Sunday, 22 July 2007

Josh - Turning Italian

I’ve decided that waiting a month is too long to wait (for me that is) so I have decided to post randomly, depending on how much we have done, and this last fortnight has been wild.

It has been a fortnight since we were last at a campsite and a fortnight since my last blog so this is about my wild camping experience. I think our tour will be wilder than we thought, because of the fun you find from every day things, like mud. Wake up in a tent, slumber into the roasting morning heat, open up the freezing cold motorhome (we have realised it’s the sun that is hot so we’ve been sticking to the shade), and eat breakfast. After slowly pulling on our swimming costumes on we run down to the lake, jump into the water and take a mud bath worth £150 and cook. The wild cows and flocks of sheep climb up to your motorhome and stare at you like ‘where the heck are you from you human idiots?’ The burnt biscuits that fall off your makeshift spear into the fire go to the cows and the charcoal to the sheep (they will eat absolutely anything!). To wake up in a tent knowing that the billions of sheep that will come round between 9-10 o’clock is a experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. To go down to the lake to swim and knowing that the cows are just around the corner is another memorable experience.

Wild camping gives you Freedom to do anything. Dad has said a lot about Freedom so I will just share my Freedom. Freedom gives you the pleasure (especially for Moses) to wander down to the lake and go for a swim by yourself. Freedom lets you collect the dry tea smelling cow turds for the fire. Freedom lets you play with the still burning ashes of the evening fire and learn about chemistry for the sake of it. Freedom lets you pee where you want when you want (like in the hot ashes of a fire, I will remember to be careful of the sparks next time). Freedom is a thing you will never experience unless the boundaries are billions of miles beyond the horizon, which was what they were for us.

It is so simply easy to turn Italian. Going for the evening passagiata, eating excellent Andy/Jamie Oliver Italian food and let the world go by is all you need to become one with this long living round race. Let me get this over to you; do none of these things you never will truly fit into Italy. Italy is one of those things that flow into you with a little push; reach out for it though, and it will run away. Italy is something that will change you forever and if you don’t want that then you will never experience the fun of Italians. Live Italy, Love Italy and Love Life; that’s the done thing. Make sure you keep some of your old life because Italy is a thing that will change you forever (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

What we have decided to keep is exercise. A few days ago we went for a 23km ride into a town (or more like a piazza with houses) and yesterday dad and me went for a 800-900m swim across the lake with the current (in a lake!?) against us. It took a good 45 minutes, we also had to deal with a kilometre walk back on thorns, boiling concrete and sharp rocks, not to mention the tank loads of sheep poop (it is the Poop in Europe Tour is it not!). Italy has not only surrounded our life but has also crept into us and we are Lovin’ It. Just for extra measure I’m playing football with anybody at anytime possible because cricket is basically unheard of in Italy.

Alright 23km a bit long don’t you think (especially since it is mainly uphill even though it was a round trip)? Ok, get ready by 12:00 get the bikes off the back and start riding. Start going down hill going very fast and feel very cool (both ways). There were a few up hills but still we sped round the corners. We stopped at a fountain and drank. We looked ahead at a huge hill. We pedalled up eventually and looked at little piazza open mouthed. We pedalled back so fast that my wheel reflector shot off at high speed. The swim was hard. It was against the unexplainable tide non-stop and feeling like the shore was moving away from us. When we were 10-20m away from the shore two fishermen started being rude and saying that we were disturbing the fish. For the second time dad cussed in a different language (again in the polite form)! The walk was more painful and our feet are still covered in cuts and bruises. That evening we left towards Tuscany and went through a 5-6 mile long tunnel!

The evening passagiata is the done thing in Italy. It means the passage and it is when everyone comes to stare and get stared at ([sigh] typical Italians)! It is especially amazing because it is always at sunset and normally around the main piazza and the main fountain so it is pretty amazing I must say. The main reason (I think) is so you can make room for the huge 8 o’clock dinner whether it’s pizza or pasta. We bet that if you don’t turn up at passagiata you’ll get about a billion phone calls to see if you’re alright.

Now dressed up and leaving for passagiata. What can you say? We’re turning Italian!

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