Getting to VinItaly in Verona is my own version of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
I left home about 1.00pm for a 3.50pm flight....I hate lines and I love getting value out of my Qantas Club Membership.
The flight to Dubai is pretty good....if you think that 14 hours upright in a steel tube that somehow gets off the ground weighing 580 tonnes (thanks for pointing that out captain), 10kms above terra firma with 400 assorted friends, staring at the back of your chair is fun. I don't mind flying, but there are times during that 14 long hours where I question the absurdity of the whole thing.
Emirates Business Lounges accept Qantas Frequent Flyers and this makes the journey possible. They have individual bathrooms where you can shower, shave and change in comfort. And in their lounge there is always Champagne and Bordeaux ...on this occasion it was Moët rose and Chateau Potensac....hey, I know it's 2am in the morning but the body clock thinks it's 9am....mmmmmm.
Another 7 hours to Milan...with much gratefulness to Emirates for endlessly showing the flight path going over places that evoke only difficult images for Australians.....Baghdad et al. Arrive in Milan, pass through the very (never) friendly Italian customs and then an hour bus ride into Milano Centrale. This must be one of the world's great train stations. Absolutely stunning architecture (that an Iphone cannot do justice to )....good coffee.....a bistro that serves amazing food and wine....and free wifi....bliss. Catch the Freccia Bianca to Verona ....another 2.5 hrs.....a 10 minute cab ride into the city ....and I arrive at my accommodation 32 hours after leaving home. Now it is not like Cook coming to Australia, but it feels like a long time....in fact it almost feels like you have been inside a travel simulator for those 32 hours and you step out in the same place you started ....in a Disneyland type place where the actors are fluent in Italian.
I have only managed 1 hour sleep en route but like a seasoned traveller I think it important to try and fit in to the time zone. It is about 1pm when I arrive in Verona so with great will I try and make it to at least nightfall. I walk for a couple of hours, have a beer at the usual bar and then find a restaurant that is open all day...pretty unusual in Italy. The waiter is very kind, discovers that I am in town for VinItaly and recommends "un boena vino" that they are pouring by the glass. It is such a lovely wine, I rate in 99/100...proceed to have a fantastic meal of anchovies and potatoes followed by the best pasta carbonara....another glass of wine.....the same.....why not? The first meal in Verona is perfect and I happily go up and pay my bill. A blackboard is above the register and I squint and recognise the wine that I have drunk....Quintarelli Amarone 2006......I squint harder....does that say €60 per glass?....oh dear....it does. The owner asks whether I am famous wine person in Australia....certainly I am now.
Vinitaly 2016 begins.