Over the next several days I will be telling you about my recent challenging, weird and wonderful 17 days in
The eight hours waiting for the KLM flight to
We took the full measure of the
We ate at one of the internal restaurants, sharing a salmon on piadina bread sandwich.
For the most part we wandered around feeling sleepy and tired. Near time for the flight I laid my head down on a snack bar table while BEG had a conversation with a woman on her way from
With a degree of mercy combined with mental and physical fatigue on our part it was finally 8:30 pm and time to board the flight to
The flight took us over the French Alps, which we couldn’t see in the dark, and into the
We walked into the dingy bowels of the luggage carousel area. It was depressing and dark, yet filled with travelers and activity. I remained in a fog that had been induced by sleep deprivation. We went to the desk labeled ‘lost baggage’, a small grime laden desk with 2 attendants. The girl available when we walked up spoke very limited English. I’m not really complaining. After all we were a guest and we were the ones that spoke only one language. With broken English from her, hand gestures from us and a little patience we presented our bag tags and told the story of the bags being in
Now we needed to make a key decision. It was midnight in
I knew from my research on Riccione that it was a popular European tourist area. I knew it was layered in hotels, bars and restaurants virtually nonstop for miles of beachfront. I decided, as any self-respecting urban creature would do, that all the above would be open when we arrived in Riccione. Did I mention yet that we didn’t know where our apartment was in Riccione? In my pocket was the apartment address; Via Petrarca 11. I never could get Google Earth to resolve the address and my coach Bill Collins told me there was no worry since the apartment rep was planning to meet us at the train station and lead us there. Of course I ended up not traveling with my teammates and at this point they had no clue where I might be. No one was carrying cell phones because none of us actually owned a GSM capable phone. We had all decided on international phone cards to make any calls back home. The apartment did not have a land line telephone. Communication with my teammates, even in the year 2007, was impossible. All laptops were left at home because the apartment also had no internet connections. Hard to believe. Its a cruel thing to have become so pampered in the age of communication and then have it jerked fully out of your grasp.
So my plan was as follows. Catch the Aerobus to the train station. Catch the train to Riccione. Walk into a hotel or bar and request a cab to deliver us to Via Petrarca 11. My teammates would be there and our long ugly travel plight would be over in about 2.5 hours. I would finally be able to sleep after 38 hours and prepare for my race the following day. Things were looking up.
Dark Fate smiled behind his veil, delighted with my decision, mirthful at my simple ignorance.