Did I mention the transportation system in Italy is horrendous? The trains are never on time. We waited 40 minutes for the train to take us back to La Spezia that night, so by the time we got into town it was around 11pm. My mom and I walked over to the bus stop only to discover that the buses were no longer running.
My mom asked me if we should call a taxi, or if we should walk. I figured that since the hotel was only about 15 mins away by foot, and it was a nice night out, we might as well walk. A few minutes into walking, I noticed a kid in his young 20's walking behind us. A few more minutes went by, and my mom and I were trying to figure out what an extremely long building was that we were walking by. At this point the kid was in front of us, so we got his attention and asked what the building was. He responded in Italian. We said "oh, ok... never mind", and continued on our way. We later found out the building was a prison.
When we got to our first intersection, I pulled out the map to see which way to go. I noticed the kid looked a little hesitant, like he didn't know which way to go, and then he turned right. We continued going straight. At the next intersection, as I referred to the map, the kid appeared behind us yet again. This time he continued going straight and then turned down a side street. I then commented to my mom that I didn't trust that kid... there was something that just wasn't right. She, giving him the benefit of the doubt, said that he was probably scared walking alone, and wanted to be near people. I still didn't trust him.
After looking at the map, we continued going straight. We passed the kid this time, who was just around the corner of the side street, messing with some electronic equipment. My mom and I didn't even have to say anything to know what the other was thinking. We walked a lot faster, and started up the hill to where our hotel was located. The entire time I continued to glance behind us to see if he was there.
By the time we were half way up the hill, I saw him at the bottom. He then started running towards us, and I started yelling "what are you doing?" When he was about three feet away from me, as I'm still yelling "what are you doing?" and "go away!", he pulled a knife on me. I instinctively lunged towards him to grab his arm so he couldn't hurt me with the knife. All the while, my mom -who was farther up the hill than I was- started running towards the kid, screaming as loud as she could for him to go away.
I guess we startled him... who'd have thought 2 women would defend themselves... and he ran off. Thankfully.
As we cautiously and quickly made our way over to the hotel from that point, the only thing I said was "we're going to Rome tomorrow." ....At least that was settled.