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Parma to Val Camonica – Wrap up

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We got up at 7am and got ready to leave. Alessandra and her mother were keen to leave as soon as possible, because if there was any traffic incident on the route out of the valley, there could be some bad delays. Apparently there is only one road out, and if it’s blocked, then you’re basically stuck if you’re going by car.

In any case, we got to airport in good time, and went straight to security. Here we go again. This time, my luggage got flagged up for a whole host of things! First, the laptop–which admittedly I should’ve taken out–but also the razor, the scissors in the first-aid kit, the pack of razor blades (for the first time!), and the razor itself. I even had to unscrew the razor to show there was no blade in it! Very thorough, though…they still didn’t pick up the mini cologne spray. Ah, ah…

Both Alessandra and I were carrying a shopping bag, in addition to our main luggage and shoulder-bag. She was concerned that we might not be allowed to board if the shopping bag wasn’t one from the airport itself. Apparently they are very strict here about what they allow onto the plane. You are allowed one main suitcase, a small shoulder/handbag, and one shopping bag from the secure area of the airport. So, the make sure, we bought some drinks from the duty-free shop and piled all our other stuff into the bags the shop gave us.

The flight home was pleasant enough, and we arrived at Stansted in good time. From there, we took the Stansted Express train back to London, and had a last blast of our trip when we were served coffee by an Italian employee on the train, who’d overheard us talking in the ‘dolce lingua’.

Well, here I am back home in good old London town. No place like home, indeed–I feel it every time I return from a trip, no matter how short. The magnets have proudly taken their place on the fridge, the biscuits are ready to take to the office, and the Verona figurine is on display. The fantasy paintings from the artist in Bienno are still rolled up, awaiting their frames.

As for the infamous moka pot, it’s back in its box, awaiting its next ordeal on the flames…

It’s been quite a packed trip, with so many new places in such a short period of time. Parma seems ages ago now! Val Camonica in particular was beautiful, and it was really nice to visit my friend and her family there. There is much that I have always liked about Italian culture, though clearly no country is perfect, and Italy has more than its fair share of problems. The ups and downs of everyday life–with their moments of happiness and tragedy–tend not to respect the rolling landscapes or picturesque buildings. Beauty sometimes genuinely is only skin deep. But there is time enough for such thoughts. For now, I shall happily dream about the tranquillity of the Piazza del Duomo at midnight, the vibrant chatter on the Strada Garibaldi, the sparkling blue sea and bright coloured houses of the Cinque Terre, the ancient grandeur of the Arena di Verona, and the company of friends in a sun-drenched valley in deepest Lombardy.

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