Big Lake to La Spezia – a trip to another world and time. This posting places some of the missing sequences back into the ‘Belimisio Italia blog. Bologna was just too fascinating not to write about right away, so this posting briefly covers the trip from home to Italy – enjoy.
La Spezia, at last. Every traveler knows the tiresome boredom and dull pain of long-distance travel. I won’t bore you with our venture from Anchorage through Seattle, to arrive and negotiate our way through the maddening over-saturated Frankfurt airport and on to Milan. The one notable mention is that the Seattle Airport appears to be taking tips from Frankfurt’s Airport on making it ridiculously difficult to navigate through its gates. We had to take three shuttles to get from the landing gate to the connecting gate – just crazy.
The other highlight was the cattle queue through Frankfurt’s security screening lines. In spite of coming off a secured airplane, one has to exit the secure area to transfer over to another connection, and re-enter the security screening! Even-though they have modern equipment and quite a few stations, the lines were incredibly long, perhaps easily a few hundred passengers deep. It’s ridiculous that with the apparent upgrades with the new screening hall that they still can’t accommodate the normal flow of passengers at a reasonable time. Note to self – Avoid Frankfurt at all possible costs!
After a night in the Milan airport Best Western, the trip picked up with a three-hour train ride to La Spezia. Overall. Our experience, except for the last leg, was much akin to slamming your thumb in the car door. We accomplished something as pedestrian as securing the car, but it was unnecessarily brutal.
The train ride was remarkable in that it was like receding back into time and into another worldly dimension. The Northern Italian city of Milan, near the border with Switzerland, models itself much like any other Germanic industrial city, but with an Italian flair. Staring out the window during our ride south, one could discern the changing characteristics of the countryside; the architecture, the colors, landscape that morphed from open fields into the sharp valleys, the tunnels, and foliage of palms and broad-leafed plants. All actively changed the further south we rode. As the train took a sharp left in Genoa, the Mediterranean popped into view. The overlooking hills were be-speckled with burnt umber, stuccoed walled structures, and terra cotta roofs, much different than the grays cement, steel and mason bricks up north.
Finally, nearly 48 hours from the cold and rain of Big Lake, we discovered our friends waiting on us at the central train station platform. Our Italian adventure was now begun.
In quick order, we met Pappa de Giovanni as he showed us the ropes to his son’s well-apportioned B&B apartment. From there off to the Mercado for bread, fruits, cold cuts, beer and wine, and then to a Pizzeria down the promenade street only a few blocks away. Our days on the adventure were looking up as we caught up on old times and enjoyed the local fruit nectars in liquid form. Day two was a good day.