There are few things less sacred in this 21st century of traveling than an open computer at a hostel. To interfere with the lineup for such a commodity is breaking a traveler’s cardinal rule. But in this tale, it opened a door to love.
I came to Italy led by an inner calling for love. Not to sound kooky, but I’d recently gone through some trauma and through the therapy felt drawn to Italy. It took me two years to do it, as I’d never been to Europe, let alone traveled solo before.
The 16 days I’d spent exploring ancient ruins, eating the hell out of pasta and meeting new friends were unforgettable. But no roads led to love. My last few days of this journey were to be in Venice. Now writing this, it seems like maybe this was purposeful – Venice being known as one of the world’s most romantic places. But for me, it was just how the itinerary worked – making my way from the south to the north.
I instantly fell in love with Venice and all its beauty. After a glorious day of mostly people watching and a stroll through the Guggenheim museum, I went back to my hostel, grabbed a glass of cheap but very good wine (joys of Italy!) and got next in line for one of the two computers. As I awaited, a tall, somewhat cocky, dark haired man went up to the two travelers currently using the computers and asked if he could jump on when one was done. The audacity! Needless to say, as he started to walk past me I stared at him with glaring laser eyes, which must have burned some sense into him because he then stopped short, looked at me and asked in an unfortunately cute Argentine accent, “oh, were you waiting for the computer?” My response kinda mimicked Baby’s “I carried a watermelon” from Dirty Dancing… “Ummm, yep,” I said. At which point he apologized and walked away… He returned an hour later, just after I had settled in to the computer chair. He was about to do the same when all of a sudden the internet stopped working.
The next morning was my last full day in Italy, I was sitting at breakfast with my map of Venice, my journal, coffee and croissant laid upon the table, planning my Murano glass adventure. I was startled from my own little world by that darn cute accent asking if the internet was working this morning. Nice pick up line. But it worked. A request to join me for breakfast led to an unforgettable day of endless boat rides, drinking wine, sneaking into the back door of a small Murano glass factory and watching the magic of fire and glass creations for hours We talked about everything like old friends and good times, we explored nooks and crannies of the island, laughing constantly, and a kiss that literally took my breath away… all before he had to catch an evening flight to Milan and then to Switzerland. A perfect day left at that. Goodbyes were said and we parted ways.
The next day I flew to Amsterdam to see my brother for a few days before heading back to the good ol’ US of A. It was wonderful to see him and I shared my previous days adventure. Looking back I think I told him more for my sake, as saying it out loud made it a reality, than for the sake of my brother. Later that evening my brother received a call. He looked at me as a grin appeared on his face. He said “It’s for you,” For me? My darn cute Argentine had driven 10 hours from Switzerland to Amsterdam to see me!
As they say, the rest is history. The story may not end in a happily ever after, but for the next year and a half we lived a 21st century fairytale, visiting each other, talking on the phone and Skyping often… The computer that once had made us enemies in turn had brought love.