Well, I made it back from Milan... eventually. Since the press event was arranged at relatively short notice, we had to rely on EasyJet to fly us to and from Malpensa, and out of two flights, both managed to be late: the first by half and hour, and the flight back by an hour and a half. I understand why one of ex-managers at IBM calls them "SleazyJet" now. I certainly won't be flying with them again - not by choice, at least.
The snow on Thursday also made it a barrel of laughs on the drive down to Gatwick. The minute you get south of the Scottish border in Britain, the merest flicker of snow will illicit a reaction from most drivers as if they've suddenly been inserted into a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. Where most drivers seem happy to hurtle along at 90mph in the heaviest of rain, a single snowflake can cause abject panic, and the further south you get, the worse the driving gets... Just as well I'd planned to arrive at the airport an extra hour before check-in started, really.
I'm not going to talk about the game here, as I don't want to pre-empt the preview piece I'm writing this weekend, but it was most assuredly worth the making the trip for, even after all the travel problems. The publishing company and developers took very good care of us, and it was a real pleasure meeting Gabriele Tarquini. It was quite amusing when we went to lunch on Friday. We're in Italy, and the two other British guys (the UK PR, Dave and Martin from Jolt) ordered pizza and a lemon sorbet - the kind of dish you can get anywhere - whereas I went for real local specialities: tagliatelli with wild boar to start, a main course of Tacchino alla Milanese (a deliciously moist turkey escalope cooked in a sweet pancake-like batter, with lemon juice squeezed over the top) served with spinach wilted in butter, and a dessert of a meringue served with hot bitter chocolate sauce. Fabulous stuff.
So, my first experience of Italy was a good one, despite the rain. I'll definitely be going again, though preferably in the summer...