We had been to Milan, Italy as part of our Greek vacation.
We had stayed at Campeiro Suites where a few steps away was Via Dante.
And the highlight of this short stop was the Duomo (which I don’t think will ever get finished in many of our life time. Food was good. Shopping was fantastic! But we were extra careful with those low life gypsies who made a living, off other people!
We would bump into several “kabayans” who would gather around the square on Via Dante after work hours.
The second time was not a visit to Milan. It was a stopover.
On this European trip from Rome to Florence, the next stop was Nice, France.
We actually pondered on whether we would travel by train or by air. I thought that perhaps we could get to see the countryside en route to our next destination.
After all, we would just have a single train change from Firenze, Italy to Nice, France. This would be in Milan.
And so the unthinkable happened.
Nothing makes a hard earned vacation feel as defiled as when you are robbed in broad daylight.
We got off the Milan station and just crossed one platform to take the train to Nice.
It was unusual that when we boarded our train, there were 2 women on our seats! And while we were busy arguing on who were the rightful occupants to those seats, there were two men that suddenly came from out of nowhere pushing and shoving my bag.
I felt a push. The a slight shove. And when I looked at my carry on bag, the zipper was open. I felt a lump on my next swallow of my saliva. I dropped my bag, looked for my wallet and passport. I couldn’t believe it. They were gone.
Gone in 60 seconds.
The men on the train were alighting. I told my partner that I think I was robbed. The women disappeared. The other passengers didn’t seem to care. And everything turned red.
Yes I was angry. For good reasons.
- The police station was right in front of the train station
- They allow non-passengers into the trains!
- The queue at the police station was filled with foreigners who were robbed at the train or the train station!
- The police was not much help. They hardly spoke English. And when I reported the crime, all they could tell me was to go to my embassy to seek help.
- When I informed the personnel at the train station my dilemma, all they could say was that I should just report my miserable situation at the police station.
In short, you cannot expect any help from the Italian police.
I was lucky.
It was a Monday. The embassy was open. The consulate was more than helpful. They gave me a passport issued in Milan (good for 1 year). And our “kabayans” had helped me get to the embassy and from the embassy, get back to the train station where my partner was waiting for the verdict – to discontinue our trip and fly back to Manila or finish this European vacation.
I didn’t want the thieves destroying our planned vacation.
We took the 3pm train to Nice and arrived after 6 1/2 hours.
On the train, all I could do was break down. I felt defiled. Everything that this trip was supposed to be felt me stripped of my humanity. I was angry at the Italian government because the thieves were just lurking at the train station right in front of the police station!
They may have broken my wallet, but I resolved that my spirit would not be broken.
The tears I shed were those of frustration.
I pray that no other tourist had to endure the inefficient and indifferent police force in Milan.
That day I grieved my material loss.
Tomorrow, would be another day. And another story to be told. Resilience in times of adversity will always be my resolve.