Those few of you who have been following Cromwell’s Head will recall that I made mention of Sinclair Lewis’s lament on travel from Dodsworth in an earlier post. He said that “to live in Carlsbad is seemly and to loaf in Sam Remo healing to the soul, but to get from Carlsbad to San Remo is the devil.” I observed that, since I didn’t know where San Remo or Carlsbad were, I continued to hope for the best in my trip to Buffalo and then on to London and eventually, Cambridge. I do know that the Victorian poet, Edward Lear, died at the age of 75 in San Remo so, clearly, he knew where San Remo was and maybe he even knew where Carlsbad was.
My ignorance was shattered last night when I ordered a takeout pizza from a little Italian restaurant not more than two minutes from Stately Johnson Manor. I’ve ordered take-out pizza from Papino’s many times over the last several years of its existence. I presume the cardboard containers have always been the same. Last night I looked at the container’s top image and what to my wondering eyes should should appear, not a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, that would have been more welcomed. No, what I observed was the location of San Remo. See it in the featured image? Way over in the top left hand corner? With that knowledge, I was, you understand, forced to search out the location of the Carlsbad to which Lewis referred. I discovered it in the Czech republic some 500+ miles by train from San Remo. You may as well hear what Lewis had to say before his notions about living in Carlsbad and loafing in San Remo: “It is the awful toil which is the most distressing phase of travel. If there is anything worse than the aching tedium of staring out of car windows, it is the irritation of getting tickets [remember that Dennis and I must find our way to a self-service kiosk at Heathrow to get tickets to King’s Cross Station and then to Cambridge], packing, finding trains, lying in lurching berths, washing without water, digging out passports, and fighting through customs.” Isn’t that the truth. It’s more than 11 hours by train from Carlsbad to San Remo. Thank goodness I don’t know where Tipperary might be. That could really be the devil.