Daily Archives: April 20, 2010

Vulcano refugee sur place…

Just a quick note to say that an unplanned three day sojourn with old friends in Zurich has distracted me from the demands of blogging and pretty much everything else. It has been a pretty surreal experience to be caught up in the temporary (?) collapse of European air travel. Nothing seems very different than before once you get settled down somewhere, but international transport hubs have been transformed into medieaval judgment day scenes of despair and resignation. Last week, I had the pleasure of lecturing in the 54th Refugee Law Course at the IIHL in San Remo, but my Saturday morning flight back to Stockholm was DOA and I ended up taking the train to Milan, where the scene was like the evacuation of the US Embassy in Saigon. A friend in Zurich suggested taking a humble commuter train from a grubby local station that just happened to terminate beyond the Swiss border in Chiasso, and two hours later, I found myself on a sparsely peopled platform absorbing the clean alpine breezes and the almost hallucinogenic sight of an entirely empty Swiss commuter train chugging in to sweep me away to Zurich – where the next available spot in a northbound international train was 72 hours off and involves a 26 hour ride to get me home. Say what you want about the Icelandic ash for cash policy, it has certainly laid bare the conveniences we take for granted and the hubris that requires.