What started out as a fun and all-smiles day left us high and dry. We got not only stranded and deceived but with a lot of good pictures.
A night before, we agreed to go on a spontaneous day trip to Mantova. The weather forecast said it would rain but we were willing to take the chances.
Well, I wish it had rain because at least I would be only wet. I know you are curious to know what really happened.
Chill, it’s a really hilarious and heart-touching story, grab your popcorn and enjoy. Of course, I didn’t die. I live to tell the story.
So we got to the train station in Milan just in time to grab breakfast for the road. We almost missed the train as it was difficult to find the “binario 23”, but we got there just in the nick of time.
We found two comfortable seats with a charging port, oh what luck! This is going to be a good day. Yes, I felt the universe was with us (I sought of believe in such stuff).
We get to Mantova and set on to take some really beautiful pictures. They turned out really good, but I would have probably gone for a more stylish outfit if I knew my friend was bringing her professional camera.
Spent 6 hours parading the streets, taking cool shots as you can see. We also agreed to have dinner in Mantova, “We gotta try the local dish girl!” – I ended up eating seafood as always.
Because we are millennials, we were concerned about the ratings of the restaurant we chose. We wouldn’t settle for anything less than a 4.0-star rating. After physically inspecting three restaurants, we realized we wouldn’t make it in time to catch the train by 20.50 and most restaurants won’t open till 19.30. We finally got one we considered good enough and settled to have a large dinner.
We stuffed every nook and cranny of our belly, chatted away into the night, and made some more cool videos and pictures. Afterward, we walked up to the cashier to pay and realized with a glance at the clock, we may not make it in time to catch the train.
Google Maps said we can reach the train station in 12 minutes but we had only 10 minutes to spare. As you may have imagined, the only way to make it in time was to – run!
So we did run, hallowing and groaning in agonizing cramps from overfilled bellies. We got to the station, my friend looked at the train schedule and said, “Oh the train leaves by 9.10, we still have 20 minutes!” We laughed really hard at how stupid we were running all the way to the train station. We then strolled to “binario 5”, where our train would supposedly depart from in 19 minutes.
I got the greatest shock of my life as I watched the train easily pull off the tracks and rolled away towards Milan, dashing our hopes of going home to a warm shower and good sleep after a long day. We just missed the train by about 10 seconds! Apparently, my dear friend had mixed up the schedule, checking arrival instead of departure!
We screamed and yelled some, then took a seat by the stairs to think of the next course of action. Maybe an Airbnb or hotel? But we didn’t find anything decent nearby with good offers, and no homeowner on Airbnb would take us in at such an ungodly hour. So we thought, “Maybe we can go dancing right?” We were planning to in the coming weeks anyway. So we started to Google for nearby nightclubs in Mantova.
The nearest one was a strip club, but we didn’t want to see some ‘titties’ flashing in our faces. So we decided to walk about 5km to another one – called “Chiringuito”. We set out, and the road that leads to this nightclub seemed like an “into the woods” kind of horror movie. Except for cars that passed randomly, not a single soul was on that road.
It was us against a thick dark foggy road in the middle of the woods with no idea of what lay ahead.
After going further down a bit, we decided we don’t want to get jumped or eaten by some wild animals we could hear howling in the distance of the night. So we took the highway which we had abandoned earlier because we considered it not safe.
We walked some minutes on the highway then climbed over the railings, skited down the sloppy wet grass unto the walkway snake-lined along the woods. We walked some more and ran out of fear when we sighted a guy in a dark hoodie riding his bicycle towards us.
Alas, he was just a guy trying to get home! We finally sight the “Chiringuito” sign by the roadside with the help of the little light pouring from the nearby filling station, casting just enough light to see the signage. A short walkway led to the nightclub, it was a low area so we could see all the “nightclub” was – tractors and cranes are littered all over the place with bushes that were about my knee-length. It appeared to be a site for unwanted mechanical tools – a dump site!
“Chiringuito doesn’t exist?” How come Google says it does, I mean the website says they open at 11 pm on Saturdays and Sundays! After minutes of thinking, searching, and hoping maybe it was just around the corner or we missed it, we decided to make a trip back on foot, accepting our fate – the nightclub probably closed down decades ago. Neither they nor Google cared to update the information.
We came back into town, found a bar – the only bar still opened and sat for a while to soothe our aching legs. It was about 2 am and the bar would close in one hour.
At least it felt good to be back in the midst of all the people and hear the music blast from the speakers, it felt like we just transitioned from a ghost town to a lively city.
The bar closed, so we had to walk down to the train station and wait for 2 hours to catch the first train heading to Milan at 5 am.
We met a Trenitalia staff at the station who was extremely nice, to a spooky fault. He offered we could stay at the station till the train arrived. He then went on to offer us tea and hot chocolate. The offer was so tempting but I’ve seen quite a lot of horror movies to know better. So I adamantly refused while my friend accepted the offer for a cup of tea.
So I whispered to her, “If anything happens at least one of us would be awake.”
To while away time, I write this waiting for the train to arrive, here in this spooky but warm space the staff offered us.
Oh, he just told us our train is here, I have to go!
To take a day trip to Mantova from Milan, you can easily purchase a ticket at the train station or the Trenitalia website.