Sorry for the lack of information of recent, but finding a computer in Italy has been surprisingly difficult and I’ve also been surprisingly busy since the day I left to start cycling (4 days ago now).
There’s too much to tell I’m afraid, so much has happened and there’s no way I’ll ever have the time to write about it all, but that’s where the book comes in when I return, what will be my capolavoro (masterpiece in Italian, literally translates as bosswork).
Instead I’ll just run through 24 hours in the life, discussing the day before yesterday, though yesterday was equally as exciting and so were the days before. If you want to know more, follow my tweets (on right), I put lots of stuff on there because I can do it on my mobile.
So here goes, 24 hours in my life:
We’ll start with the 4 star hotel I found myself just outside of Italy’s premier lake, lago di Garda:
Given that the rain had ceased long ago and didn’t look like returning, I figured it would be fine just to sleep here in a sleeping bag, uncovered, exposed to the world and whatever lay in it. And what lay in? You may then ask. Cats. The answer is lots of cats. All night, fucking cats scaring the shit out of me, walking around in the bushes 1 metre away from my head. I got so paranoid about it that I thought one was getting ready to attack me, about to jump out from the bushes, and I spent the next 10 minutes sat up straight in my sleeping bag with my fists up, ready to deflect any oncoming feline. You’d think at this point you’d realise how ridiculous you’re being, and you do a bit, but this doesn’t mean the fists go down. Something hit me on the head at one point, and I turned straight away to see a black cat about 5 metres away. This confused me as I was left wondering if the cat was fast enough to hit my head and then get 5 metres away, or if it was possible that cats could throw things. I didn’t sleep so well that night, and I have to say in those moments I wondered how worthwhile this trip would be, how much I could put up with, and what the point of being in the middle of a congregation point for Italy’s skaggiest cats was all about.
However, after awaking, brushing my teeth and cruising down the hill to breakfast, everything changed:
I took this photo. Looks like one from a travel magazine right? I told you my food photography would improve. I was euphoric at this breakfast, the cappuccino and brioche was perfect, the sun incredible, the lake water icy, buy fresh. I jumped in straight after finishing, and then lay on the warm wooden pier to dry in the sun afterwards, listening to the gentle waves of the lakes and feeling the sun molest me in all the right ways.
Some physiotherapy by the lake and a little cycle later, I found myself here:
I could’ve just ended it all there, but the great breakfast made me believe everything would be worthwhile. As I said though in an earlier post, a lot of this trip is about conquering fears; I’ve never much liked heights, and I was happy with myself for managing to sit like this for a while. The evermoving, evergrowing, everfearsmashing Samuel.
So why do I sleep in the middle of Cat central? Because I can then spend the money I save on things like this:
Yup, that lunch was pretty serious. After a hard day of cycling, I couldn’t have dreamed of anything better. The roast potatoes in particular were amazing and I met the chef afterwards to ask him how he made them (I’ll post a recipe later). Then here’s the more interesting thing; since the food was so good there, I asked him after if I could help him out in the kitchen for free for a couple of days, to help with preparation and learn a bit. And he thought about it, and then we laughed a bit about the idea, then he thought a bit more, and then we laughed, and then he said… no. But it was cool at least to see that it’s possible maybe, and I’m glad I had the courage to ask for something bizarre like that. On my first day of cycling there were loads of things I wished I had asked, it’s nice to have actually now just gone and asked, even if I didn’t get what I wanted, I’m happy that I can know I tried. However, I also spoke with the owner a lot as well over the dinner, about what I’m doing and where I’m going, and she gave me the whole lunch (a coca cola, cappuccino, steak plus side dish, biscuits) for 17 euros. Half price, because, well I don’t know, she said because I was young. I’m going to publish a list soon of all the free things I’ve received in the last 4 days, or maybe I’ll wait to the end, it’s getting ridiculous.
On another note, when you have such a fantastic lunch, you feel you need to share it with a bit of company:
I cycled off and arrived at Riva del Garda, the most northern and largest town of the lake. Upon arriving I asked a girl for directions, and she turned out to be English, proper Northern even, a strange accent to be greeted by in the middle of scenic Italy. We chatted a few minutes and she invited me to stay at her place, to which I said hell yeah as I like having a roof more than living with cats. I became involved in a house of British Garda ‘Seasonairs’, who had come for the sun, and work for Thompson or other holiday companies catering to the needs of seemingly fussy tourists. We talked a lot about north Italians and they confirmed what I’d already been thinking. Although I’ve found many extremely friendly, I also find them all definitely to be a little suspicious and skeptical, when they watch me cycle past, they don’t smile, but instead it always seems as if they are trying to work something out, like they don’t get me, I don’t fit into the normal picture of the village, and I can almost feel the distrust in their eyes sometimes. I think the fact that I haven’t stayed in one Italian’s house, yet met hundreds, and have now been invited into one English person’s house, after meeting one, says quite a bit about this mentality here. Apparently I need to go to the south to get invited into Italian Mama’s houses, and apparently it’s very easy there and friendly. But I’m enjoying the north nonetheless so I’m in no hurry to head southbound.
‘Gels’, the northern girl, a friend of hers called Jade, and I all went out to watch a reggae band at an outdoor cafe. Gels brought me a few drinks, and so did Jade, and I wondered if I was being seduced. When Jade and I started to dance together, I realised I was definitely being seduced. Jade was definitely quite pretty, albeit slightly on the podgy side (although you could argue this was made up for by her huge and well shaped breasts), and was a tomboy to the extent were it went past quite cool and delved slightly into the ok, stop dressing completely like a man sort of thing. She didn’t really know what she was doing with her life, probably like many seasonaires at random Italian lakes, and the way she talked and also the history of her life I heard just spelled out I-S-S-U-E-S.
We got back to the apartment and she came and sat next to me on the sofa. I was left sitting there with, by no means the girl of my dreams, but a pretty girl who definitely fancied me. I thought about the mentality men are supposed to have, if it’s there, you should take it. I’d never really found myself to be like this, but suppose I’ve always maybe wondered if I should be a little more this way as we’re, as men, told all the time that this is what you should be like a bit. I then thought about this blog, about the caption, about fulfilling what the readers want. And with this all in mind, I snuggled up next to her and we started to get together.
But I couldn’t do it. She reminded me of one of my mum’s psychotherapy clients. Jade was just some lost 19 year old, who’d been a druggy, a goth, an emo, had gone through every phase, and didn’t know what she wanted or what she was doing. She seemed so young and confused, I had no desire to be with her, and I suddenly remembered Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, and understood why he couldn’t go through with it at all when the young and gorgeous, though equally confused young woman presents herself to him. We kissed a bit, but I became quite passive, unwilling to move things forward in any direction and it became a bit stagnant soon enough. She said she needed to go somewhere for a moment, and then didn’t come back. I wonder if she felt anything from me, or maybe she realised she actually didn’t want this either, I didn’t dwell on it long enough to make any conclusions as I was pretty happy that she didn’t return myself. In fact, I was just happy to have a sofa and to be far away from any cats.
SO, there’s 24 hours taken from only the third day of my journey. I cycled up hills with speed, I got a superbly served and discounted steak lunch, and I almost slept with a woman. When I wrote the caption for this blog it was a joke, the first thing that came to my head, but it seems I was right when I wrote in the About section, that this would all be about;
Fast bikes, Fast food, and Fast women.