Our Italian trip wasn’t the first time I was stalked by our former colonial overlords.
When I was a teenager, my parents took me to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria for a vacation. As we waited for a train in Vienna, we began speaking with an old British couple who were also waiting. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but, knowing how Brits behave, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had been moaning about how rubbish the continental trains were. Actually we did learn that several days earlier they were staying seven miles away from us when we were both in tiny Alpine villages.
Several days and 240 miles from Vienna, we were in the tiny Austrian village of St. Martin bei Lofer. Many people were eating in the square just below our hotel room. I was watching the slow flow of pedestrians when I noticed a familiar pair at one of the tables. I shouted, “Hey, it’s the Brits!” My parents hardly believed me until they looked for themselves.
On our way out Dad approached their table and startled them with a hearty American hello. The British man almost fell out of his seat from the surprise. They certainly were not expecting to see any familiar faces in that place.
Years later my parents thought they saw the same Brits eating at the same table during a return visit to St. Martin. This time they thought better of accosting them, perhaps for the best…