Thursday, July 06, 2017

going home

As always, I am up just before the phone rings with the wake up call. This day will be long and I have three flights before me, one of them very long, but my Milan airport is close (like, the Warsaw airport -- just 30 minutes by city bus), my layovers are comfortable, the sun is out, life is good.

I check out without breakfast. I'm back to saving money. I'll have a (free) munch at the airports and gobble food on the flights.

The young man at the checkout counter has the name tag of Pawel. He speaks perfect Italian and English, but I know that name to be Polish! I immediately switch languages and he does a double take -- nothing in your record indicates... 
Yes, well, you know how it is -- you leave, change names, passports. But in fact I'm just coming from Warsaw.
And how did you like it?
What, Warsaw? Milan? The hotel?
Let's start with the hotel...

He is such a friendly, genial young man! And it strikes me that at the Guilia, it must be in the job description: be not only warm and cheerful, but energetically so! They all seem to bounce with enthusiasm for the hotel, for your stay there, for life!

It's really a wonderful thing to be surrounded by upbeat people.

I walk to my bus stop (Pawel confirmed that they just moved it about a month or two ago), crossing the Duomo Square and I think -- every city in the early morning (it is now 7 a.m.) is interesting. Even Milan.


I linger and watch the early morning buzz around the square. You're okay, Milan. Not great, but then, we can't all be above average.

The bus (no 73) departs every six minutes and costs 1.5 Euro and is practically empty. I highly recommend it.

Here's an interesting view of the Duomo, as seen through the bus window.


And finally, here's my meager breakfast at the airport. Oh well. Free is free and I do like the yellow arm chair.


Just one more photo from Europe. It'll be a sad day when I fly over the Alps and am not inspired to find a beautiful image there. This one, of the Matterhorn and, too, of the hills and mountains that lead up to is seemed especially enchanting.


I have a long-ish layover in Paris, which is fine: the terminal used for transatlantic flights is spacious and attractive. I've been sleeping well and so I am not wiped out. Still, life may be good, but it offers its periodic showers (sometimes hailstorms) of stresses and so I am thrilled to see that Air France (my overseas airline today) is partnering with Clarins (a French facial cream company) to give free (yes, free!) twenty minute neck and facial treatments. All you have to do is sign up.

I do sign up! I'm sure my email address will now be putty in their corporate advertising hands, but it will have been worth it!

I choose the "radiance" treatment because it has cherries in the picture and that seems so right for this season.

The massage and treatment are exquisite! This isn't the serious one hour deal I would have had in Poland, where they work hard to clean and buff up your poor, tired skin. This is a treatment where lights are dim and there is New Age music in the background and the woman who works on you is there to make you love what she is doing to you, whether or not it makes a great difference going forward.

I know about all the science behind aging skin (you can't really stop it). I'm familiar with the reports that demonstrate that expensive creams do little to make your skin look young again. To tell you the truth, I don't care that much about looking this way or that -- I want it to feel good. As good as it can be, at whatever age it is.

Maybe I took a little of Parma home with me?

And despite the day of travel, my face and neck feel grand! I'm thinking maybe my grandmother figured this out intuitively: feel good and look good are indeed intimately connected. My grandma had a beautiful old face. If there were wrinkles on it -- they would have been the laugh kind. For her granddaughters, she always had a chuckle. Until recently, I thought this was just some genetic miracle: a baby smooth skin, with no recourse to creams or some such nonsense. But just the other day, through the familial grapevine, I learned that my grandma regularly put cucumbers on her face at night. Surely not for my grandfather (for one thing he died much earlier) nor the village people.

Perhaps she was doing it for herself?

I promised a very short post! Let me fly (!) through the rest of the day:

If my ocean crossing east was bumpy, my return west was smooth as glass. I have no complaints. I ate, drank champagne (always free on Air France) and read two excellent books.

That would wrap it up for this trip except for this funny detail: I got it in my head that I had a three hour layover in Detroit and that my Madison flight left at 10. In fact it leaves closer to 8 (with less than an hour to catch it). I mixed up the last trip and the next one with this one. Do I need to slow down??

No, I do not. Not yet.

But I am so happy to see Ed there in his torn pants (Ed, why are you wearing long pants?? Mosquitoes...)  and ancient t-shirt, looking the best that he can be, waiting at the airport to take me home.