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Thursday 27 August 1998

Utterly unevent­ful flight; I slept the entire duration, waking up as the water cart passed. As I slept, I smelled some food — unappetizing smell of greasy cabbage — but otherwise, I slept. A large group of French teenagers behind me, maybe thirty of them, relatively well-mannered.

Munich: silk-smooth landing; 13C and overcast, won't be seeing that for a while I guess — the only downside to Umbrian falls, rather hot. Airport men's room free, thank goodness. James had scrounged up 8DM,70: I used 4,10 of that for a medicinal Coca-Cola. Wait not too long, about 1h45m. German children sit and read: magazines, special children's magazines, books. Quite different from our own little mongrels, who run the gamut from vapid to désoeuvré to hyped-up . . .

At about 10:40 — nominal flight departure 11:10 — we were bussed out on the tarmac, actually walked up stairs from the ground, like when I was a kid: I much prefer that to the sanitized but contactless boarding arms now almost everywhere. For one thing, a brief chance to get some fresh air: cool, a little breeze.

A pity it's overcast though since we'll be overflying the Alps. Short flight: an hour and ten minutes.

And indeed it was. Seat neighbors a young German couple with no languages, we had a relatively normal conversation about various things, including ice skating and Denise Biellmann, re whom I learned the appropriate word "Ausstrahlung". They were just going to be in Rome 4 days. . . .

The snack on the plane this time was pretty good, little bits of blue cheese (probably Saga) and salmon and an excellent dark rye bread; even a macédoine of carrots, that dreaded appendage to railroad station meals, not bad.

Some breaks in the cloud cover briefly as we were coming down off the Alps, not snow-capped, around Bolzano.

Fiumicino not too long a wait for my suitcase, the first time I'd checked it thru so a bit nervous, especially that I don't have keys for it and it doesn't even close quite perfectly so I'd taped it at O'Hare altho' with weak, essentially cosmetic tape (no strapping machine); but it seems alright.

At the train platform I bought a railway schedule — only Nord/Centrale, no Sud available. I also bought my Spello-S. Maria delle Mole abbonamento, 156KL which I think was last year's price as well. This process took a while, since the ticket agent didn't know how to do it: but better that than an hour waiting in line at Termini for it; which, as it turned out, would have missed me the train I'm now on — we've just pulled out ofº Orte — the 1518 senza supplemento which gets to Foligno around 1720.

Here it's warm — around 83F is my guess — and I was grateful for the airconditioned airport train; less grateful for Termini, which hasn't changed. Anyway, I'm in Umbria now if just barely, and everything's run like clockwork (so far).

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