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11 July 1998



            When we got into Italy, we had to start paying tolls.  You could just stop, swipe your credit card, and be on your way.  We stopped for the weekend at Padova.  It turned out to be a very old walled city.  It still had a moat, although they no longer drove through the old gates.  We had written ahead to the mission homes in each area to ask where the church was and what time the meetings were.  We knew the mission home would have that information AND would be able to answer us in English.  We deliberately found a room in the part of town where the church was in Padova, and then decided to drive over and find it after dinner.  About 6:30 we went down to the restaurant in our hotel for dinner.  They rather indignantly informed us that they didnít open for dinner till 7:00pm.  We smiled and went for a walk.  Italy was the only place we went that looked dirty.  There were tall weeks, rusty gates, peeling paint, and boarded up windows everywhere.  But a closer look revealed that back yards were used even when fronts looked barricaded and abandoned.  It looked like people were afraid and had no pride.  It was 7:20 when we got back to the restaurant, none of the places we passed having been open, and we were the first customers.  We ordered individual pizzas, which were served un-sliced and with a fork and knife.  It was paper-thin and not much on it.  It tasted OK, but a bit boring.  Then we decided to drive over to the church to locate it.  They were just starting an activity, which they invited us to stay for, so we did.  For refreshments they served watermelon and ice cream.

            Most of the tap water tasted fine, but Europeans donít drink it.  They also donít drink milk; itís not even on the menu at most restaurants.  They have it to go in coffee and will bring you some hot if you ask for it.  We learned to specify cold, but it was a lot thicker than our whole milk, so I didnít like it.  I got tired of soda pop very quickly, but was so thirsty we always got the largest each place served.  Anyway the activity at church was over about 10pm, so we decided to see if the MacDonaldís we had seen earlier was still open so we could get a drink.  It was, and it was the center of nightlife, but not the kind you could take your kids to.  We got our drinks and got away as quick as we could.  On Sunday everyone who came in to the meetings went around and hugged and kissed (cheek to cheek) everyone else.  I was very impressed with the genuine regard they had for one another.  Everywhere else they greeted everyone else with a handshake, which was still great.  One of the missionaries sat behind us during sacrament meeting and pulled his chair up so he could translate right into our ears.  That is hard to do but he was very good.


Many castles are nestled amongst the Italian Alps.





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