3 DAYS, 2 WEDDINGS, 2 COUNTRIES…! NO SLEEP ‘TIL ITALY!

When you love your job, you don’t mind losing hours of sleep! I wasn’t planning to come back to England after my departure, i’ve been asked to play a show in London right after my Italian wedding gig, so the last week of August ended up being a very hectic one! It all started waiting for the right train to London in the tiny station of Diss, after i boarded the wrong one in Norwich…A last glimpse of British countryside befor getting to the busy streetd of the capital!

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I always love my pint before boarding a flight, especially if it’s Gatwick airport and there’s a wide choice of real ales..!

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I’m about to leave England and the weather is perfect…i just hope it will be as good as it should once i get to Venice!

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Once in Italy, i played at an old friend’s wedding. I haven’t seen this guy since we were toddlers, but he booked me for his special day nearly one year before, since he started following my adventures on Facebook. The location was a lovely barn in the countryside and for the occasion i had the pleasure to share the stage with some amazing jazz musicians. Toni, a good friend was the sax player for the night: we played few songs together and i’m looking forward to catch up with him once we reach the South of Italy!

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I spent the next day doing nothing and recharging my batteries. The next morning, after a 5AM wake up call, i was already on my way to Vicenza railway station, on my way to Venice where a 10AM flight would take me back to London again!!!

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Italian summer always bring sweet memories: one of those is the mighty “La Settimana Enigmistica”, a crossword publication that has been issued for more than 50 years. Every week hundreds of thousands of copies are sold in the whole Italy: this is surely the best thing you can buy when you want to keep your rain working and you have several hours to wait around.

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I’m always please to see how Italy can be disfunctional and yet retaining a certain charme and sense of humour: in the railway station there is only one shop selling newspapers and stuff, but they warn customers that no tickets are for sale, nor any kind of information is available!

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Went to the railstation cafe (“bar della stazione”) to get some water and suddendly remembered how much Italians love their sweets in the morning. Brioches, Pain au Chocolat, Bomboloni e sfogliatine are Mario’s first thought in the morning, almost always followed by a cappuccino or espresso.

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7AM: while waiting at the platform i realized how old school this station still look like. Marble everywhere and stone pillars always bring back a fascist-era flavour.

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The slower train, called regionale, took an hour to take me to Venezia Mestre, the main hub to reach Marco Polo Airport. Once you reach the back of the station you get a ticket for a normal public bus that cost 1 euro 30: the only trick is that it drops you off right half a mile before the airport. If you want to get to the final stop, all of a sudden the ticket price goes up to 6 euros..! Italian style!! Italiani bravagente!!

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At the airport the breakfast choice is a bit wider and i’m finally able to get some savoury: a grilled vegetables panino will do!

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I don’t own a smart phone and in a way i’m a fan of old school remedies when it comes to pass the time: a good old crossword always keeps me focused and makes me feel less sleepy. I will not find the time to rest until after the gig in London tonight…

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Nearly everytime i fly i’m asked to swap my seat with someone else: wives that want to travel next to their husbands or little kids that want to stick to their mums. Today, after a rough 5AM wake up, i didn’t mind letting my seat to this young woman with a super loud crying baby sit next to her husband. 

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The stewart must have seen my face and kindly offered me a seat in first class, served me fresh fruit, apple juice and proper raisins bread, plus i could enjoy a whole row of empty seats and take a power nap!

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After only 24 hours i left the UK, the gorgeous weather i’ve left changed already: it’s gonna be raining in London and the turboulence due to the thick clouds over the city’s skyes wakes me up once we start to land. Just dreaming of a cozy pub!

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Victoria station is as busy as usual: my trolley has a little problem to the main handle and i struggle a bit before i reach the exit. I’m lucky, the 173 bus bound to Stoke Newington just leaves from the main gate!

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Whitin literally few minutes ointo my arrival i’m already on the right bus! Well done, apart from the fact that i’m soaking wet…!

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Once i reach Barbauld road it’s easy to spot the pub. (http://www.thelondesborough.com/) Its interiors are warm and cozy, quality beers are been served and the guests are already warming up at the bar: i feel we’re gonna have a good night! The pub is reserved for the party, and in this sort of events, a local place suddenly turns into a more intimate family party!
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I set up as quick as possible as the pub looks already busy and crowded. I like my little cozy corner!

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I love the way english people entertain their guests at weddings: there’s always a very laid back nearly childish attitude towards games, quiz and jokes and the vibe is always relaxing and welcoming, despite the importance of the event.

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Guest can decorate the tree using  their fingerprint or wish the couple good luck by typing a letter!

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Selfies are always welcome, especially when they can instantly create a mini art exhibition!

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The bar looks like serious stuff: i’ve got few hours to kill so i better be careful with it!

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People keep coming and once the place is filled up with ombrellas, all the guests grab a seat in the dining area.

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While i wait and look around, i realize it’s quite lunch time for me too! Luckily, i get offered some food straight away!

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A bit of proteins before a busy sweaty night of rock and roll is a good idea!!

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I’m not gonna be the only musicia today: 4 local guys come walked in with their instruments, and set up a semi acoustic old jazz show that keep the guests entertained for an hour prior to my show. Gipsy jazz vibes fill up the air…I like it!

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Usually, when playing gigs like this, i always meet some great wedding photographers. Being a big photography lover myself, i enjoy watching professionals at work…!

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After the show i enjoy a couple of drinks but i need to ngo back to my hotel early. Tomorrow my flight will be at 7AM and it’s just the beginning of a long week! I leave the pub as the Dj started his set and everyone seem to be ready to party !

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My clients not only arranged all my flights but got me a hotel room as well: as they heard of my busy schedule, they made sure my journey back was as comfortable as possible. I ended up spending the night in a very modern hotel just 5 minutes taxi away from London City Airport.

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Unlike Gatwick or Stansted, this little airport is not too busy and the check in was quick and painless. We reached the aircraft in time ready to get back to Venice in the early morning.

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It always surprises me when i notice people not watching out of the window. A fly a dozen of times a year and the fantastic views never fail to amaze me.

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In Venice the weather was more British than i thought, but i didn’t mind a bit of cool wind nand the lack of sticky hot summer temperatures, especially when sleep deprived and loaded with heavy gear.

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In just few minutes my luggage was collected and i was ready to get out!

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You know you’re in Italy when puffy jackets are a big deal and when people paying for a shuttle bus can’t find an empty seat!

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Once i get to Mestre railway station i’m only 1 hour away from my hometown. Easy task, given i’m not falling down the huge gaps created by modern trains in old school stations!

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You never get to really sleep in these journeys. Seats are basically 90 degrees angled and your head always end up falling forward while you dribble on your blazer.

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You actually etter stay awake, as apparently snatch theft can be an issue these days!

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When we reach Vicenza, i know i made it! I’m finally ready to get myself a car and drive down to Bologna and ferrara for mny next 2 shows…! No rest for the wicked!

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