In Search of the San Siro
Trip Start Feb 11, 2012
6Trip End Feb 19, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
So much has happened since Polly and I concluded our global expedition on a bike. Bosham Primary school is now a big part of our lives and Polly is enjoying working with a new class of wonderful children. Midhurst Rother College goes from strength to strength and I continue to work very hard to be part of what we hope will be the best school in Sussex. Family and friends grow with engagements, weddings and new arrivals (‘big kisses’ by the way to my 3 day old God-son, Toby James Storton) and of course, Lavant FC are top of the league with promotion to Sussex Premier league looking a dead cert.
So what is this trip all about? Well, in my early teens there was a wonderful programme on Channel 4 called ‘Football Italia’. Many Sunday afternoons were spent watching these beautiful athletes kick a ball around. With their flowing dark hair, rough but cared for stubble and deep rich tans, they were the footballers I wanted to be. One day ‘Nevelli’ would score against Lazio and the world would hear a completely over-the-top commentator scream "GOOOOOAAAALLLLLLLL NEVELLLLLLLIIIIII". As the years passed, the flowing dark hair never appeared and I was left with a scruffy short crop and rough stubble that became ever more ginger
I decided a few months ago that the least I could do was go and watch these footballing heroes. So here I am, off to the San Siro in Milan to watch the Champions League game between Arsenal and AC Milan. I plan to rock up in Geneva tonight by train and then on Monday morning, start the 280 mile bike ride to Milan. Weather reports are not looking good with heavy snow both sides of the Swiss-Italian border but I am determined to arrive at the stadium of my dreams by bicycle.
The first signs earlier in the day were not great. A two minute walk to Bosham station resulted in an immediate change of plans. There was a broken down train which was clearly not going anywhere for some time. Polly scraped off the ice from the Audi windscreen and off we screeched to Havant where I connected with the Waterloo train.
Attempts to get stuck into the Saturday papers were derailed by an extremely annoying South African lady who was determined to use all of her 500 free minutes a month before she reached Slough
Desperate to find out more about why ‘Arry Rednapp is the only choice for the new England boss, I had to move, only to position myself next to the most boring quartet of people you could ever imagine. The two forty-something married couples were off to London to do things like ‘see the Queen and ride on the wheel’. They continued to distract me from the papers but at least they reminded me that I really must keep believing that I am 18 yrs old and never accept that I am creeping up on 40. If I ever get to the point where I am sitting on a train talking about the capacity of a laptop processor or whether my next leather jacket should be ¾ length or fur lined, please inject me swiftly with a lethal cocktail.
Kings Cross St Pancras was a relaxed affair. I sat outside for a while before scabby heroin addicts asking for change drove me back to the comfort of Marks and Spencers. I got over the experience with an extravagant BLT. I photographed the incredible structure of St Pancras station and pondered on the words of Betjamen, whose verse is scattered across the terminal floor
Having rolled across Kent and then Northern France, all was looking great until the announcement that we would be half an hour late into Gare du Nord. This meant that my short trip on the metro across to Gare de Lyon suddenly turned into The Krypton Factor. I had only 25 minutes to translate the station signs, withdraw Euros, buy a ticket, dive across platforms and board the 18:11 Geneva express. Gare du Nord was not as welcoming as St Pancras and I was pleased to speed through across the concourse and jump on the waiting train.
Now on my way on the TGV down through France, I am on track and should meet Sid in Geneva at 9pm. The refreshment car has not lived up to the standards one might expect from this cuisine rich country. No food or water, just Kronenbourg 1664 and jus d’orange. Thank goodness Polly sneaked a valentines present into my bag. The jumbo size Toblerone is substituting well for the l’escargots and champagne I was hoping for.
Miles Cycled: 0. Car, Train, Tube, Train, Tube, Train, Car.