This was a journey to stir memories and pull at heartstrings.
A short hop to Schiphol, the hub where adventures in North America, Africa and Eastern Europe began. Travelling to meet a lover, travelling with a lover, travelling with friends, but always travelling with anticipation.
Better to travel hopefully than to arrive?
I don’t think so, but that’s not to say that the travelling doesn’t have its pleasures.
The Swiss Alps rim lit by a setting sun take me back to a descent on skis of Saas Fee’s White Pearl, on foot down Gornergrat, and most of all an abortive attempt to drive over the Simplon Pass from the Valais into Italy, notable for a photograph of my then infant daughters shivering in a snow drift in summer shorts.
Such wistfulness is soon replaced by excitement as the plane begins its own descent and soon we are flying low over an expanse of water and marshland on the airport approach.
I emerge into darkness and begin my onward journey on inky black waters,
blacker than the sepia in the cuttlefish that swim below my transport, blacker than the mussel shells that every diner in Osteria la Panocia d’Oro has chosen,
blacker than the ink that a local gondolier has sketched upon the osteria walls.
To begin with only occasional small lights pass by; other vessels that resemble pilot fish in the gloom, but soon the great city emerges and my heart knows it is better to arrive.