Time is going by fast. So fast, that it is kind of crazy. Time is accelerating in general, but somehow I thought that when I got here, it would slow down. It has not. It goes faster. Before I know it, it will be next year, next years trip. Before I know it, my nephews will be teenagers. It could be tomorrow. I could be dead tomorrow, so I will keep traveling, but if anyone knows a way to slow time down, could you please let me know.
Anyway. Right now I am in Sondrio, a town high in the north of Italy on the border of Switzerland. What is it, Saturday? I think it is Saturday… last Saturday then, I was in Padova, the highlight of that particular Saturday being the two minutes I was completely alone in the Scrovegni Chapel. Completely alone! Me, Giotto, and two minutes of complete silence. It was, is, one of the most amazing two minutes not only of this trip but of any trip and possibly of my entire life.
I also had a very nice Sunday in Padova. There was a bio-market in the main Piazza, and a really cool exposition of dozens of local mushrooms, and got to see an old friend in the afternoon.
Monday, headed west to the town of Acqui Termi. Essentially I went there to have a little slowtravel get together, but it was a bit like flying from San Diego to Alexandria, Virginia to have a couple of drinks with friends. Still, if there was any place to eat, drink and sleep for 36 hours, Acqui Termi is as good a place as any. Even if it took 7 hours to get there and 6 to get out. It poured rain the first night, and I mean poured, making rivers everywhere. Rivers coming down the street, rivers making my lame umbrella a cruel joke. Rivers reminding me that sometimes, the travel gods have to have a hehe moment. In these moments, what else is there to do, but to eat, drink, sleep. Thank the gods for wine and chocolate. (Maybe the travel gods are in a lucrative marketing scheme with the wine and chocolate gods, and when the rent is due, they have a whole program worked out.)
Anyway. Left that town and once again, was reminded of the simple fact that it does not pay to deviate from the plan; my plan being, take the 8:54 train to Genoa and then the 11:40 to Milan Lambrate to meet Kim. My motus operandi was to have the least connections possible. There were all manner of other 6 hour trips I could take to MIlan, but they involved multiple changes. I got up early though, and though I could maybe make it on the earlier train to Genoa and then Milan, getting me in a couple of hours earlier. Ha. Got to the station and made it on the train only to hear the announcement that this particular train would not go all the way to Genoa. Uh. Could you not have relayed that information in the station? Allora, not really. Instead I got off the train with all the other passengers and boarded a really comfy Trenitalia chartered bus, and enjoyed some nice views of some rivers, and then the morning rush hour traffic. Basically my deviating from plan A resulted in some extra time hanging out at the Genoa train station. One cafe macchiato, a cappucino, a cornetti, and one prosecco later, I was on my way to Milano. Finally.
It was a beautiful trip though. The train wound through the mountains of Liguria and we went over many rivers. Everytime we went over a river, I was like, is that the Po? But it would take a better riverologist than me to answer my question. Actually, I am somewhat of a river lameass. I need to brush up on my rivers.
This entry is getting a little long so I will try to fast forward. Crap, I am trying to SLOW THINGS DOWN. Oh well. Speaking of crap, in this town of Sondrio, there is a place that is called Il Crap. I am serious! I do not know if this is the local dialect or what, but it relates to the monastery, or a castle, that is on the top of the hill. One thing that you may be asking, and that indeed I have been asking myself is, what the hell I am doing in Sondrio. But the cool thing is, I like asking myself questions like “where the hell am I?” (As long as it is not raining rivers. In this case, this question kind of sucks.)
Well what I am doing here is, looking for the family of my friend Chris Spene. His grandfather came from here, in the 1800’s then migrated to America – the family name here is Spini. So it is Chris here, and his wife Jen and Kim and me. And we have nothing to go on, but somehow here we have found some Spinis and ended up in a bar tonight in a place that seriously, I never ever in a million years I thought I would be in and now Chris is with some Spinis and me and Kim and Jen are hanging out drinking wine. Where the hell are we? We are in travel land. The land where maybe the rivers don’t involve water; where maybe the rivers involve the thread that binds us together. Rivers of blood – the blood that binds us. Rivers of desire – the desire to understand the parts of ourselves that we do not know. Rivers, that never stop, coming down, down, the mountains and that carry memories, carry history; maybe we do not know the mountain, maybe we do not know the river. But we will. And the moments that we find a particular river – well those are the moments that we remember. Right?