Step Forward Ryanair….
Having recently felt the need to vent my spleen (so to speak) with EasyJet, I also made the comparison with that other well known budget airline Ryanair. How ironic then that I ended up using that most infamous of budget airlines once again…
A company I needed to visit in Italy is located close to Bergamo airport. It just so happens that This coincided with my weekends in th south of Spain with my boy. Even more of a coincidence was the fact that Ryanair fly between Malaga and Bergamo. Conveniently for me eh? Well, we are about to find out…
The flight began boarding on time, as advertised on the flight information screens. A good start. Unfortunately, as soon as I got on board I noticed the stuffy climate. There was hardly any ventilation. So, those who pay the premium and board first (so called ‘Priority Boarding’) – including myself of course – managed to soak their shirts in sweat. Quite uncomfortable. Everyone seemed to be commenting on how hot it was and/or fanning themselves while trying desperately to get some respite form the overhead aircon units. Not the best of starts.
But then after that once boarding was complete and the doors were closed the aircon kicked in and off we went. Ok. Not quite. There was a slight delay while “waiting for an air traffic control slot” – that well used, official excuse.
After that I tried to sleep a little. I must have succeeded as I managed to miss the in-flight catering service. What a shame! We landed about 20 minutes late in the end.
Too early to say, but I do have a few more Ryanair flights coming up in the next couple of weeks so I will reserve judgment until a later time.
Taxi and Hotel
The real fun started when I took a taxi. About 6km from my destination the taxi suffered a tyre puncture. The driver limped the car off the road to a nearby petrol station where he attempted to get it fixed/replaced. This was not going to be done quickly so I sent a message to the people I was to be working with. They came and collected me within 10 minutes. Not before the taxi driver charged me 48 Euros however! The cheeky f**ker!
My company had supposedly booked me a hotel for the week. It turned out that this was at Bergamo airport! What? An airport hotel was the last thing I needed. Then one of the guys I was working with suggested I stay at Lake Iseo. It was much closer than Bergamo airport and a much nicer place to spend a few nights. He even found a place online and phoned them to check price and availability.
I took it. A small hotel in a small town called Sarnico, right on the lake. A better price, much closer to “work” and such a beautiful setting. And, importantly with lots of great restaurants. My first ever visit to the Italian lakes. Various people have told me in the past how they had loved their time spent in the Italian lakes. It only takes a split second to see why. This work thing can be just about bearable sometimes.
Meanwhile, in Italy…
I like Italy and sometimes think that I haven’t spent enough time seeing what the country has to offer. Many people compare Italy with Spain. They say it is similar in many ways and they like it for much the same reasons; Italy, it is often said, is like Spain but more polished. Like Spain might be when it’s finished (Spain always looks like some building or roadworks needs completing). Another comparison you may hear is that Spain is like Italy in many ways but has that added chaos. Or even that Spain has that ‘couldn’t give a damn attitude’. John Hooper’s book The New Spaniards mentions this. He suggests that this is what people love about Spain. The ‘mañana attitude’ and chaotic things that can make Spain so frustrating also make it such a fun place to be.
Which reminds me: John Hooper wrote a similar book about Italy called The Italians which I feel I must now read.