We arrived in Rimini, Italy shortly before noon on Wednesday. Surprisingly, separating the Daughter from the warm clutches of her bed at 4 am was less of a struggle than I has anticipated – protip, jack up the heating the night before. And for once everything went according to plan; the taxi picked us up ahead of schedule, we arrived at Tottenham Hale in time for the first Stansted Express, which itself arrived on time – no service disruption due to staff shortages or selfish lunatics flinging themselves in front of the train. We hauled the sum total of our worldly possessions into a carriage; all of five suitcases and a couple of laptop bags. Once seated, I nodded off for the last stretch to Stansted while Courtney did what she does best in situations like these–watch some insidious series. Remarkably, our luggage was within Ryanair's austere weight limitations, and we were cleared to board the flight without having to part with vast sums of money for additional luggage.
With time on our hands, we bid farewell to London over breakfast at Itsu; coffee and poached eggs for me and sushi and water for the Daughter. Bellies full, we boarded our flight to Bologna.
'Dad, did you know there are 12 things you should never do on an airplane,' said the Daughter.
'According to who?' said the Dad.
'Cosmopolitan magazine dad.'
'Since when did you ... ah, forget it, what does the article say?'
'You shouldn't sleep through takeoff and landing.'
'Why? That's when the plane is most likely to crash, you definitely want to be sleeping.'
'Dad, you're scaring me,' she said. 'And it has something to do with your ears popping.'
'Then I definitely want to be asleep, besides this is Ryanair, the pilots aren't allowed to crash the planes, O'Leary is too cheap to insure them.'
'We also shouldn't booze it up on the flight.'
'Little chance of that, you're underage, and I'm too cheap to buy booze from O'Leary.'
Fortunately, the article never mentioned joining the mile high club, so I didn't have to answer 101 questions about what goes on in portapotties at 31 thousand feet.
We'd hardly made it across the channel, and the Daughter had passed out against the window portal, drooling uncontrollably. A short while later I was jolted awake by the sound of my own snoring. The woman on the aisle seat was gone. Likely, scared senseless by the sound of vicious vocal sounds, she was sobbing uncontrollably in one of the portapotties.
Outside the window, the Alps poked through the clouds.
'Look daughter, the Alps,' I said.
She babbled something incomprehensible.
Not long after, the plane nosed down toward Bologna, and as if on cue, she opened her eyes.
'Are we landing?' she said. 'I don't want my ears to pop.'
'Yes, in a few minutes our wheels will touch down on Italian soil,' I said. 'Ready for a new adventure?'
'Sure,' she said.
Delighted to see us, the Italian authorities waved us through. Even though my Italian carta d'identita puts my height at little more than that of the average garden gnome - statura 1.55m. Our bags arrived within ten minutes, and we were on the midday bus to Camerechiare in Rimini.