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Posts Tagged ‘L’Aquila’

That’s how it began

A roar, then everything starts trembling for a few seconds.

Everything tremble…the couch where I was sleeping is shaking like a train getting out off the rails.

I feel pieces of rubble falling over my left hand from the roof, I try to clear them off but there is nothing…

Then I ask to myself why I am still in my sleeping bag, why I didn’t try to run out to escape the earthquake.

Only then I realize I was having a nightmare. 

This morning I told Paolo, my host during this two days between L’Aquila and Pescomaggiore, about the nightmare and I felt a bit ashamed.

I’ve only been here for a short while and even if I didn’t experience the earthquake, beside hearing people’s stories about it and seeing the state of the buildings and the rubble everywhere, I was so impressed by it to the point to have a nightmare.

What’s about those who were here during the earthquake then?

They still have, after so many months, their city, their homes, their families destroyed

Monday night and yesterday afternoon I wandered around the city center.

It’s terrible! Even if I thought I was ready for it, it gives you the shivers.

I thought about it all the way along my first stage.

Today I walked the 25 kilometers from Sassa (L’Aquila) to Antrodoco.

 The sun was shining most of the time, until I entered my goal, giving me the advantage to arrive earlier than planned.

5 hours to cover 25 kilometers and another 2 hours to walk from the sign to the city centre.

Gianus (mountain) punished me for having been too fast and it decided to send me from its peak 3 hailstorms and a neverending downpour.

Luckily I always found a roof to escape it.

Now I am sitting in a bar, the bar owner plays the slot machine and I am resuming the first part of the trip, while drinking a massive beer.

It started well. Saturday morning I took a train to Milano, and after having been forgotten by the ticket controller, risking to stay on the train that was heading back somewhere, I met Roberto, one of the guys heading to the GPS course in Roppolo, Piemonte and he gave me a lift till there, driving toward one of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen, as the alps were clear and the sun was shining.

Once we got there, after introducing ourselves, Alberto mastered to lead us into the study of GPS and all its secrets, theory in the morning and trying out what learned after lunch walking around Roppolo’ beautiful area, including the first piece of Via Francigena  I’ve ever walked, like a symbolic start of my walking trip.

The two days have been great: the guys are truly wonderful people, coming from all around Italy, and we had a really good time, during the lessons but also during the meals together.

At the end, after exchanging addresses and say goodbye, I toke advantage of a lift by Alberto who was heading home to Milano with his family.

Once there I started wandering around to find a phone or a open bar, and when I got tired of walking I entered I restaurant and I ordere Salmon Tagliatelle, probably the last luxury I will manage to afford for a long time, as my budget is almost not existing.

Whit my belly filled, I managed to find a phone, call my brother Silvano, (the saviour in emergency cases) and then Paola, a friend of mine that I only see with a frequency of every 10 years but that when you need her, she’s there for you.

Paola and Roberto came to pick me up at the train station and we drove to their home, where there was waiting for me lasagne and apple pie, another luxury after the Salmon tagliatelle…I will have to forget this for a while…

We spent a nice evening, talking about the old times, looking at pictures and not watching TV.

The following morning, we had a little walk around, and after breakfast, I said goodbye to Paola and I left with Maurizio, Luca and family who were also at the GPS course and were heading near L’Aquila, my “final destination”

After a nice trip when the guys left me in a road of L’Aquila and said goodbye, I felt alone for the first time.

And there I faced the road with all the adventure waiting for me.

That’s how it began!

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Here we are again.

I haven’t disappeared.

I can’t really lie and tell you I was busy doing something important these days, but despite the fact that I didn’t conclude anything, at least I’ve been trying to and that have taken most of my time. The other thing I did these days was obviously eating a lot! Like always on Christmas time.

I can’t avoid it, good food is something I can’t resist, and thinking about my trip, I better eat something good now that I can because I will suffer having to eat randomly for the next months. I must forget anything like mama’s food for a while!

Anyway, what I have been doing on Christmas time, beside making a snowman with my niece, eating a lot and meeting some friends, was trying to fix a few things concerning my trip and there are some news about it: the main thing is that I won’t be leaving around the 3rd week of January as planned, but some time later. This is because I have some friends in France that I want to meet but they are not going to be there before April, so I must postdate everything.

Then another thing came up. Through Couchsurfing, I got in touch with Alberto Conte who’s the promoter of Movimento Lento, a website and movement that makes of the slow walking, cycling and moving its flag, and he invited me to a seminary that will be held in a village of Piemonte, also one of the stages of Via Francigena, the 20th and 21st of February.

Initially I thought the better way to fit the date whit this event was to start my walk a bit earlier than planned  and once I’d got there I could have stopped for the seminary, and start again after two days.

Now that I need to postdate my leaving date to February, to be able to meet my friends in France, the best thing to do would be to wait even until after the seminary, so that’s why I am kind of getting crazy trying to fix this, checking the road-book, changing dates, change them again, adding stages…

Did I just say “adding stages”?

Yes…that’s right…because one of the insane ideas I had is this: if I have to leave later than what I thought, why not leaving from further away, from L’ Aquila for instance?

I know, it doesn’t make any sense…the thing is that I can’t wait any longer, if I must postdate my leaving  from Rome, I don’t want to stay here too long, boring myself at home when I should be walking already!

I always wanted to go to visit L’ Aquila as a tourist and, since the earthquake happened, I wish I could have gone and helped out somehow.

When I was living in Dublin I didn’t because I simply couldn’t leave my job, now a few months after the earthquake, L’Aquila is not at all reconstructed, like they would like us to believe, so I think I could help out somehow, like promoting charities,  found-rising, whatever is worthy trying to do.

I don’t have big expectations, but why not to try?

So these days beside eating a lot and all the things I said above, I am also trying to get in touch with someone over there and see what we can do to help out, and anyway, whatever will happen, I’d really like to start from L’Aquila instead of Rome. L’Aquila-Rome is only 6 days of walk, not a big difference for a 3.200 kilometres trip!

And I am seriously thinking of adding stages at the end too.

I could decide to walk down to Portugal once I’ll arrive to the ocean…you know…a bit like Forrest Gump does when he gets to face the ocean…

Anyway, I go back to think about dates and stages, I should let you know soon what is the final starting date!

Meanwhile, have a good time and enjoy yourself.

I don’t know if I’ll post again soon so I take the chance to wish you all a  fantastic and happy 2010!

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