I am unsure of the date. Sitting in Oslo airport and even Julia notices that it is beautiful. Wood, dark brown leather and grey steel is the decorating theme. Sleek and rich, modern and spare yet warm. The signs and adds are all in both Norwegian and English which is somewhat disconcerting. The diversity of travelers here is no less diverse than some major USA airport although there is a heavier sprinkling of Scandinavian types than I am not used to. Two Italian business men sit close by talking — one very quickly. It is not the Italian of Little Italy or my learn Italian CDs. There is a red rose on the floor under one of their seats that gives the scene a cinematic quality. When our flight is called, no one picks up the rose.
People have heavier jackets than we are carrying. I don’t think we will need it in Italy. Flight announcement in Norwegian and Italian. When the English announcement comes, I feel strangely relieved although I could probably follow directions in any language. It is the same as anywhere. We went through immigration and airport security in Oslo. The Americans holding up the line because none of us take our iPads or phones out of day packs or bags. They could use a sign.
We are back on a plane again. I am beginning to feel like this is a long travel day. Days. I’ll sleep through this one. We are almost leaving Oslo without even time to wait on a coffee line. Reminds me of stopping in Tiepei on our way to Vietnam. I didn’t even take the time to learn hello, thank you or excuse me in Norwegian. Will I ever see Oslo?
The first challenge of the journey–my iPad keyboard has stopped working. It could be the battery. I did not bring its charger because it’s literature promised months of power not three week’s worth. I don’t like tapping on the screen but I’ll get used to it.
Onboard our second flight,sleep is ready to claim me soon as we lift off. I ask Julia to put down the magazine and sleep. She would rather get out her iPad. I tell her I will sleep and I’m gone. Awhile later when I open my eyes she is passed out with the magazine open to the same page she was on when I fell asleep. We both sleep for about an hour. I wish it was 2 but after a coffee, brought my a very considerate attendant who is refilling cups not handing out first cups, I can feel the slight headache that is sleep deprivation plus caffeine. I expect to catch another hour on the bus to Torino.
Torino. When we land, we will be in Milano and I will have to navigate to Torino by bus after we get some money from an ATM and find a SIM card for the iPad. I am apprehensive. Slightly. We will be rewarded at the end of this long day with a warm welcome to the home of my old friend, Silvia. She is the daughter of the family that David and I rented our Frascati flat from. She was 21 when I saw her last. She was always easy to talk to and warm and generous.
I need to brush my teeth and wash my face before we get on that bus. I look so forward to a friend’s home but we will not have the luxury of cleaning up and resting up at an anonymous hotel before presenting ourselves for hugs and kisses. Yes, vanity. This is the unattractive present. Without a moment’s hesitation, I wish for the rested feelings of tomorrow after a night’s sleep and a shower. But how crazy, insanely foolish to wish away 18 hours of Italy. I will not. Almost as a dessert to that thought, out the window is a blue sky, whispy clouds and jagged snow covered mountains. Alps? I don’t want to wish away a moment.
The Milan airport was easy, not like NYC’s LaGuardia or anything in Chicago. Smaller than Milwaukee, more like Indianapolis. And because we we cleared for immigration in Oslo, we collect bags in Milan and proceed outside. We catch an earlier than expected bus which was late according to schedule and the drive was an easy, traffic free jaunt. I slept almost the entire time, rousing every so often to remembering I wanted to see the scenery. Those were brief glances and back to sleep. The bus was the least comfortable part of traveling but I simply gave out.
Now, hours later, after much talking, a long walk through the center of town and the first gelato–creama con limone for Julia and nocciola for me both with whipped cream on top–and supper and conversation, I am ready for bed. I will sleep forever. Completely at home and amazingly confused and befuddled.