The town was closed

Personal Journeys

My Favorite PlaceWe should have been...

June 07, 1998|By Scott Shindell | Scott Shindell,Sun Staff

The town was closed; My Favorite Place

We should have been more careful what we'd wished for. My wife and I had come to this village in the Italian Alps to be alone, and we had succeeded a little too well - the streets were deserted and the buildings were dark and locked shut, including every hotel.

It was mid-October, the lull between the summer and winter tourist seasons, and the residents of Molveno were on vacation, probably in Sicily, where we should have gone.

But instead we had traveled seven hours by train from Venice to Trent, and then another four hours by bus to Molveno. When we got off, the driver gave us a chance to reconsider before he pulled away, but we didn't budge. We were alone at last!

While my wife relaxed on a bench with our backpacks, I looked for a hotel. For the next 20 minutes I climbed Molveno's empty streets, peering into dark hotel lobbies and knocking on doors that no one answered. I had checked all the hotels I could find; it was near dusk and getting cold. If we didn't find a place to stay, we would have to sleep outside.

When I got back to my wife, I gave her the news. Then, after a few moments of despair, I looked down a street I hadn't noticed before and saw the tourist office. The lights were on. We grabbed our things and marched in.

The man behind the counter was as surprised to see us as we were to see him. He spoke English, and I explained our situation.

"What about the Pensione Venezia?" he asked.

"Closed," I answered.

"Pensione Milano?"

"Closed."

He paused. This was it: Either he took pity on us and invited us to stay with him, or we slept outside. This moment, so pregnant with tension and opportunity, was not new to us. We had been traveling in Italy for a few weeks, and we knew what to do: We sighed and cursed quietly as we picked up our backpacks. We slowly slung them onto our shoulders so they looked heavy, and then we gave him our most pathetic look and stepped toward the door. But before my foot hit the floor, he said: "I will drive you to a hotel."

He delivered us to the Albergo Regents, a gleaming, two-star hotel in the nearby village of Andalo. We stayed three days, even though Andalo was not much livelier than Molveno. The active business district consisted of a bank, a cafe, the post office and a grocery store (closed every Monday and Thursday). There was nothing to do but eat and sleep and walk around and look at the mountains. But this was what we had wished for, and it was perfect.

Scott Shindell works in the marketing department at The Sun.

While photographing lighthouses as a hobby, I have traveled along the Atlantic coast visiting many of these beautiful structures. This one is at Nobska Point, Mass., and was built in 1876. I took this picture last spring while vacationing on Cape Cod with my wife. Located at the bottom of the cape across from Martha's Vineyard, this lighthouse provides a peaceful setting that's also picturesque. We were impressed with the unspoiled countryside and the calming effect it had on us.

Melvin Brokus, Overlea Clarksdale, Miss.

Steve Luckman, Baltimore

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St. Lucia

Lenora R. Gentry, Baltimore

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