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Gambit

Italy Non Plus Ultra, March 2015

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I had seen a number of reports from this site and knew that I really wanted to get to it. Although it has been around for a few years and relatively unchanged, there were the ever increasing rumours that it had been bought and was soon to under go some renovation.

So a quick trip was called for, fly out on the Saturday and back on Sunday. Yes I was really keen to get to this place. So a trip was arranged and booked. My first (and to date only) solo explore. With the help of friends, a couple of other locations were added to the route so that it was a bit more fruitful.

When I landed in Malpensa (Milan - which is important as you will read later) I got a text from a friend who was already in Italy and was hitting NPU that morning. The text didn't read too well. He had found his way in, and heard some people arriving, so made his way out again. Turns out the builders had arrived... FFS!!! Could I be too late?

With a couple or so stops along the way, I finally arrived at the location late on Saturday evening. My plan was to park up, sleep in the car (note to self, once again, I hate sleeping in the car) and then hit NPU early light. I got my sleeping bag out and reclined the front passenger seat. Not exactly even a 2 star bed, but OK for the night.

Clearly I dropped in to a deep sleep, as I was woken up with a bright light through the window. WTF!! Yes, I was somewhat perturbed to say the least. Rather than some Italian rapist, it was the police. Phew. I gave them the thumbs up and proceeded to get my head back down, wishing they would turn the bloody light out. The next thing was a knock on the window. WTF! I turned on the ignition, all the lights came on and wound down the window a touch. Request for papers. Bloody hell. Really... Oh well, I was legit, so no dramas. As the papers were being checked, questions... What was I doing, where was I going.

Sadly, when it comes to an explore, I rarely (well at that time) make any note of where I am going, in terms of proximity to towns, just plug in the co-ordinates and drive there, stopping where I need to. So where indeed was I going. Hmmm... Milan. Yep, that rang a bell at 4 a.m. from a deep sleep. Yep, I was trying to find Milan and got lost, so thought I would sleep in the car as I couldn't find a hotel. More questions, clearly not believing me. So, even more convinced my story sounds not only plausible, but totally legit... I landed in Malpensa, tried to find Milan and got lost. Seemed pretty simple to me. Clearly the policeman didn't think so though. Idiot. It was only when he indicated that I was around 300KM from Milan that I realised. Malpensa was ... Oh shit... I was not fully awake, racking my brain for some of the recent town names I had seen... Changed my story and hoped for the best. The more I said, the less I believed even myself. I had landed on Saturday, got lost, was leaving on Sunday, had a SatNav and sleeping bag and somehow didn't bother to call the friends I was meeting to get directions. If I had heard that, I would call Utter Bullshit...

Fortunately the papers checked out and my things were handed back. I didn't get back to sleep, spooked by every little noise I heard. At around 5:30 I decided enough was enough and I moved the car to then make my way up to NPU.

It took bloody ages.

Eventually though, I was there. Getting in was pretty straightforward, at the time at least. It was still pretty dark as the sun was not fully up, but enough light to make a start. I had to admit I did smile when I saw the NPU sign I was very pleased with myself.

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I had decided to limit myself to a time, rather than leave when I was done. I didn't want to get caught by the builders, or worse the police. I had visions of the same police turning up again and then allowing me to explore the inside of a police cell just long enough to miss my flight. Every noise spooked me. Bloody birds flapping in the gap between the window and the shutters being the worst. The racket.

I did think that my favourite room was going to be the "Peacock" room

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But the place has so much to offer, in terms of visual feast. I don't think I could live with that much decor though, but as a visit, it is great. I can't imagine what the place is going to look like once the renovations have been complete. Personally I think that putting anything in any of these rooms will be too much. But as empty rooms, I also can't imagine a corporation wanting to leave such valuable floor space unused.

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As I continued with the rest of the explore, every shot I set up, I checked my watch. The hour was disappearing too quickly.

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I ran out of time for the ceiling shots I wanted, and didn't see everything I wanted either. But this is my favourite shot of the visit

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Time up and I headed out. Fear being the driver for my discipline and I was very glad to find myself looking at this view and not being surrounded by pissed off builders and policemen

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As I returned to the car, there were some builders working on the construction site near where I had parked, a new set of flats or something. So, with that, I was even more pleased that I had completed my all too short visit undetected. Back in the car and on to the slow(ish) trip back to the airport - a couple of stops on the way.

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Generally I was and am pleased with my visit to NPU. Absolutely could have done with more time, much more. Wasn't to be for me, and I think a return visit is out of the question now sadly... From what I hear, blocked entrances, and PIRs await folk these days :(

As always, more images on Flickr

Edited by skeleton key
Fixed third shot- Broken link

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Thanks for the comments all.

Yep, certainly count myself lucky and fortunate :) It is a cracking location, not sure I will see anything quite like it again...

But who knows ;)

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