Monday July 21, 2003
Italy & Malta
Arrived in Milan (Malpensa Airport) at about 7:50 am local time (EST = 6 hours). Alitalia serves coffee that is more like triple shot espresso on their flights. I'm wide awake after only catnaps during the night. My next flight is to Malta, south of Sicily, at 10:25 am (local time). I find a shop to buy a razor and shaving cream and shave in rest room. The layover in the airport is interesting, truly a cosmopolitan setting. I've changed some U.S. money into Euros to buy food. My connecting flight is Alitalia #7068 but I have to watch the flight board closely because the flights go by several numbers and the departure gate isn't posted until a half hour before the plane leaves.
Arrived in Malta at 12:30 pm. I've been traveling for over 17 hours now and look it. Big glitch! My one checked bag didn't make it to Malta! I get in line with about 30 other passengers to fill out missing bag forms and go through customs then change some money into Maltese lire (a 2.7 to 3 % exchange rate: $10 US equals about 2.7 L, ouch!)
Outside the airport building I find that Malta is very hot and very humid. My clothes are soaked in sweat and I need a shower desperately!
I catch a cab to the Crowne Plaza Hotel (8 L). Being this close to Sicily the cab drivers must be related because they certainly drive like Italians. They go 0 to 50 in about 40 ft. then hit the brakes. Six Flags has nothing on these guys!
The Crowne Plaza is near the water in a resort area. I check in to my room and leave a message for Cathy Offinger, then shower and crash for a couple of hours.
Checked in with Alitalia. My bag has not shown up and the next flights to Malta won't be until Tuesday. I go out and buy a couple of tee shirts, underwear, socks, and a polo shirt. Luckily I threw a pair of shorts in my carryon with my laptop. The clothes I'm wearing really reek because of the constant heat, humidity and sweat!
Cathy contacts me to meet for supper so I shower again, change and meet her and a group from the Knorr for supper. At the restaurant (I never found out its name) I met Martin Bowen, Todd Gregory, Dave Wright, Sarah Webster, Jay Minkin, Jonathan Howland, Ali Can, Jeremy Weirch, and Tom Orvosh. They seem like a great group! Cathy gave us a run-down on the ship's operations and schedule. After dinner I head back to the Crowne Plaza and crash!