The last time I went to Switzerland it wasn’t to Geneva but a flying visit to Zürich Flughafen. I had been at a very large European Semiconductor conference in Strasbourg and had worked out that the best wasy to get to the next Epioptics conference at the Etorre Majorana centre in Erice Sicily was to fly from Zürich to Palermo.
It would be the third time I was to go to this conference in Erice and the first time that I would have a “prof” villa.
I got the train from Strasbourg into ZF station. It was good to be back. I enjoyed the pristine cleanliness and the sense of order. Knowing that I was going to Palermo in summer, I changed out of my suit into desert combats, a singlet and Converse all stars. As I went through boarding, thus dressed with suit carrier and lap top, the x-ray found my Swiss army penknife. I was informed that it would be confiscated and handed over to the police for my collection in Palermo.
When I arrived at Palermo I picked up a hire car and went to the cops for my knife. They were very suspicious of me, partly because of my attire. I showed them my passport, my invitaion to speak at the conference and asked for my knife back. Persuaded that I was OK, if scruffy, they gave me back my knife and a couple of hours later I was here.
I went up to register for the conference again my attire provoked suspicion. When I managed to persusade them who I was they handed over the key to my very nice “prof” villa. The nice lady was apologteic after she realized what she had done.
At the time I did not know who Etorre Majorana was. It was only later that I realized a mild analogy with myself. He disapeared somewhere between Palermo and Naples. Perhaps he went walkabout, who knows, he did not leave his clothes on a beach. I simply walked out of SW7…There were rumours that Majorana was seen in Venezuela. He too had hermit like tendencies, allegedly.
For whatever reason I felt completely at home in Sicily. I was later advised that I had been born there a couple of hundred years ago…they have a triskelion on their flag…