Posted by: fiore | July 9, 2007

I am for Bath! (part one)

“I am for… Bath”

These are not the exact words of Sir Walter Elliot, but they are very much like it, and most of all, they suit me…

When, last January, Bath Rugby played and won the next to the last game in the qualifying pool of the European Challenge Cup, I promised myself that if they would have passed the round, and if the Quarter Final game would have taken place in Bath – no matter what – I would have gone to that game.

At that time, Bath Rugby wasn’t exactly on the top of the Guinness Premiership, on the contrary they were struggling to drift away from the bottom of the league, so the chances to pass the round were quite remote. But, as it always happens, things go exactly the opposite way you think, so in the last game of the qualifying pool, Bath smashed Montpellier 42-17 at the Rec in late January and passed to the Quarters. So, I only had to wait for the date of the game to be fixed… as for the opponents, nothing better than a derby with the auld enemy… Bristol.

So, I said it and I had to go, so I began with organising it.

First: the ticket for the game! That was quite easy afterall… I asked my old friend Jeppo if he could put me through to Pietro, who plays for Bath, for getting me the ticket for the game, and Pietro was very kind to fix it for me.

Second: flight ticket. British Airways flights to Bristol, which is only 12-15 miles from Bath. Not bad!
Third: accomodation. A nice B&B not too far from city center, would be perfect…

Fourth: car hire. I also need a car (the cheapest!), because of the impossible timetable of the BA flights…

Apparently everything is fixed and my mind is almost set on this trip when, just 2 weeks before the departure, British Airways send me an email in which they kindly inform me that the flight route from Milan to Bristol has been cancelled, and that I can choose another destination or cancel the ticket. @#&!!!!

Is this a sign?

Well, who cares? I decided to go, and I’m persuaded to do so. …and I choose for Birmingham. It is 172 km from Bath, almost the same from London Heathrow, but probably it is less crowded and hopefully there’s less traffic on the motorway to my “final” destination.

March 30th, 2007 – day 1

It’s time to go. Dad takes me to the Milan Malpensa airport and after a while I’m on my way to England. Travelling on your own gives you a lot of time to think and my mind goes back to the last time I was in England: November 2004, England v Australia, my first time at Twickenham! No doubt that Rugby has taken me in many (strange?) places both in Italy and abroad!

Anyway, after a couple of hours, here I am in Birmingham.

The young lady at the car hire has a very strange accent and I find it difficult to understand all that she says, but fortunately I have a lot of fantasy and I’m good with enigmas! 😉

Driving on the wrong side left is right and right is wrong! – has never been a big issue for me and surprisingly in 1 hour and half I arrive in Bath where the first thing I see is Bath Rugby training ground at Lambridge. A good start!

I get to the B&B easily and in few minutes I’m ready to go and explore the city. Lynwood House is really “five minutes from Bath Abbey and Roman Baths” as they say on their website, and I’m very happy with this accomodation.

Anyway, when in Bath I finally call Pietro, who happens to be in town as well, so we arrange to meet at the Abbey Churchyard where he gives me the craved ticket. It is a “player ticket” for the Helphire Stand, and I can’t ask for anything better! He apologizes he has another engagement, so I thank him again for his kindness, and we go our own ways.

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