Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The night train from Paris to Florence

Plotting my summer holiday is proving as good as prozac for keeping spirits buoyant. It's the first real family holiday that my son and I will have together and I think it's really important to have a great, epic holiday. 3 weeks is about the right length. More than that and you get bored. Less than that and the brain doesn't have time to unfold, soak up the sunshine and expand itself.

This year we are hoping to stay in a cottage in Tuscany, hopefully joined by family and friends. I want to take the night train from Paris. That is proper travelling - a delicious gentle voyage. It's not like the screaming sleeper that runs from London to Aberdeen, where you wake up every time they cream round a corner. You wake up in Florence with Brunelleschi's Duomo glinting sublimely from behind tenement flats.

Of course, I should be finding the sunshine within. 'Here is where the birds sing, here is where the sun shines' (c.f. Room with a View). What I am really thinking of when I fantasize about a summer holiday is heaven, and the holiday will never quite live up to my high expectations. In truth, heaven is just next door; a glittering, joyous party being held very near, in a separate reality.

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