So I got mugged. At the end of a great month in Europe I had a knife held to my throat and my possessions stolen. Once this is written maybe I will get onto the fun stuff that happened in my first real travelling experience.
My friend and I had just got back from Venice by coach, it was 2am, and we were waiting for our coach to florence at 4am. I really needed to pee, and so did he. Our search of the station revealed no where for us to do that so we set off for a bar that was 10 minutes away and still open. Two guys also came from the station and seemed to be following behind us, but people walk behind each other all the time. No big deal. The further we went the odder it seemed for these guys to be going exactly the same way as us. I just thought I was being paranoid. The urge to pee however was driving my mind and eventually we just decided that the park was our best bet, the two guys at this point had stopped at a bus stop and I thought that we had finally got rid of them.
When we had done our business we went to head off back to the station . Before we could move the two guys approached us and asked for cigarettes, we sad we had none, but that they should try the supermarket, one was holding an empty bottle of beer so I assumed they had been drinking. They headed off, only to return a minute later, one went to me the other my friend. I said ‘Sorry, we don’t have any cigarettes’ and mimed smoking. Before I knew it there was a knife at my throat and my friend had been whacked by the aforementioned beer bottle.
I’ve always thought about what it would be like to be in a fight or to have your life at stake, but with the knife at my throat I can say I honestly didn’t think about fighting back. It seemed so beyond stupid that it was not an option, so unfortunately I was no hero like I always wanted to be.
I raised my hands in the air confused, he pushed the knife into my throat, hard. It left a mark that is only just fading. He told me to get out my wallet and give him the money. I guess adrenaline is a wonderful thing, I didn’t think much I just did what was necessary. I pulled out the wallet and searched through it, giving him the twenty euros I found there. ‘Anything else?’ he said. I just shook my head, he snatched the wallet off me and pulled out five euros. He was angry, assuming I had tried to hide it from him, but I just hadn’t seen it. He grabbed me and raised the knife as if to stab me.
‘Im sorry, Im sorry’ I said ‘I am scared, I’m sorry, I am scared’
My legs shook, I am not sure if it was fear or adrenaline but I was angry at myself for seeming weak and made them stop.
He put the knife back to my throat, searched my pockets took my phone. ‘He shouted to his companion, ‘make sure they have their ID’s’ he kept saying that, as if he actually cared about us being able to get home. It was very odd, one minute he was ‘nice’ the next he was shouting and shoving the knife deeper in my throat.
After taking my phone, he asked what was in my bag, I said ‘Laundry’ it was true but there was also a laptop, he searched through my bag taking the laptop and finding a pair of earphones he again grabbed me and pushed the knife deeper into my throat. ‘You have another telephone ah!, Tell me! what else you hiding!’
‘Its just earphones, I don’t have another phone, I have nothing else’
That wasn’t technically true. I had 40 Euros, stashed in my shoe in case someone tried to pickpocket me. It had become a joke on the trip that if I needed money I would have to stealthily remove my shoe. I thought about mentioning it, but stupid or not I wanted a victory over them so kept my shoe money a secret. He made me sit on a bench while he threw my stuff around and searched through it. Underwear, socks, you name it, scattered across the park. His co-lowlife finishing with my friend began to also search me, this angered evil bossman who left rummaging through my stuff to argue with him. As if I was his property alone. He wanted me and my friend to sit, while the other wanted to search me. A tug of war began as they pulled at me, boss man still holding the knife and trying to get me to sit. I think it was at this point that a man rode past on a bike, he saw the situation. He even whistled, as though we were kids at a playground being naughty and he wanted us to stop. I raised my hand in a gesture wanting help. He rode off.
With the potential saviour gone they resumed the tug-of-war. While the other searched my pockets, the underling was rewarded with his efforts by liberating a shiny coin from my pocket and showing it to his ‘boss’. He exclaimed ‘Two Euro’ in a thick Italian accent, clearly proud and gloating that he was right to search me again.
My friend and I were then pulled over to sit on a bench, bossman asked underling to see my friends phone, it was an old Iphone 4, bossman was not impressed and wagged his finger at underling. ‘No…no’ he said. He snatched the phone and threw it hard at the ground, I had some hope it may survive so that we would be able to call someone when they left, but it exploded into a variety of parts. He sure had a strong throw.
Next he told my friend to take off his shoes. My mind panicked- Oh fuck, my secret shoe money stash, Oh god I am actually going to get us stabbed by not mentioning it. He ripped off my friends shoe and I thought he would search it, instead he lobbed it, then taking his other shoe lobbed that in the opposite direction. Understanding that he just wanted to slow down any potential pursuit of them (and wanting to keep my small victory and shoe money) I gently took of my shoes so that he could easily throw them without disturbing the money inside. He threw them pretty far, he would have done well at welly wanging.
Again he asked us if we had our IDs, we both nodded. Then strangely him and his companion, as if feeling bad for throwing our stuff around returned it to us. They came back and forth, giving us back jeans, my backpack and finally pizza muffins which they placed on top of our clothes pile. They then, threw my friends bag, with our holiday apartment key, over a very tall fence. With nice sharp spikes, and what looked like an alarm system.
They began to walk away, he shouted ‘Stay safe’. As far as I can tell it seemed totally genuine. Then next minute he ran back to us. Told us if he we told anyone there would be trouble, his underling-friend mimed shooting us. He kept repeating there would be trouble and I guessed he thought we weren’t taking him seriously enough as he rushed over and gave my friend a whack on the head. I saw approach me and I thought I could take a whack to the head especially without the element of surprise that befell my friend.
I prepared myself for it, he whacked me across the temple, and it stung but no so bad. Then to keep me on my toes, he punched me in the throat. I was taken by surprise and was immediately short on breath. He went off echoing remarks of ‘trouble’ while his friend mimed shooting us.
We had no idea what the time was, no way to find our way back as they had gone back to the station, we did not want to have another meeting. It was a 2 hour walk to the apartment, which wasn’t so bad if you knew the way. But it was around 3am, we had no way to get help, and our key into the apartment was the other side of the fence.
I’ll write the rest later and how we eventually made it home and I didn’t die (spoilers). But now I am exhausted and wanting to relax.