Three months in Italy, sedentary but restless, and I’m ready for a new adventure. This time I won’t be alone, the faithful Rocinante will accompany me on the roads of Europe and maybe further beyond. It’s not a horse as the name might suggest, it's my beautiful mountain bike. I’ve bought it two years ago, brand new. It only cost 214 € and is by far the cheapest among all those that I see around when I go out training. Nevertheless, it has already accompanied me through the whole Scandinavian peninsula without even the slightest protest. The proof that we live in a society where appearance counts more than substance, where the important thing is to buy, not to make good use of what we have.
I didn’t name my mount as homage to Don Quixote but rather taking cue from "Travels with Charley", a masterpiece of travel literature where Steinbeck -in his case truly as a tribute to Cervantes- called Rocinante the camper truck on which he travels across America. Just to tie up a loose end, Charley was the dog who accompanied John Steinbeck in that fantastic trip. I don’t have a dog and instead of a camper
truck I’ve got a bicycle, less comfortable and often less dry. But more environmental friendly.
I had spent weeks drawing the detailed itinerary of what would have been my journey. I would have cycled up the Italic peninsula, crossed the Balkans, then reached Istanbul to finally proceed further east, towards the ever-fascinating Middle Eastern lands. Everything was already written on paper and with even clearer details in my mind. Then a few days ago I got a glimpse of an article about Iceland. And the plan "a" became… plan "b" while the idea of pedalling northwards filled my imagination with volcanoes and snow capped territories. I don’t know why but never in my long traveller "career" I managed to stick to a route previously established. The care I put in programming is equal to the enthusiasm with what in ten minutes I eventually delete all the work done. I'm happy in the inconstancy, I’m proud of being unable to follow written laws. Even those written by myself. In other words, I’m the poor version of Mr.Berlusconi.
Ah, Italian politics! After more than ten years, I went back to vote. I had returned home just days before the general
elections and for once I left myself get involved in it. The funniest thing - so to speak- was that the candidates to parliament were roughly the same ones as they were last time I voted. In my opinion they do it to make life easier for citizens; why select new people with all those new names to learn when you are already comfortable wiht the old ones? These guys are like McDonald's: tasteless but ubiquitous! Actually, ten years ago most of these guys were suppose to be "revolutionaries”. Umberto Bossi was a Celt and wanted to create the Northern Repubblica Padana; today he’s less Celt and more parliamentary. Gianfranco Fini was a fascist; today is Berlusconi main ally and President of the Lower House. Walter Veltroni was a commie; today is a "moderate" wanna-be president. Antonio Di Pietro was a respected magistrate; today is the only member of parliament who have never learnt italian (maybe he is a Celt too but Bossi has kept the news for himself). Berlusconi was a billionaire briber; today… No, he has remained himself. All in all, I did prefer these guys as revolutionary bullshitters rather than moderate bullshitters.
But back to travelling
and to Rocinante. My new route passes through Austria, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark where I intend to embark for Iceland. If all goes according to plan I should reach the iced island on August 20 or so, just in time to slowly travel across the country before the winter nutcracker arrives. After Iceland I will probably continue on travelling but there is no point in making long-term programmes that I’ll undoubtedly end up not respecting. The only certainty is that -as usual- I’ll travel in no haste and I haven't set any time limit. As the adage goes: "The ox is slow but the earth is patient". I’ll try to be regular in blogging but in this area too I’m not exactly the prototype of punctuality. So take this announcement as it comes: pure good intentions!
Last, something I finally realized in these past weeks of sedentary life on the power of TV. I premise I never watch TV, neither when I’m travelling nor when I live by myself in some foreign country. At my parents, as in most houses I suppose, meals time are punctually accompanied by the news. These containers of verbal and visual garbage
produce at first, after months of abstinence, involuntary and uncontrolled laughter "Dumb and dumber" alike where you might fall from the chair, land on your back and frantically move arms and legs in the air like an overturned turtle if only it wasn’t for the risk of being suffocated by what you were eating . After one or two weeks of regular daily fixes however, some doubts arise and you stop rolling on the kitchen floor. Unconsciously, you begin to ask yourself if maybe the world they are tryin to sell you is actually the real one. Finally, you reach the stage of addiction, of mental flattening. Good guys become really good, bad guys really bad. As it was in the first western movies. And the biggest problem at that point is not the fact that you totally stop noticing the tons of absurd inconsistencies they sell you, but rather the complete loss of autonomy when it comes to refer to a given topic. Do not let being conditioned, something easy in the first phase of the "experiment" is now impossible because impossible is to recall which information had our brain retained trough empiricism and which ones through unofficial propaganda.
And so, why does someone travel the way I do? To stay away from television…
PS: I was supposed to leave this morning at 7.30. It's now 9.30 and I'm still getting ready... ITALIANO
La versione italiana di questo blog la trovi sul sito Vagabondo.net
Link: Cavalcando Ronzinante I: Raiano (Km 0)
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