Traveling around Italy, from Milan to Rome and Ferrara, for family honor and for pure marathon pain.
This annoying thing called Death
I'm finally finding some time to sit down and write about my latest trip.
It took me a while since I didn't really know how to start.
I had planned a busy 5 days visit to Italy, with travels to Rome (to watch my cousin Davide taking part in the army oath to become an officer), Ferrara (to run a Marathon) and some rest in between.
Then, something happened: my football manager, Ken Ormston (he took charge of my football team last summer) died in his bed on Friday night.
Even if I didn't know him so well, at least compared to my other teammates, it was a surreal news.
You know, the death of someone you know takes you by surprise all the time. I guess even your own death will take you by surprise, although we know that Death is a debt we all must pay (I'll have some time to get ready for it, hoping that this debt won't be as big as my credit card balance).
I think I've never received so many phone calls from my team. I didn't even know some of the people that called me, or tried to, since I was in Rome and I just left my phone in Milan.
So when I finally came back home, after another 6 hours on the train, I was too tired to actually believe it. Only the next morning, just before (again!) running to the station to catch another train, I realized the scope of what was happened.
Few days later, while talking (with someone who was much closer to Ken than me) about Death (and other meaningful things fuelled by Jack Daniels), someone said something about God's plan. I will remember his answer: "Sorry, I don't think there is any God. And even if there is, his plan sucks big time".
I guess that everytime someone you know and respect dies, faith just hides away.
Back to the report.
I left London on Thursday, on what it seems is a great day to take a plane from Gatwick: no queues and I was sitting in the area beyond the passport control, waiting for my plane, within 10 minutes of stepping into the airport.
I bought my usual stash of magazines to read something on the plane: Arena
, which used to one of the best magazines - and now sadly not even the Avril Lavigne e Keeley photo shoots can seem to help it reach the old standards - and Nuts (or Zoo, no idea, they look the same, even the naked girls inside) and few hours later I landed safely in Malpensa, Milan
, 20 minutes away from home.
My personal chauffeur (my dad) collected my and we drove in a beautiful warm spring day of March towards town.
Only now that I'm leaving London to go to South Africa I began to remember how nice spring is over here. I think it is the first time in 6 years that I decided to visit Italy when the weather is at its best: not cold anymore and just warm enough to enjoy a game of football on Sunday (yeah, my life cycle has always been regulated by football...).
I didn't spend much time at home: I planned to travel to Rome the same night to be there in time to see my cousin Davide becoming the first officer in my family. I was supposed to travel with my dad or my uncle, but they were both tired and ill, so it was down to me to represent them.
It was a perfect plan, at least on pape
r: tickets bought by my sister weeks in advance, enough time to get to the Milano Centrale Station and a 6 hours train trip during the night, so I could rest and arrive in Rome with enough time to spare.
Unfortunately, I didn't take in consideration the awful Ferrovie dello Stato
. These bastards
decided to go on a strike with a short notice just minutes before the departure.
Yes, they offered my an alternative way to get to Rome: a bus.
No, let me re-phrase that: ONE bus. For a whole train.
I stepped outside the station just to check the availability but what I saw reminded me of zombie horror movies: a crowd of 300 (or more) angry south Italians (the train was completing its course in Napoli or Salerno) trying to get on the 50 seats-bus with their huge luggage. J
ust like watching Italians immigrating to America once again.
I had two choices: either stay in the station and wait until the 5.30am train, already booked-out, and hope for a miracle, or go back home, convince my sister in driving me back to the station at 6am, and jump on the first train available to Rome.
I looked around. Milano Centrale
by night looks a set from some prison movie.
The population is formed by maybe 20 homeless people
, who, apart from the stink, don't bother me at all, two patrolling policeman
and 100 Albanians
doing their dodgy deals and generally ruining the already very low reputation of their country with criminal acts
(and faces, just to convince you that Albania is a worst than Sacha Baron Cohen idea of Kazakhstan.
At the end I've opted for the safe way, and, tired and deprived of sleep, I was on my way to Rome on Friday morning.
I need to thank my ipod for all the joy it gave me by let me see for 5 hours, on the train -without dying - the first 10 episodes of Heroes
, my current favourite american
show after Lost's third season disappointments. And, just like in Lost
with Hurley and Locke, the best characters aren't always always the top
In this case Hiro
is by far the best thing in the show.