Regular readers will know that my work requires me to make regular short visits to other places in Europe, something that I consider to be a real privilege.But Europe is bigger than most of us think, and far more varied than one would imagine if one’s opinions were guided by the glib words of journalists and broadcasters who refer ad nauseam to ‘Euroland’ and ‘the Eurozone’ as if this were some kind of homogenous bloc.Bright-eyed young things who leap into jobs with a European responsibility soon learn that the concept of “The Single European Market” is nothing but fantasy.
At the Termini station in Rome however, there is still a preference for using actual humans to sell tickets, even though there are machines for the purpose, too.So a day spent racing around Milan with an enormous suitcase that the railway authorities deemed too heavy for their employee to carry a few yards taught me a lesson I didn’t forget. Inevitably of course, as that’s where all roads lead.I ask for my ticket in my very best Italian, to which the human promptly responds in fluent English. The efficient express service to Fumiciuno Airport is almost full.) over-estimating the time I would need to get through the various hoops of reaching my flight home.My varied travel experiences have led to the creation of my own personal myths and prejudices in my mind about the places I visit.