We’re about to start heading for Italy. This’ll involve taking the train to Belfast, the bus from Belfast to Dublin airport, and a Ryanair flight from there to Pisa. We are due to arrive after midnight so it’ll be after 1 a.m., I imagine, before we lay our weary heads down. I know there’s a future ahead when such round-the-houses movement from A to B will seem absurd but for the next century or so we’re stuck with it.
I don’t know why I like the Italians as much as I do. I’ve met a number of Italian creeps in my time – like every nationality they have their share – but in general as a people they have…style isn’t the word, and ‘la bella figura’ isn’t the term either. But there’s something alive about them, more vulnerable, more human. There’s a deliciously self-conscious quality to the men in particular – vanity, a sort of mild preening – that’s fun to watch. And of course they have scenery and history like other countries have lamp-posts. We’ll be spending a week in Lucca and a week in Fiore dei Something.
As always happens when I’m about to head off somewhere, I’ve developed a huge distaste for the hassle of it all and wonder why in God’s name I agreed to it and make a mental note that this won’t happen again. But then when I get there I normally find I’m glad I did and I have a sense of being in touch with a wider world, which is not just enjoyable but necessary.
Bon voyage a nous…