So I’m back from Italy. It was just a flying visit really but it was a lot of fun. I hopped on a plane to Vienna on Saturday night and made my connection to Bologna without problems. I was undoubtedly the scruffiest looking man of my age on the flight. It got me a nice double take from a fellow passenger when he saw the limo that picked me up. Needless to say the driver was a lot smarter dressed than I was.
I ran into a few people from Black Library, Forge World and GW Italy in the hotel on the Saturday night and spent a fair bit of time catching up. Next day it was up early and into the convention hall. I took a quick look around and saw some of the Armies on Parade being set up. There was some stunning stuff there. Particularly impressive was a wood-elf army complete with a tree-house. If that sounds a bit twee, I can only assure you the model was not. It was really cleverly done.
Compared to Gamesday UK, Gamesday Italy is a lot smaller and a lot less frenetic. It was very relaxed and very pleasant. I signed a few books and chatted to staff and gamers who came along. I saw the Sword of Caledor hardback for the very first time and swiped an (ahem) author copy for myself. It’s a beautiful-looking book. I am really pleased with it.
Next up I did my reading, which I confess I was dreading. I have never really enjoyed doing these and I find them doubly difficult when they need to be translated into a foreign language. The auditorium was huge and intimidating and I felt like a contestant on Mastermind with the spotlights on me. That said, GW Italy had a very nice system of back-projecting the translation on a screen behind me, and the reading seemed to go down pretty well. Afterwards there was a question and answer session which mostly seemed to concern Gotrek and Felix and, Grey Seer Thanquol, of all people. I suspect there was a large Skaven contingent (of players, I mean :)) lurking in the audience.
The questions were fun and they made me think, particularly about the Grey Seer and my life-long admiration for him and the Skaven in particular. I may put my thoughts on the subject up here on the blog in the not too distant future, when I find some time. I would like to thank Manuela for doing the translation.
After this it was back for more signings and a video interview. All in all, it was a very pleasant day. That night Rik and Mike from Black Library and Lee from GW headed off into Modena to see the sights and I joined them. The town centre is lovely, kind of exactly what you expect the centre of an Italian town to look like. We also wandered out to the reconstructed Roman road, excavated by archeologists when it was uncovered during the construction of an underground car-park. This was an astounding piece of work, with all the original cobblestones, right down to the tracks worn by the carts in it. Alongside were gravestones from the Roman period, including one of a centurion of the 15th Legion and a freedwoman and her family. I got to try out my very basic Latin skills (last used roughly 35 years ago) and then found out I needn’t have bothered since translations were provided on the noticeboard at the end of the road.
After that it was back to the town square for one of the most best and most pleasant meals I’ve had in a long time. I tried the local speciality (tortellini as recommended to me by Davide Cortese in the comments of my last post) and it was great. Thanks for the tip, Davide. I also broke my diet and had a desert on the grounds that I won’t be getting a chance to try actual Italian tiramisu for a long time. It was superb. After that it was back to the hotel for a nightcap and off to bed. Up not too early next day for the taxi to the airport. Here the only real blight on the trip occurred. My flight was delayed which led to a stressful run through Munich airport in order to make my connection to Prague. I made it just in time. The guy who was sitting in the seat next to me on the plane in did not. His flight left from the gate next to mine and the gate was closed when he got there.
After that bit of excitement it was plane sailing (sorry) all the way back to Prague. I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all involved for making this a very pleasant trip for me. Hopefully I will see you all again some time.