Updated: Feb 25, 2021
I left London in the morning of January 14th, 1990, after a rousing goodbye party the night before in the Pub Britannica where I had been employed as a bartender. We pulled the iron shutter closed, closed the curtains and began pouring beer. A co-worker mused, "I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to be locked inside a bloody pub with his mates!" It may have been one of my best, if not most memorable, going-away parties.
My destination via Milano Linate airport was a town I’d never visited while in school in Florence, Italy called “Bergamo”. When I had lived in Florence a few years prior, I lived in a pensione, "Pensione Casci" Gonzaga University had rented for students. It was located mere blocks from the Duomo and Piazza Signoria. A sky high rent district found smack in the middle of Renaissance culture locales: The Ponte Vecchio, Michaelangelo, the Uffizzi, Santa Croce, the Duomo...it was endless.
However, what awaited me in Bergamo was not remotely close to what I was imagining as the plane began its decent and the stewardess addressed us in Italian to buckle up.
Her advice, although unknown to me at the time, was prophetic. Buckle up indeed.