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It's the journey that counts...

Getting to this year’s Venice Biennale was an experience in itself, found Rory Olcayto

Was it all just a very avant garde biennale installation? An easyjet plane loaded up with architects and journalists - and Sir Nicholas Serota - diverted to bologna to sit on the tarmac for two hours because of stormy weather over Venice…whatever, it felt like a cruel joke for those of us trapped. Most of us along with Sir Nick, such as Daniel Rhosbottom and his wife, journalists from Dezeen and Icon, Asif Khan of coca-cola pavilion in the Olympic park fame and a couple of the British Pavilion exhibitors, thought so.

We’d arrived at Gatwick at 11.30am for a one o’clock flight, delayed to 3.30pm and then after the storm nonsense, finally touched in the floating stone city around 10pm - this was long haul without the films. (or snacks, or anything to really say ‘sorry’ - bad Easyjet. Although the cabin crew did offer a 10 per cent discount on car hire on landing. In Venice. Useful eh?)

Luckily we managed to get off the plane before we started lunching on the weaker ones, or before we split into two gangs, Lord of the Flies-style and smudged an easyjet ‘Piggy’ with an overweight suitcase.

There was one reason why it was all worth it in the end though. It turned out Sir Nick was attending the same dinner as I was, in honour of V-A-C, a Moscow-based arts group that had built a working laundrette, emblematic of Kruschev era Soviet mass housing projects, in a beautifully restored palazzo. (Yup. I know. But that’s what the biennale is all about). Anyway it meant a speedboat ride from the airport to the dinner venue, alongside Señor Tate, both of us hoping we’d arrive in time for more than dessert. The boat was fast. So fast it felt like were were bouncing off rocks, not water. But we got there just in time. A delegation came to greet us (well, greet Sir Nick) and I managed to smuggle in Mr and Mrs Rhosbottom too. Which was nice.

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