Our immediate problem was to find a Hotel. Once again we succeeded in our first try. Like I have pointed out this is not always the case and sometimes we have to wander around for quite some time before we find a place to stay. I guess the Lord allows this to happen to show us not to take things for granted, and to be thankful. It is so easy for us mere mortals to fall into complacency and expect it as our right that God will always be at our beck and call like some kind of Genie from Aladdin's lamp.
Sure enough this time too, it was a middle aged Italian Woman who met us as we walked into her little office. She spoke a little English and along with our little Portuguese adapted into Italian we were able to persuade her to allow us to stay for a few days while we tried to sort out the next stage of our incredible journey.
The next morning we went back to the docks and I got the idea to find a shipping company going to Bombay that would not mind taking our baggage, even if they would not take passengers, for free.
Most Cargo ships do not take passengers as they are not insured for the eventuality of an accident or some need for an emergency doctor etc. We always asked them to allow us to sign a letter of indemnity absolving them of any blame in case of a misadventure befalling us on the voyage. This helped sometimes but on the Linea C Transoceanica Silvia they had insurance for us. If we could find such a company that would be a load off. We tried a few until we found one that was plying between Italy and India and they very kindly agreed to take care of our three trunks and put them on the next vessel going to Bombay. They were not ready to take us but they would take our baggage. We delivered our three trunks and guitar to their warehouse and spent the rest of the day looking for a shipping company to take us East.
Try as we would nothing turned up and so we returned to our hotel after obtaining all our meals at restaurants and Snack places all for free as promised in Isaiah Ch 55 verse 1.
That night as I slept, I had a dream that we were in Sudan of all places. Now there were some Sudanese living in the Hotel with their extraordinary colourful Arabic like costumes and Turbans, so maybe the Lord used that to set this dream off.
After breakfast we spent some time in prayer and Bible reading and I received or let me say I thought I received the directions to go overland to Greece and then try from there. We had done a ship trip and maybe now was the time for a land trip? Maybe all the way to Sudan? The more we thought about this the more we liked the idea and so we thanked our Lady host and set off for the Motorway traveling the first leg just as we had recently done but instead of turning North to Austria and then Germany we would continue East into Yugoslavia. We would soon find out that the great President Marshall Tito had died but there was evidence of him everywhere. His picture hung in every restaurant and public place. He seemed not to be really dead and was still a public hero.
That evening we were still in Italy and arrived in Trieste. As this is a part of the world that I have never been to before my memory is a bit shaky but it was here that we met a very charming Italian priest who put us up in a guest room at the Parish house. He was very impressed with our story and gave us a very generous donation.
The next day we hitched across the border into Yugoslavia passing through or around Rijeka with many small lifts down the Adriatic coast road with a view of thousands of very inviting small islands. We were tempted to stop and swim but continued to the border of Albania which was in those day very difficult and a sort of no go area, so we looked for a place to stay the night in Dubrovnik. This is a small sea port and everywhere we tried we failed to find anyone who wanted to help us. All the Hotels turned us down and even though we were praying desperately for help, none seemed to come. It was now getting dark and then I had the inspiration to ask a young man on the street if he spoke English. He did and we told him our predicament. He smiled and told us that he had an old aunt who lived close by and that he would persuade her to help us. So far so good!
The old lady cheerfully lead us to the spare bed room and as we were dead tired we tumbled into bed immediately. Then to my horror of horrors I felt something crawling over my face. I jumped up and switched on the light and the whole room was crawling with large cockroaches. Once the light was switched on they all scuttled off and disappeared below the bed. Irmgard gave out a slight scream and then the old lady came in and explained in her foreign tongue of which we understood nothing something to the effect that they would not harm us and to just be thankful and go to sleep. As soon as she was out of the room we left the light on which prevented all except the very brave ones from emerging. We got very little sleep and after a very long night, we thanked her and left very early in the morning. We managed to find a small bakery that gave us free buns and black coffee which we really needed to keep us awake.
That next day after many small lifts we passed around Beograd, Belgrade the capital of Serbia, and were tickled to see the signs changing from the Latin alphabet to Acrylic on the sign posts to Macedonia. We crossed the Greek border late at night in a Truck that took us for a very long distance allowing us to get sitting up sleep. His destination was Thessalanici and this is where we got off at midnight in the town centre. Usually we like to stop at about 6 in the evening giving us plenty of time to find a place to stay but midnight seemed pretty grim.
The centre was pretty dark. There were very few friendly looking lit up lamp posts to greet us and light our way. So some quick arrow prayers which just means a snap chat with our Lord of the Spiritual world and then there right across the square was one solitary café or bar that was open and lit up with a friendly glow. When we arrived the owner was about to close down but he turned out to be Mr Sweetheart himself who spoke pretty good English. We witnessed to him about Jesus and the trip we were making to India and of course that sounded really bizarre. He believed us and then rustled up a delicious free meal and suggested without us asking, that we stay the night upstairs where his brother ran a Pension, a small hotel for bed and breakfast. This time no cockroaches and a really good nights rest with a super breakfast with Mr S the next morning. He gave us our first donation in Greek Drachmas on top of all the help he had already given.
From all this we learned that you cannot put God in a box and that the more extraordinary the circumstances, the more the Lord had the opportunity to do the most extraordinary miracles.