20:55 saturday 1 july – brisa di mare , rapallo
bobo , roberta and i caught a train from milan just after midday , heading south and west towards the coast . the journey was somewhat less luxurious than that from stresa to milano i made a week ago . the rolling stock showed its age , lacked air conditioning and was packed full . we stood in the corridor all the way to genova , watching the surroundings change from urban milan to rich farmland to steep basaltic mountains . at genova we changed to a train which took us the short distance down the coast to rapello , clinging to the mountains around a sweeping bay . here we were met by bobo’s father , enrico , who drove us up to this house , his retreat perched at the top of a hill overlooking the town and harbour , surrounded by terraces of old olive and fig trees .
i sit here on the terrace now with the fountain gurgling and sounds of people in the town below drifting up on the still dusk air . today is the start of a three-day festival in the town . earlier we watched barges being towed into the bay , loaded with fireworks which will be set off later on . i’ve been investigating the rows of yachts in the harbour with the binoculars my parents gave me for for my birthday last year .
the past week has been wonderful .
14:20 saturday 8 july – aeroporto malpensa
oh no , it’s happening again . i left the apartment on via solferino soon after midday , took the metro from moscova to cadorna , and from there got the express train to malpensa . my flight to london was due to depart from here at 19:35 . the reason for my uncharacteristically early arrival : a careless misreading of the ticket when i checked it last night . a fortuitous error as it transpires .
i spoke to one of the check-in clerks , who looked puzzled , made a couple of phone calls and told me my flight would in fact be departing from bergamo . which , ironically , was where my doomed inbound flight was intended to land .
so now i’m on a bus ( which has just set off ) taking me back to milano stazione centrale , from where i’ll set out for bergamo .
i phoned the company in britain from whom i bought my ticket ( thomson ) but after half an hour of uninterrupted soft rock i felt sick and hung up . phrases for a letter they’ll be receiving from me begin to assemble themselves in my head …
18:22 – aeroporta orio al serio , bergamo
standing in a queue with a couple of hundred people , slowly being processed through two check-in desks . i notice that the inbound flight is now being predicted to land half an hour late .
i’ve got my powerbook set up on the handle of the luggage trolley . just the right height to type standing up ! i’ll take a photo .
22:50 – connex train , gatwick airport to victoria station
the half hour delay wasn’t augmented and i reached blighty without incident . everything seems grey , cold and shabby . but then it always does . i think it’s a fine thing to be british . but i find it hard to muster much affection or respect for contemporary british society .