Poet-in-Residence made a bolt for the border when the current Euro 2008 football tourney was about to get underway...but not before leaving a little poem on the subject with Charles Christian at the world famous Ink-Sweat-and-Tears poetry website (the new, revised, updated, clear, tried & tested and foolproof re-alphabetically ordered sidebar link will take you there quicker than a Del Piero tap-in). The trouble with the escape-from-it-all idea was that there were no suitable locomotives available to drag the so-called Euro-City Express over the Alps, the best engines having been commandeered to cart the colourful flagwaving masses around the Alpine territories of Austria-Switzerland the host nations.
Poet-in-Residence's train, complete with dining car and trailer carrying a motor car and two motor cycles lurched to an unexpected halt at the top of the first climb of the day. Unfortunately this happened to be in a long tunnel. After half an hour a second engine arrived but this was also from the second division of rail stock and also broke down after a short pull. Finally a modern locomotive arrived, possibly diverted from some footballing location, and completed the task.
Poet-in-Residence and his companion arrived at their Italian seaside destination 90 minutes late - the length of time it takes to play a football match.
On the way back, believe it or not, the same thing happened again. Yes, it really did! This time the delay was even longer - 120 minutes - a 90 minute football match and a 30 minute period of extra time.
To sum up - two 7 hour train journeys required a total of 8* locomotives and 3.5 hours extra!
*the 2 additional locos are because the European train system requires that trains from/to Austria/Italy change locomotives at the border.