Sunday, 5 August 2012

55 Today

I've tried to time my trips home so that they coincide with important triathlon training or racing dates. Thus far it's been quite successful. As a result I unfortunately missed Kate's birthday in May. Today the circle was made complete as I celebrated my 55th alone in Europe.

The day started off well. I slept in until 8am, had a simple breakfast and went for a long easy run. To be different I chose a route that I used from my previous apartment and haven't run since the beginning of June. It was nice, just over 9 miles in an hour and 20. It was quite humid but not too hot at that time of day. After stretching and showering I walked over to one of my usual outdoor restaurants for a chanterelle omelette which I was happy to wash down with a Hefeweizen (beer, Paul).

I have a meeting in Italy tomorrow morning so I flew to Milan late this afternoon. I'd been planning this for just under a week and had chosen a restaurant not far from the Novotel that got pretty good reviews on Trip Advisor. I like staying in Novotels but although the quality of food in their restaurants is OK, I find it very generic and unimaginative and not at all representative of the region in which the hotel is located. Not quite the birthday dinner I was looking forward to.

It was a longish walk to the restaurant and a few raindrops started to fall as I reached it - Closed on Sundays. I had to go back almost as far as I had come to get to the centre of town. As I walked the rain started to pick up and thunder and lightning closed in. As if by Divine Intervention a simple bus shelter appeared next to a roundabout just as the skies opened up. What was strange about this thunderstorm was that there was no perceptible movement of the clouds. The storm just seemed to sit on top of me in my bus shelter. My very own little dark cloud. I stayed in that shelter, open on three sides but with a roof, for about 20 minutes. Once the rain stopped, a very quick walk through the town of  Cardano al Campo (not one of Italy's garden spots) revealed only a couple of dodgy looking open eating spots. At that point I decided to cut my losses, walked back to the Novotel and had pretty much the dinner I had unsuccessfully tried to avoid.

I've had quite a few birthdays, 55 to be exact. Most of them have been very enjoyable. This year's didn't quite measure up. The amusing thing is that in all likelihood this is the one I will remember most vividly: Alone in a foreign country, away from friends and family, getting stuck in a thunderstorm and topping it off with a mediocre dinner. Next year I'd like to trade more memorable for more enjoyable. 

Happy birthday to me.
And thanks for reading,

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