I was in Rome on Friday and Saturday attending the Judges’ Summit on Human Trafficking and Organised Crime, held at the Vatican. The picture shows the venue, the Casina Pio IV, in the Vatican grounds. I spoke on the Friday. I will write in more detail about my paper in a later post. This post is about the little local difficulty I encountered in actually getting there.
As regular readers will know, I prefer trains to planes. I have travelled to Rome before by train. It is a fascinating, and certainly scenic, journey. I had arranged to do the same on this occasion. That was before the French rail strike last week. Though I could get to Paris, there was no guarantee I could get my onward connection. Without being able to catch a particular connection, I would not make it in time. I therefore devised a cunning Plan B. That was to go round France and travel via Germany. I know the route to Frankfurt and it was then relatively straightforward, if time-consuming, travelling to Milan. However, that was then scuppered by the Belgian rail strike. Although I could get to Brussels, the relevant connection to Frankfurt via Cologne was not running. There was the prospect of a bus to Cologne, but that was not certain (and in any event would be a long road journey). I therefore gave up and decided to fly after all. However, the story does not end there.
I booked an early BA flight from Gatwick on Thursday. I had to get up very early to get to Gatwick by 7.00 a.m. I had been there an hour or so when they announced that the flight was cancelled (‘technical problems’). BA initially tried to re-route me via Madrid. When I made clear that was not my preferred route, they explored alternatives. They eventually managed to get me a seat on a direct flight – from Heathrow. I had to transfer to Heathrow for a late afternoon departure. That flight was then delayed!
Suffice to say that I got to my hotel by 10.00 p.m. The summit began the following morning at 8.30… Of which, more anon.