Tears of Themis Romantic Railway Getaway (II) Artem’s Route

After the completion of another grueling case with Artem at your side, you’re finally looking forward to the upcoming vacation. Your friend Evelyn (who left you in the lurch in Skadi) had requested your help again to take photos of the magnificent sights during your vacation. Artem asked you if you have thought about where to go and you asked him for suggestions. He recommended visiting Lombardia, the city of arts with its cultural landmarks and remarkable natural scenery plus they have also recently just launched a new travel train route. You were surprised to hear his suggestion because you were just thinking about it too. You told Artem that you have decided on Lombardia and he asked if you would like a travel companion too.

While waiting to board the train at Lombardia’s station, Artem goes through with you the itinerary for the trip and what you can expect to see which would be helpful for Evelyn. With his detailed descriptions you had the impression he had been to Lombardia before. Artem told you he had simply been doing a lot of research in order to assemble the travel guide for both of you. You are impressed with how meticulous he was. In response he said that he just wanted you to be comfortable. He had also made plans when you arrive at Lombard City – to watch an opera or watch a street performance. I chose the latter – it just sounded so much more spontaneous and fun.


6 Mar Day 1 Lombard Central Business District (Power Level 22051)

You were mesmerised at how beautiful the city is and thought that perhaps you might just be able to complete Evelyn’s request within the day. Your first stop is take the tourist bus that would bring you around the entire CBD of the city. However after waiting for more than 30 minutes, the bus was nowhere in sight so you decided to approach the staff to enquire about the delay. Apparently the delay was due to construction works in the roads nearby. You also asked her to recommend the best city attractions. She told you to consider the Golden Church, Arty Clocktower and the Lombard Opera House, all famous due to their distinct architectural style.

At the end of the day’s tour, you and Artem settled in a local restaurant for some Lombardian meal. While Artem is ordering for both of you, you carefully selected some of the best photos from the day and sent them to Evelyn. Upon completion of the task, your attention was drawn to a lady who was making a ruckus about the bill size, claiming that the place is a tourist scam. Just then Artem returned and since there seemed to be no further noise, you decided to ignore the outburst and just enjoy the meal before you. The fish chowder was particularly delicious.

Your reverie was broken by the vibration in your phone. Evelyn commented that the photos you sent were not suitable. Artem surmised that she wasn’t looking for work of superior artistic composition but something else closer to the heart. You still couldn’t grasp what Evelyn is looking out for but Artem quickly calmed you down and that you might be able to find the inspiration for your photos at Dilly Plaza the next day. You smiled thankful for Artem’s reminder that it is just the start of the journey and you would certainly have many opportunities to find that magnificent sight.


Mar 7 Day 2 Dilly Plaza (Power Level 23588)

Upon exiting the station at Dilly Plaza, you were approached by a local guide. You asked him for places of interest and he pointed you to the art gallery which is currently hosting an exhibition for Impressionism and a wax museum that recreates famous movie scenes. In terms of food, the local specialties include mussel and shrimp soup and red wine braised ox tongue.

After the art gallery and having tried the local specialties, your final stop for the day is the wax museum. Your excitement to see the various recreations was thwarted by an angry tourist making a ruckus at the entrance. Apparently she had bought a travel pass that should allow her free entrance to several attractions. However the staff attendant was now claiming that the pass only covers the base admission fare but she would need to pay the additional administration and servicing fees. When she decided that she wasn’t going to visit and requested a refund, the attendant insisted that no refunds are allowed.

With both your debating skills combined, the attendant finally agreed to refund the ticket. The lady thanked you and decided to complain about her trip thus far. Though Lombardia was a beautiful city, it was rife with unethical practices that attempted to scam tourists. After hearing from her, you lost your motivation to visit the museum itself and were in fact barred from entering for being too nosy! To erase the unpleasant experience, Artem suggested watching a night time street concert at the plaza instead.

You were enthralled by the song Serenade of a Starry River a popular song which was adapted from a Lombardian folk song. You thought that they would have chosen more upbeat songs for an outdoor concert and was surprised that it was a composition of romantic ballads instead which were sung without an accompaniment. The concert really lifted your mood. However you told Artem that you felt regretful that he didn’t manage to see the wax museum since he really loved movies. He told you it was fine because he preferred to enjoy the journey with you, than going to any sights in particular. With that you turned in for the night in anticipation of visiting Kylos the next day, which famous for it food.


Mar 8 Day 3 Kylos (Power Level 24984)

You arrive at Kylos, the famous gourmet city of Lombardia. A local guide was more than happy to introduce the special attractions and popular foods to try out. He suggested visiting the culinary museum and the Umbra Castle – a picture of fairy tale wonderland. In terms of food, Kylos is famous for its cheese mushroom tarts, squab pie, and beet lobster.

After the visit to the culinary museum, your appetite is whet to try the local specialties mentioned and Artem has found the right place to satiate your hunger. You enjoyed the meal plentiful but the good time ended when you were presented with the bill. It was a lot more than you had expected. Apparently the price quoted on the menu only covered the dish itself and did not include service fees, ingredients and cooking fees (WHAT?!). You refused to make payment alluding that it was not properly explained beforehand and clearly designed to scam tourists. Artem proceeded to call the police when the restaurant owner refused to back down. It was only when the police arrived did you manage to get away with just paying per menu, however the owner swore never to serve you again.

As you discussed the experience with Artem, a local shared that such occurrences are very common amongst tourists. She shared that the restaurant used to charge reasonable prices and was often frequented by locals 10 years ago. However the owner became greedy as he realised he could charge tourists more hence he started to raise the prices to such unreasonable quantum today.

At the end of the day as you recounted the experience at the restaurant, Artem observed that the owner’s haughty demeanour demonstrated that he has been using such dishonest practices to swindle tourists for a long time now. This could be due to a confluence of tourist volume, tourists who don’t make a fuss and the local authorities who do little to intervene, allowing such practices to worsen over time. You became angry thinking that this will only continue to happen and vow to change the situation. Artem holds your hand to calm you down and agrees to help you do it together. He proposes to continue collecting evidence of such practices for the rest of the trip.


Mar 9 Day 4 James River (Power Level 25964)

With a newfound purpose to your trip, you started to take note of all your receipts and found a pattern. Indeed there was an exorbitant service fee charged on all tourist attractions you’ve been to since day one. Just then you heard the angry shouts of a tourist with a bandage on his arm. When you asked him what happened, he explained that he had been forced to pay for two passenger seats if he wanted to ensure that no one sat next to him due to his broken arm. He hadn’t insisted on having no one next to him but in the end they wouldn’t allow him on the waterboat unless he paid up for two. As such, he decided not to take the waterboat and requested for a refund but to no avail. When you shared your similar woes with him, he agreed to accompany you to the police station to lodge a complaint.

At the police station, the police officer listens to your complaints patiently, however his response was far from committal. This is not the first time they have received similar complaints but they were not plenty so they can only try and urge locals not to engage in unethical practices. When pressed further, he shared that the police in Lombardia are working on a longer term plan to eradicate such issues and offer affected tourists their due compensation as well as implement patrols to ensure that such things do not happen again. I can’t help but take this with a pinch of salt…

After lodging your complaint at the police station, you follow the James River and arrive at a greenhouse blooming with flowers. Looking at the beautiful flowers around you, you perked up after hearing that your efforts have indeed pressed the local authorities to do something about the situation to prevent future tourists from being scammed. Artem compliments you that your efforts have paid off and you thanked him for his teamwork too. You said that though you were upset about the situation, you were also confident that with Artem by your side, you’d be able to solve any problem together.

As you discussed your next stop, you suddenly recalled that amidst all the frustration with the tourist scams, you had completely forgotten to take photographs for Evelyn. Artem assures you that all is not over yet – sunset over James River is very beautiful, as is Floren Palace which would be your stop for the next day.


Mar 10 Day 5 Floren Palace (Power Level 25964)

To make sure that you would be able to capture the most beautiful sights in Floren, you asked the local tourist guide on places to go. For natural scenery she suggested Garden of the Angels famous for its tulips and flower-waterfall trees and St Neve’s Garden which was a private garden of a duke which contains rare flowers. For cultural sites, she recommended The Princess Levee with strong ties to the history of Lombardia and The Kali Palace with its unique façade.

After spending the day taking photos of all the beautiful scenery in Floren Palace, you’re now at a loss on what is the most magnificent sight that would satisfy Evelyn. You ask Artem for advice and he told you to go with what you found most delightful since it should be based on your perspective. Feeling stressed about it, Artem suggested resting on a bench first while you collect your thoughts. Your eyes are caught by an ice cream truck selling ice cream from a 100-year recipe and you got curious. Artem volunteered to help you buy the ice cream. As he returns with the ice cream in both hands, you suddenly realised that his elegant form poised against the classical architecture was exactly the magnificent sight that you were looking for.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyone views life through different lens, thus everyone’s standards of beauty will differ. You finally realised that what Evelyn wanted from you is your feelings during the trip and which is the beauty encapsulated by journeying with Artem. When you told Artem that the most magnificent sight to you was him, he replied, “In my eyes, that is what you’ve always been.” Awwww, trust a lawyer to sweep you off your feet.

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