Friday! We’re all departing from different ports today, due to meet in Venice tomorrow morning. Everything ready. All I need to do is put the last few bits in the bag, then head for the train station.
It’s 15.55… the train leaves in less than 10 minutes! and, I’m stuck in a traffic jam! I’m not going to make it! And the [insert favourite swearword] bus blocking the way refuses to give way. I have to reverse back to let it through. Maybe the train will be late…
The train isn’t late! But, I am!
I get on the next available train, arriving at Gatwick less than five minutes after the ‘bag drop’ had closed (in time to board the flight… but that’s off no use without the bags containing ropes, climbing gear, tent, etc…). The staff at check in tries their best to get me on, but the gate refuses. So it’s off to BA’s customer service. They manage to get me on a later flight, at not extra cost, but to a different destination: Bologna – 100 plus kilometres from Venice, but a lot closer than I am at this precise moment…
The first train from Bologna to Venice leaves at 03.18 in the morning. I find a comfortable spot on the airport floor. Get my Masai blanket from the bag and set my alarm clock so that I can get on an early train and get to Venice Airport to meet Frog and Pigmy. (PS! Always have a blanket with you, it can keep you dry for a while, warm for a long time… plus, you can sit on it, sleep under it, and if you lose your clothes you can even wear it!!!!
I get a few more hours of cramped up sleep on the train, before finally arriving at Venice Mestre. I could do with some more sleep… Then it’s on the bus to Venice Airport, where I discover a few metal benches, away from the main entrance, curl up and go to sleep.
When I wake at 9.00am, Frog and Pigmy’s flight has landed. The adventure has begun!
PS! I did briefly think of arriving at the hotel that I had booked into; at 6.30 am in the morning… I decided they may not appreciate it – hence sleeping on the hard metal bench.