Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Epic Adventure: Venice to Fort Lauderdale, Part II

For Part I of this story, click here.

What should have been an eight hour trip became thirteen. We left the Swiss border and drove out of the Alps, trucked across northern Italy, cut back up north around Turin, and headed into the Alps again. We drove through tunnel after tunnel, each one longer than the last, until we finally stopped at Mont Blanc (see left). Because we had a refrigerated truck, we had to wait for an escort vehicle to take us through the 11.6 km tunnel underneath. Once we were through we were finally in France. All we had to do was pay a fee to pass…it was nothing like the Swiss checkpoint.

We arrived at the high-security art storage warehouse in Lyon around 9:00PM and parked the truck completely inside. The next morning, we were back on the road by 7:30AM dealing with horrific rush-hour traffic in pouring rain. We drove another eight hours through gorgeous French countryside of rolling green farmland dotted with sleepy cows. We finally crossed the border into Luxembourg around 3:30PM, which was as eventful as crossing from Massachusetts into New Hampshire: no manned checkpoint and no stopping. We were at the cargo terminal at Luxembourg airport in no time.

One of the challenges in arranging art transport is finding the best way to get the artwork to its next destination as directly as possible. In this case, due to the size of our crates, we required a large freight plane, and the only plane large enough that flew directly to Miami closest to Venice was in Luxembourg. Soon, though, we had offloaded the truck and I gave my Italian drivers a fond farewell before they left on their long ride back to Italy.

Using a variety of large forklifts, the air cargo crew efficiently, but carefully, loaded our crates onto large, thin airline palettes. Once everything was strapped down, a huge machine then picked up the palettes and deposited them into their fully-automated warehouse facility where they would sit at in a climatized environment until they were loaded on the plane the following day.

Stay tuned for part three, posting soon on Blog Addison!

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

No comments: