While looking for something else the other day, I saw a few photos from a business trip to Northern Italy in May 2010. It reminded me of the glamour of it all.
A flight at 06:30 from Edinburgh to Bologna. It was Ryanair. Cattle class and not business class.
My client met me at Bologna Airport and we drove to the venue for our afternoon meeting – near Verona. (It’s a 2 hour drive, and normally a British Airways flight to Verona would have been possible, but BA was having strike problems and that route was cut.)
We had a motorway service station lunch on the way. More glamour. The high life. Service stations in Italy are a million miles better than anything you would find in the UK, but still.
At 14:00 we were at the meeting venue – a windowless boardroom in a factory. We were there for 5 hours, much of it spent watching our Italian hosts argue amongst themselves.
Then we (the client and I) left for our hotel in Soave. http://www.soaveturismo.it/?lang=en
By the time we got there and had dinner, I was ready for bed. The client was a very pleasant person to deal with, but dinner with a client is never the most relaxing way to spend time.
I was up just after 05:00 the next day, and had time to wander around the village briefly before joining my client for breakfast.
After breakfast it was back into the car for another 2 hour autostrada session to Bologna to catch the Ryanair flight back to Scotland. My client was with me on the flight back, so again relaxation was not on the agenda. We had more discussions about the next stage of negotiations.
In 2010 I was working on my own, and business travel like that was rare, but I did a lot of it in the 90s when I was in a large partnership. Some of my ex partners really did think I was living it up somewhere if I was not right there at my desk like them.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2021
I spent much of the 2000s shuttling between Luxembourg and the UK as my parents and brothers fell ill and died. Ryanair was actually the best option, since I could leave after work on Friday and return late on Sunday, which meant that I could spend two nights in Scotland without taking any leave. I enjoyed the travel, even on Ryanair, probably because the experience after arrival was often depressing.