Italian Hitchabout August 2011 | de.light at the end of the tunnel |
August 18, 2011 2 Comments
I’ve never passed through so many tunnels en route to anywhere in such a short period of time … wow, northern Italy and Switzerland, what a delight.
I calculated that I hitched a total of 3955 km = 2,457.523 miles ‘-) Flawless (when you’re only looking from the positive point of view of everything ‘-) and lots of fascinating encounters with lovely geography and people!
This journey was a personal evolution, moving with intention & zeal towards, rather than away, from something. The paths I choreographed and the surprises & synchronicities that arrived along the way, all had something to teach me.
I made the decision to finally make my way to Italy, with the particular aim of seeing Rome for the first time. Wow, what a pleasure. It was a great experience for all of the senses. I hadn’t had much time, but definitively got a taste. I now have a list of places and people to visit, when I roam back to Rome again. For example, recommended by a pleasant and smart couchsurfer, Leprotto Reale in Reggio Emilio:
Towns not to be missed because of their historic significance or beauty, or both.
Near Reggio Emilia:
On the route from Reggio to Rome:
Perugia (In July the Umbria Jazz Festival takes place in this town, featuring artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, B.B. King, Pat Metheny and others)
Viterbo (near Rome)
Arezzo (the town where Roberto Benigni filmed “La Vita è Bella”)
The trip was planned and anticipated through primarily the tools and communities on the internet.
I applied my membership in http://www.couchsurfing.org to seek out hosts along my way. I used http://maps.google.com | get directions | to plan my route; isolating strategic towns that could be interwoven into my direction, south to Rome. This was after I had already arrived from Berlin to the South of Germany in Baden-Württemberg.
From southern Germany, my first stop was Torino/Turin with a great couchsurfing host, Stefano, after he responded positively to my request. He introduced me to another couchsurfer, who happened to be a friend of the other couchsurfer in Reggio Emilio, whom I had already confirmed was my next planned second stop. As my brief letter to her mentioned I was south of Torino staying with a host in Chieri, Piemonte, Italy, she realized that she was familiar with the name. Turns out, she knew the friend of the man hosting me, whom I met the next evening, and two women were sms’ng one other about me the American couchsurfer.
A number of photos are of my visit with this second couchsurfing host, Giovanna in Reggio Emilia. She happens to be in the hospitality community professionally. She runs a bed and breakfast which she renovated. The property had been owned by her deceased grandfather. It had been a vineyard, and still is. It is producing grapes, though not using the ancient tools and materials that were used to produce the wine back in her grandfathers’ time. She has preserved these antiques and incorporated them into the lovely setting, grounds and interior of the casa. Giovanna was a fabulous host, and I recommend the place for those of you who may wish to travel through the area and get a taste of the beauty. The place is like a New Mexico style hacienda, the land and mountains to the south magically reminded me of the beauty of northern New Mexico. Reggio Emilia is a lovely town, known for it’s high quality opera. Giovanna’s grace, savvy, perceptive and direct nature made for the beginnings of a genuine friendship. She introduced me to the town of Reggio Emilia, and to a number of interesting people, most of whom are local couchsurfer members. Her bed and breakfast website:
http://www.casaledeinoci.it (for sms or calls +39 349 4505233)
My plan was to follow the route that google mapped out for me
but the rest was then left to serendipity/synchronicity, in terms of being stopped by the police on the inception of my second hitching trek which diverted my route as well as the various different people I met along the way. I hadn’t known that hitching – even standing on the turf of the restaurant/gas stations – is forbidden, adjacent to the major highways. Instead of heading south via Florence/Firenze to Roma, I was now riding with a pair of truckers who were heading East to Pescara on the Adriatic coast. One of the truckers witnessed the police basically kicking me out of the property, and as soon as the police were driving away he interceded, waving me towards their truck to accompany them. If I hadn’t already been talking in Spanish for a while with a friendly Cuban woman who worked at the station, she perhaps would not have let me back through the locked gate to the inside, where she was throwing out trash at the same time as the police were driving away. At this point one of the truckers had now approached the fence.
To be continued! and probably even the text I’ve written so far edited!! More to come, this ride with the truck drivers from South Italy, Pescara, the Moroccan 5 star restaurant and my introduction to the 5 points of the Muslim religion, Rome & my tour guide who enriched the quality of my experience there, more random events, the tail end of the Zurich street fest (electronic music) and more of the ride back.
Berlin to Mössingen 693 km
Mössingen to Torino Italy 594 km
Torino to Reggio Emilia 338 km
Bologna to Pescara 361 km
Pescara to Rome 208 km
Rome, Italy to Mössingen, Germany 1,064 km
Mössingen, Germany to Berlin 697 km
3955 km total = 2,457.523
Merely pause with your mouse over the images, to see the title text of the pictures.
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