Have you lost something or someone? If you’re a Christian, you would probably pray to St. Anthony de Padua, the patron saint of lost things, to help you find it.
As a Filipino, I was brought up Catholic, and I remember St. Anthony from my childhood prayers. When we mention the saint’s name, it is always with “de Padua” (of Padua). When I found myself in Padua, Italy, therefore, I really made it a point to visit the church of St. Anthony where his bones lie buried.
My stay in Padua was not planned; I was actually planning to stay in Venice. However, it’s highly touristy there and finding a Couchsurfing host is almost impossible. So I looked for hosts in nearby cities, and found one in Padova which is just an hour’s train ride away.
My CS host was a Pakistani PhD student in astrophysics who liked the spicy sardine spaghetti I cooked for him and his housemates at 2am. (I found a local brand, Ligo, in Brussels and brought it with me to Italy.) For the first time, I got to use an air mattress for a bed, and all I can say is that it was a bit of an experience. 🙂
Padua (or Padova in Italian) is a small city in Northern Italy. It was even considered the oldest one. I walked around A LOT there, and I was really surprised at how quiet and rural the city is. I arrived at the Basilica around 5pm, so it was already closed. (Too bad, I would have wanted to go inside!) When I began walking back to my Pakistani hosts’ place at 7pm, the streets were already deserted.
I only had two days in Padua, but I already met some Filipino students there who were also studying for their PhD. When I apply for a scholarship someday, I’d probably choose Padova too. Its serenity—and at the same time its proximity to major cities like Venice—make it a perfect place for learning.
How about you? Would you have liked to live in Padua?