20.06.2019 – The trip has started

Imants writing:
The Eclipse tour participants meet at “Riga” airport about an hour and a half before the first flight. As there were only few people at the airport, baggage drop-off took only a short time. Short time afterwards we are on the way to the boarding gate and soon we are on an airplane to Milan Malpensa airport. We use the flight time usefully – trying to sleep. At Malpensa Airport we are at 10:40 and the captain reports that out there is + 21*C. We get our luggage and Agnese almost forgets his suitcase near from the baggage belt. But everything ends happily. We then try to drop-off our baggage to the evening flight, but we are told that it is too early to do so. We move to one of the airport cafes, where luggage will be guarded by Ilgonis and Juris, but other tour participants are going by bus to Milan.

In Milan, we start our walking tour from the Central Station towards the city center. On the way we buy ice cream, which we eat next to the opera house La Scala. We then go through the shopping gallery and finish our tour in Dome Square. Then we visit Milan Cathedral (Duomo), also going up to the viewing platform on the rooftop. And then our free time is almost over and we go back to the airport.

At the airport Juris and Ilgonis await us. At the cafe we try to eat our self made sandwiches, but the waitress tells us not to do it, so we’re leaving the cafe soon. This time we successfully drop-off our baggage as there are no other passengers at all, and now we can proceed to the gate. There is a queue in the security check, but our boarding starts in 5 minutes. Someone worried that we may not be able to be in time at the gate, but again everything turns out o.k. We arrive when the passenger queue is almost over and we are taking our seats on the plane. We arrive at the airport in Rome at 20:00 and after one hour we are about to embark on the next flight.
For some technical reasons, departure is delayed by half an hour and the plane departs at 22.40. After an hour’s flight we are offered dinner. Since the airplane entertainment system is not usable because there is no headset available, there is nothing else to do than to try to sleep because you have to spend next more than 15 hours in the air.

Agnese’s comment: The headphones were offered and Dace had picked a set for Imants while he snoozed, but they were never found. The view from the roof of Milan cathedral was great both to Milan and to the roof itself and definitely recommended to everyone who haven’t yet been there (thanks to Ilgonis for the information). Several from the travelers were eagerly getting ready for the trip and sleeping little for the previous nights, so it was nice that others fed them with prepared sandwiches and looked after so they and their belongings didn’t get lost.