This post was originally written whilst waiting for a flight to Sicily from Milan’s Malpensa airport.
We’re sitting in the marbled monotony of the departure gate at Milan’s Malpensa airport after the first leg of our trip, which saw us take the train from Spiez through the alpine tunnels as far as Domodossola. The new Lötschberg tunnel, which burrows beneath the mountains through to canton Valais, is both an improvement in terms of speed and a disappointment because it cuts out the need to go through the particularly picturesque scenery of the alpine stretch of the older Lötschberg line. Instead of the longer route which we’ve taken with the “Pendolino” (tilting) train to Milan in the past, which has been superseded by the newer tunnel, we sped to Visp in darkness in a little over 20 minutes and onward to the seemingly eternal grey and damp border area of Iselle and Domodossola.
Once there, we switched to the Comazzi bus service, which leaves from the bus area next to the main station. Although we’d taken advice from their website and booked ahead, the onward transport service to Milan’s main airport was by minibus and we had it to ourselves for the first half of the journey. For the remarkably reasonable sum of €23 (one way) for both Jo and me, we enjoyed the equivalent of a private taxi service, stopping off only once in a small town to pick up a small, quiet Piemontese family before bouncing our way over shabby main roads to Malpensa. Milan’s main airport is the city airport in the same way that Stansted serves London: from the countryside some distance away from the metropolitan sprawl.
The unexpected timekeeping of our Italian conveyance so far means that we are well ahead of schedule. We’ve had an hour reading books on hard metal benches before check-in, and can now look forward to another hour and a half at the departure gate with fellow passengers, surrounded by marble, aluminium, yellow plastic and the sounds of tin foil being unwrapped and the munching of dentured pensioners heading south. If you’ll excuse me, I think I make take a stroll now, so as to avoid doing the old woman next to us an injury.