Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Two words: Lon. Don.

I am back.

I have been meaning to update this for a while to be honest. But I was tired. And I wanted to at least try to do it properly. So now I am attempting to write on an uncomfortable plastic chair in the shade looking at the Italians frolicking on the lawn. And smoking. They're always smoking. I think I'm going to come home with emphysema. Ah well. Maybe I can do one of those ads on the Dangers of Second-hand Smoke.

Back to the point. Last week I made a very spontaneous decision. You see, lessons on Wednesday had been cancelled and since I am as free as a bird on Thursday and Friday I decided I had to go somewhere. For a brief moment it seemed as though my sister was going to join me in a trip to Florence. But she bailed on me for "educational reasons". I don't really blame her, she's doing her O Levels. 

After that there was only one logical choice really: London! I mean, why not? One message to Jenny later and I had booked my flights. It was perfect timing actually, considering that it was Jen's twentieth birthday yesterday. She's all grown up now. No more teen years. It's all downhill from here. Next year our lungs will start deteriorating. (Thanks go to Ruth for that lovely nugget of information).  Another shout out goes to Jeremy B, my godbrother (?...I say it exists.) He turns sixteen today God bless :)

I planned my journey down to a tee. I even wrote down all the info on a fullscap that I would carry around with me. I was oh-so-efficient. Or so I thought. Looking back, it's probably a good thing I didn't take my laptop with me. Otherwise you would have read a blog dripping with bile and venom and HATRED towards all Italians. Joe, you would have been proud. Let me explain.

I arrived at the airport bright and early, a full 30 mins before my train was scheduled to leave. I looked at my watch and smiled. Plenty of time. I'd planned to arrive at the airport in Milan half an hour before my flight to Gatwick opened for check in. Loads of time. I sat on a bench in the sun, pulled out my book, looked up at the announcement board, and frowned. A little red notice had come up: my train was now running 35mins late. No matter. Had time to spare. I sat there for forty minutes. Then, I heard the dreaded jingle that precedes all transport-related messages of panic and anxiety. I listened. I froze in horror. My train had been cancelled. Cancelled.

I RAN to the Admin Office and pleaded with them to find me another way to get to Milan. I called my dad a couple of times. My breathing became more erratic. The man in charge made a few calls. Then he told me that the next train heading to Milan would leave at 12.06. It was around that time that I started to hyperventilate. But there was nothing I could do. I would still make it. Just. So I waited.
Eventually, 12 o'clock rolled around.





Where's the fracking train????

Yes. You guessed. It was delayed. By the time I got to Milan I missed my shuttle to the airport. I had to get on the next bus. Surprise surprise: it was late. I was oddly calm at this point. The lull before the storm. My exit from the bus can only be described as a leap. I was halfway through the security check before I realised that hadn't actually checked in. That was it. The boarding gate closed. I had officially been beaten by the Italian transport system. 

Thankfully the next flight was at 6.00pm. A mere three hours later. Fifty Euros poorer and still pretty pissed off, it didn't feel like much of a consolation at that point.

Once that ordeal was over, I could finally enjoy myself. Like Jen said: It's happened to me once. At least the first time won't be with 7 screaming kids or something. Her words, not mine.

I love London. I really do. It's one of those places where I don't feel like a tourist. I love the be-who-you-want-to-be vibe. I love the energy, the life that I feel when I'm there. Oh, and I l-o-v-e the food. Seriously. I went mad. Jen lives 5 minutes away from a place called Planet Organic. That's all I can say. Pret-a-Manger? If I could live there I would. For the muffins and cinnamon granola alone. There was even an EAT. in Topshop! Too good. Sigh. I'm really going to miss the food. You get tired of Caprese after a while, you know? Chicken doesn't seem to exist in Verona, in any shape or form. And I'm not really a prosciutto crudo kind of gal. They don't get it. It's quite fun to observe their helpless expression when you ask them for a meatless option. Quite precious. So the flag is flying at half-mast today as I mourn London food.

OK, you knew it was coming. You must have been preparing yourself for the raving that is to follow, so here it comes: the ART! Oh my. I went to the National Gallery twice. Did I mention I was only in London for two days? I couldn't help myself...it's so big! I actually took down notes on my musuem map so that I would remember all that I'd seen. Van gogh, Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Degas, Caravaggio, Carracci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso, Velazquez, Ribera, Van Eyck, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt...the list is endless. Alone and teary-eyed once again, museum-Krissie took over for the six hours that I was in that building. I think I need a moment of silence to appreciate the glory of the experience.


And we're back. Honestly, I think I'm going to have withdrawal symptoms when I come home and leave all the artistic magnificence behind. Sniff. I don't even want to think about it. I bought a badge. It says LoveArt. I think I'm going to pin it onto my bag so that people will be warned of my crazed addiction before it hits them. It's the right thing to do.

Ruth joined us on Friday. We laughed, we sang ABBA at karaoke, we made lists (ahemm.), we went to Camden and played dress up, we ate a lot of muffins. OK fine. I ate a lot of muffins. I can't resist their blueberry goodness...

It was grand. Thanks again Jen.

Oh and, in case you were wondering, I made it home without so much as a five-minute delay. Actually, I was early.

Oh Pret. I'll miss you so...

I so should have bought that hat.


Simon said...

i really need to draw your cartoon version of you

Matt said...

Haha, ok so:

1. Simon, do it. If not I will.

2. It's about time you started hating the italians.

3. There is mention of food and art in every single post. I'm so happy for you (this isn't sarcasm, it's genuine, I'm happy you're having such a great experience :) )

4. I'm trying to think of what would have the same effect on me that these museums have on you and i'm coming up rather dry...

Matti said...

One quick telephone to my taxi services and you would have been faster there than the train! :p

nessa said...

hehe you make it sound like London's just round the corner from Verona...Such a courageous girl are you. :D Bdw sorry i dont have many skype or otherwise conversations with you, but im not too good at the long distance thing. But I do love you xx

Steve Diacono said...

As soon as u mentioned all those artists I began to drool. Its like porn for art geeks XD. Dam your lucky.
I'm stuck here with none of that; so enjoy whilst you can:P.

tc kri
Gb xx

Anonymous said...

hey kris :)
what fun! the national is amazing. hah i spent 6 hours there too when i went!...drove my family crazy

hope you're enjoying it man! tis is one CRAZY experience, make the most of it :)

dru x

Allie said...

You're so funny Kris. This is as good as receiving mail in the post! Mummy

Anonymous said...

hi kris your writing style is developing into an art!!! entertaining!! keep it up, enjoy it.... and if you look well enough i am sure fair verona will cough up some goodies other than carpese too!!!