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why I am back in england two weeks early…

April 21st, 2002

Well, I am back in London, almost two weeks early because of a little mishap in Florence… the standing at an ATM reaching into ones pocket at 1am and finding nothing asking the little camera in the ATM “where the hell is my wallet?” Then remembering taking it out of said pocket while writing post cards (that will now never be mailed!) but not remembering putting it back in aforementioned pocket type of mishap!

Thats right — after all the warnings about pickpockets in Italy I lost my wallet, but not to some slight of hand artist on a five finger shopping spree. No I just plan left it sitting on a stone staircase at 12am atop a mountain overlooking Florence! So, with only 10 Euro (in other pocket), no credit card, no debit card, no ATM card, no Drivers License, no Student ID, no Dorm ID, no Health Insurance Card and a lot of (in the words of Mr. Spock;) colorful metaphors, I headed back to the scene of the crime walking very quickly (running not an option after losing fight with dead guy in crypt in Venice — but that is another story!) It’s a three mile walk from the ATM next to my hotel.

Of course when I got there; no wallet! Gee, there’s a shocker! Now I would like to believe that I did pick up the wallet and put it into my pocket, just like I always do, and that somewhere along the path from the mountain to my hotel someone bumped into me and (note: the following is a geeky D&D reference!) made a successful pick pockets roll on a d100 — lifting my wallet, complete with life enabling small rectangles of plastic out of my pocket and placing it in their pocket. However, I vividly remember putting my wallet on top of the pile of postcards I was writing, to keep them from blowing away (funny thing: mountain tops are windy!) after taking my wallet out to get some addresses. I do not remember putting the wallet (note the switch to “the” as opposed to “my”) back into pocket when I picked up the post cards to place them back into my backpack and start walking back to my hotel… I was too busy answering a text message on my phone. I also have no memory of anyone “bumping” into me on the walk back. Therefore I am forced to conclude that the wallet was not in fact “stolen” from my person, but that said person suffered a Geritol moment and left the wallet sitting on a stone staircase atop a mountain overlooking Florence.

The end result of all this is that the next morning I had to phone my friend Andrew up and borrow the money for my hotel from him, and enough to buy a EuroStar ticket back under the Channel to England. I then hopped the next train to Milan, from there to Lugano (Switzerland) where I stayed the night at Cristinas’ house and at eight am left Lugano to Basel (again in Switzerland), waited two hours and jumped the train to Brussels which was 40 minutes late causing me to miss the last EuroStar by 10 minutes! Stayed in Brussels Nord station all night, (though I did manage to spend a few hours at the Grand Plats — drink some Hoegaarden, eat some Belgium chocolate, some Falafal and a Belgium Waffle before I had to take the last train from Centraal station back to Nord station) and took the first EuroStar out in the morning — 7:01 am (strange time! Why 01?)

Now you would think that my pain would be over at this time, back in London – familiar London. But NO! I get on the Tube and one stop later the train stops and I have to spend the next hour hoping from one train to another to get back to my stop. No this would not have been a problem if it was not for the 25 kilo bag strapped to my back (50 lbs) and the camera case in my hands, combined with the painful knee issue…

I did finally get back to my dorm. My credit cards have been canceled and reissue orders placed but it will take a week. By the time they get here, there will only be a week till exams and my inter-rail ticket will only have a week left on it! Therefore I will not get to make it to Spain, Portugal or Morocco as I had hoped this spring break! (Insert more colorful metaphors here.) Oh well, C’est La Vie, Right? Now I may actually study for those pesky exams I have to take next month… Maybe.

Oh, I have many stories to tell about wandering about France, Switzerland and Italy with no plan… but those will have to wait as I am tired and ready for bed…

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