I have wanted to return to the Europe for 40 years. This year I decided to take the plunge and return once more. As a young woman I spent three months wandering through Western Europe. I saw many of the sights, but the most valuable lesson was how alike we are as people even though our languages and customs may differ.
I found the same to be true today. And yes, things have changed too.
Tickets in the Rome Train Station were bought using vending machines. When I boarded the train, I had to get the ticket punched by a machine to show it had been checked.
I am a country person; so that did not help as far navigating the train station. First I was not sure how to buy the ticket. Then there were so many trains coming and leaving, I was not totally sure what track my train come on or if I had missed it.
Everyone else was in a group. All the Americans could do is wish me good luck. You see my plain was late, and I had missed the scheduled group.
I don't think I got my proper seat assignment, but when I desperately asked to sit in a compartment with an Italian family, they said, "Yes."
The college age son spoke some English, and that was good, because I had not studied Italian, and I was a bit tired to start using my Italian dictionary. If I had that to do over again, I would prepare more.
The young man told me they were from Naples. He was studying German in a University in either Austria or Germany.
What I observed was a family, who were all dressed very smartly in the latest jeans including the Western belt. There were four, mother, father, son and daughter. Each of them had a cell phone that did all sorts of things like take photographs and play music and the news. They had been shopping since many packages were in the overhead shelf.
The mother, an attractive woman, appeared to be quite gregarious. She seemed to be calling everyone she knew. She would step outside the compartment and make call after call. She did not have been concerned, since I did not understand anything she said.
My wildest guess was the family was going on a holiday, and were possibly meeting someone they did not know extremely well. I will leave the rest to your imagination (especially since that is all I had to go on myself.)