Early to Rise, Early to Bed

Sunday, October 16, 2016
Sabaudia, Lazio, Italy
Lena and I had difficulty sleeping last night. I don't know if it was the excitement and anticipation of where we are headed next, the time change finally catching up to us, or just the everyday internal conversations we all have with ourselves about the people we are and the things we hope to accomplish in life. Either way we should be tired enough by the time we finish everything that must be done.

Paul graciously woke up with us at 2:30am to drive us to the bus station in Linköping where we had spent time on Friday . We arrived early enough to have to stand around for nearly half an hour but that was better than being late. We said a brief goodbye after stepping foot on the bus since we would see each other again before the days was over with. He had promised the bus would be relatively comfortable, equipped with Wi-Fi and a small restroom. It was all that and more, but still just a long ride on a bus early in the morning. We were finally able to connect with the outside world which hadn't happened since we first left the airport in Stockholm. I slept off and on as comfortably as I could for several hours. We had a few stops along the way including one in downtown Stockholm. Even at night it looks like an intriguing city to explore and we can't wait to come back when we have some time to spend there. The airport is actually north of Stockholm so the only time we really spent there was on the bus.

We arrived on time and had plenty extra once we went through security. One interesting thing about traveling through Europe is the lack of passport stamps. No matter how many countries we visited we still only had one stamp to show for it and that one we got when we had a layover in Paris. As long as we traveled within the European Union this was the case. This is definitely a disappointment for a world traveler even if it means fewer security lines between countries. Also, I noticed that most, if not every traveler in Europe, is well dressed .

We sipped some coffee and juice at a little coffee shop in the airport after buying cards and a patch to remember our time in Sweden, headed to our gate and waited. The flight to Zurich was a short one. We had just enough time to leave the airport in Switzerland, take a train to somewhere close by, and hurry back. This was our chance to add yet another country to our list, but for some reason we were terribly nervous about not making it back in time. Perhaps it was the fact that we don't speak or read the languages in the country (there are at least four), we had never been there before, and we hadn't heard that much experience with trains. We chanced it and bought a train ticket to...somewhere in Zurich. The automated ticket machine added to our hesitation because the names on the map didn't match up with the names on the screen. We bought tickets to the Zurich HB station which appeared to be right downtown which was better than we had hoped for. The train ride itself wasn't anything special. It was crowded and people were generally a little rude. But the city was beautifully arrayed with gorgeous architecture and had lots to offer. Across from the train station was the national museum. We thought about heading in the but opted for walking around the streets. Instead of going into Starbucks for coffee (typical American thing to do I'm sure...we did go to a McDonalds but only to use their restroom) we opted for an outdoor café that served Mövenpick ice cream . It was totally worth sitting out in the freezing cold to enjoy the creamy goodness. The café also had lap blankets for just such an occasion. We fell in love with this ice cream when we spent a year in Jordan. The Middle East isn't known for its ice cream by any means, but some places there do serve this Swiss delight. We walked around a bit more before circling back to the train station. We managed to find out way back to the airport with time to spare.

Our flight landed in Rome later than most but we weren't the last to arrive at our hotel, Oasi di Kufra. Lena and I arrived via town car because of a mix up with the bus and perhaps some traffic. We didn't mind. The moon was full and brought, eliminating the highway when there were fewer lights around. We got in just after 9pm, just in time for a meeting of the men who were scheduled to speak during the Feast. Although I missed half of the introductions, it was a pleasure to meet all of them and hear a little bit about them. We also met the lady who is going to be translating for us the entire week.

As soon as the meeting was over I was ushered into the dining room. The staff had saved some dinner for us and our friends Michael and Lauren Trew, and if I recall Chelsea Dawe and maybe a few others. I should have taken a picture so o could remember.
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