova was long and frustrating. We were sitting directly across from a small child who seemed to seriously believe that 2 hours of continuous kicking, leg swinging and whinging were the best way to enjoy such a journey. I was very glad when we finally arrived in Padova. Padova is a busy town with lots of traffic and people, but strangely lacking in good cafes close to the train station. After another valiant attempt at bad Italian we managed to get our ongoing train tickets to Rome and a halfway decent lunch at a busy café we eventually found on the main drag, we made our way, with a few hiccups and loss of direction to our hostel. The hostel, which seemed to be a fusion between backpackers, boarding school and mental asylum, would only let us leave our bags there and not check in for an hour or so (what sort of hostel has a lockout time from 10am till 4pm? Bloody ridiculous!) In the intervening time we had a sprawl on the grass of a particularly nice town square.


When the time came, we made our way back to the hostel to check in and join the group. My dreams of hordes of rugby mad Aussie blokes were mildly dashed when about 80% of the group seemed to be chicks. Come on boys! Where were you? Nice girls though, but not what I was hoping.  We had a night out of “getting to know you” type drinks and pizza at an Irish/Scottish bar in town- but couldn’t stay out very late because there was a midnight curfew at the hostel (again, what sort of bullshit hostel is this?!).


The next morning we were supposed to have an optional guided trip to Venice. We had to meet at 730am in the reception area of the hostel and those who wanted to go would leave from there and meet everyone else at the rugby. Guess how many people braved the early morning. One, me! Not even the bloody useless tour guide turned up. So I was sat there for about half an hour until one of the guys wandered out and asked me why I was still waiting.   My “mildly annoyed” response which was something like “where the hell is that useless dickhead who is supposed to be running things?” prompted him to go and find our tour guide’s room, make a lot of ‘accidental’ noise, and pass on the message that there is one quite irate person waiting in the reception wanting to know where her tour guide is. The man in question wandered out a little while later and said “I didn’t expect anyone to get up; I can give you a map if you like”. I politely refused this ‘kind’ offer, told him that I was mildly annoyed, and said that it was too late now to even bother going by myself- thank you very much. He went back to bed. To say that I was mildly pissed off was an understatement. Yes, I know it wasn’t his job per se to baby-sit us. But if you get told to be in the reception at 730am if you want to go to Venice and I will give you a tour which will get us back in time for the rugby I expect said tour guide to bloody get out of bed!!!! I am not a morning person at all but I had gotten out of bed in time and I bloody well expected him to have the decency to do the same! Yes, I was the only person who got out, but I might not have been, for all that useless idiot knew there could have been 20 people waiting for him wondering what the hell was going on! My opinion of Fanatics after this was not very high.


So instead of my planned trip to Venice that morning I had to make do with a wander around the streets of Padova. It is a pretty town, and if my mood had not been so seething mad and tired I may have enjoyed it more. A good, and cheap, cup of coffee did placate my mood slightly, and we ended up having lunch at the same place as we had the day before. 


We met the group at the train station, and caught a bus out to the stadium for the game. I would like to say at this time, Italian sports fans are absolutely mental. Outside the ground they were wonderful, welcoming, funny and helpful. Inside the ground they were bastards. Let me explain.


We arrived as quite a large group, all in our fanatics and wallabies gear. We stood out from the rest of the crowd, a lot. In the time before the game we were interviewed by Italian television, Italian radio, and seemed to have our photo taken with every Italian in the place. It started off with a guy approaching us with his young son who looked about 8. He asked us if a few of us would mind having our photo taken with his little boy as the kid loved Australia, was his dream to travel there, and it would absolutely make his day having his photo taken with a bunch of very obvious Aussies. We of course obliged, and this followed on to having our photo taken with half of Italy. I would be very surprised if I am not all over Facebook, we would have had our photo taken hundreds of times. And the Italians were all absolutely lovely, cheerful, sporting, appreciative and kind. And then we entered the stadium…


I don’t know what it is, perhaps they think “what happens inside the stadium stays inside the stadium” but they were a really brutal crowd. Granted, it wasn’t the best game I have ever seen, but as a crowd they were really quite mean. They heckled and booed when the Aussie had a penalty or free kick of any sort, they cheered dodgy tackles, abused the umpire for any decision that went against Italy, it really was quick shocking for me. I definitely felt like the foreigner seeing as there was about 20000 Italians, and only about 100 Aussies. We ended up winning for the record, but it was a close game, and as soon as we walked outside the stadium all of the Italian crowd were back to their kind, cheerful selves. I really do think that sport brings out the worst in them.


After this it was another night out at the pub. We left at about 1130ish in order to be back in time for the curfew. Our useless/fearless leader apparently came back right before curfew in order to “let those people in who didn’t make it back in time, you know, that way they know it’s ok if they are late” out of the goodness of his heart. From what I heard later, he got back to the hostel, went to bed, fell straight asleep, and it was very lucky that a few people didn’t trust him and came back just early enough and managed to bash on the door until a grumpy hostel worker let them in. From what I heard if they would have been much later they would have been sleeping on the doorstep!  And all thanks to our guide saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll wait and let you in”. Yeah right!


Tomorrow we make our way to Rome…and hopefully some more gelato!

Tags: italy



That guy really was hopeless. I hope The Fanatics never use him again as a guide.

  Emma Apr 29, 2009 11:35 PM

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