Tuesday, 3 June 2008


With six kilograms of toiletries and seven pairs of shoes, my bags were packed. My bike however took a little longer. It took half an hour and three people to remove my pedals (did I really do them up that tight?!) and then I managed to break a gear cable before packing it into the bike box! The dilemma’s were sorted on the morning of, before a 3 hour car trip that signalled the beginning of my travels. Goodbyes were kept short at the airport to prevent a downpour of tears, and then I was by myself, as I would be for the next 30 hours (pictured). My head wasn’t quite screwed on when, after checking in my bags, I headed down the escalator to the domestic terminals! I didn’t manage any sleep on the 9 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, but I did meet a girl named Diane on her way to Dubai, and we spent the time watching movies and crying through all four! Sad I know…

Coincidentally, I met Brett Lancaster’s Mother in Law on the plane and she joined me for a $7 iced chocolate (that tasted like Milo, milk and ice) when we stopped over in KL. On my flight through to Rome, I met a guy called Dave who suffers from Epilepsy, and for take off, landing and through any sort of turbulence, he was having small fits and kicking the shit out of my chair!! Not surprisingly, I forgave him. The journey continued and on arriving in Rome, I had three hours before venturing through to Milan. It turns out that I needed 2.5 of those to simply get to my gate! It went a little something like this. A bus ride to the terminal, a long wait in passport control, no euro coins for a trolley, 10 solid minutes of dragging my bike box to three different terminals in the rain (a mandatory rest period is pictured), a lift that stopped only at the floors above and below my destination, waiting in three lines to find the right one, paying $50 euro for the transport of my bike over the hour flight.

Once my luggage was finally checked in my afternoon proceeded like this. I was bombarded by a group of Chinese tourists through security, paid for a muffin in one line and had to shove my receipt in the face of staff to actually get it, walked a mile to gate B3 as my ticket indicated, only to be directed to B15 to encounter the rudest and most ignorant staff member ever, who served three people behind me and answered four phone calls while I waited patiently. Then eventually, I caught the bus out of gate B11. So I think it’s official, I hate Rome airport! I was tired and hungry, and my half hour sleep and light refreshments didn’t do much to relieve the sorrow. So somehow, I managed to survive my first solo international flying experience, and arrive, for the first time, in Italy! I am now part of the Castronno community, and after just 4 hours in this tiny town, I have already taste tested the gelati!