A brief stopover on the way home to Perth.
20.06.2013 - 20.06.2013 35 °C
When we arrived in Italy a week ago I didn't change the time on my phone - I just never got around to it. So consequently, when I set two alarms on my phone for 7.00 and 7.05 this morning - it was actually 6.00 and 6.05. We didn't realise this until we'd been up for half an hour. Oooops! We could have had an extra hour's sleep! On a day when every bit of sleep counts!
Ah well - had we have slept in till 7am we probably wouldn't have had the time to take our coffees and walk up all the steps here on the property to the top garden. We did this at about 9.30am - what a gorgeous morning it was. The view was just magic! We took our very last "Selfie" - Red will be relieved about that - and took more photos - just so that we don't forget. We will miss this place. Hopefully we'll come back, and if we do we'll stay at the Villa Albertina.
Enzo was ready for us at 10.15am, he told us that Antonella had knocked on our door earlier to say goodbye, and we weren't there. It must have been when we were up in the top garden. Anyhow, she passed on her goodbyes through Enzo.
We went downstairs with our bags and into his garage. It's actually made out of rock, he explained that they had to dynamite it out to make a hole for the garage! Crazy stuff! The 3 of us drove to Varenna Train Station in his little car - most cars are small here in this Italian region. The gentleman that he is - Enzo wheeled my bag on to the station and after a quick chat we bade farewell to our Italian friend.
Close to the arrival time of our train we walked across the tracks to the middle platform, and a couple of minutes later Antonella and Lago came bounding across the train tracks and up on to the little platform to say goodbye. She and Lago had run all the way from their home up to the station, hoping to catch us before the train arrived. We were so thrilled to see her and so touched that she and Lago made the effort to come to say goodbye to us. Actually, Lago would have loved the run, but Antonella was puffing, and she is super fit. An Aussie guy that we'd been talking to on the platform took our photo - so we have this moment recorded forever! More farewells, double kisses and waves goodbye - and our train arrived about 2 minutes later.
We watched the beautiful mountains pass by, and then all of a sudden - no more mountains. Just flat territory, then little towns, then suburbs, then Milan.
Our transition from one train to the next was seamless - so different to our arrival in Milan. We walked from one platform to another, and hopped on the Malpensa Express. There weren't many people on board, there was plenty of storage room for our luggage (memories of the nightmare on the train from Zagreb to Budapest!), the train was air-conditioned, roomy, quiet and took off smoothly.
We arrived at Milan Airport in 45 minutes and found our way to the Qatar Check In counter - one of a multitude of Check In counters. Malpensa Airport is huge. We got caught again with my small cabin baggage - not for weight, but for width. The woman who was tagging cabin luggage announced to me - "It doesn't fit Madam, you need to take something out". Oh, just great! We found a quiet corner and moved some gear from my cabin luggage to Red's big bag. When we went back - the lady wasn't even there - it was unattended! Now that's inconsistency! We got to the Check In counter to be told that our flight had been delayed by 2 hours. Oh, just great! Qatar requests that you arrive 3 hours before your flight's departure time, so instead of having 3 hours to kill, we had 5!
This was not necessarily a big concern, because we had a 3 hour stopover in Doha, which would have been reduced considerably, but our main concern now is that we might miss that flight to Perth. We took off 45 minutes later than the 2 hour delay. Our expected arrival time in to Doha is 1am, and our flight to Perth is boarding at 1am!