I woke up late today (8:30 am), updated the site and am on the road again.
Torino - Milan
Here is how the road was built between Torino and Milan… someone from Torino was holding one end of the road, someone from Milan the other side and they stretched it and stretched it until they got to each of the city's border. 150 km, straight, boring, and I have nothing to say about it that will bring it alive so that's it.
Milan - the full half glass or the empty half glass
In Torino and Milan, the first thing you see when entering the city is the sign that leads you to the soccer stadium, which is in the city’s entrance. Both of them are impressive, however it looks as though the stadium in Milan won 1:0. The temperature rises and with it the humidity as well. I ride toward the city center with the main target - the Domo. A very famous cathedral that I must see. However, I can’t find it. After going around and around I decide to stop in the main square. I know it is around here. We parked the bikes but Gidion refused to leave the bike so I went for a 'search' mission but couldn't stand the heat and gave up. I found the river - but no Domo. And about the title above - how can such a beautiful city can be so dirty, or maybe – how can such a dirty city be so beautiful?
We get on the bikes again. Gidion rides behind me and I still can't find it. We found other nice cathedrals, but not the Domo. I see a bus full of tourists and decide to stay on its tail. I know that it must eventually take them to see the Domo. I am right. Now it is 40 degrees. First, as a sign of respect I baptized myself. My better half, may she live in peace, belongs to this tribe, and even though I learned to forgive her for this mistake (just until she will get back to my tribe), I take a picture of the ceremony. Gidion stay by the bikes, so I go to check out the place. First of all. From the outside it is huge. Amazing. Just an amazing structure. After a quick security check (lucky me they did not find out that I am circumcised), I am in and first thing I did was to go to confession but the priest wasn't at home. Went to the neighbors for snacks?
So far, the highlight is the cool temperature inside and it will take me 10 more minutes to stop 'cooking' from the stove outside and to begin to appreciate what I see. It is true that he chose us among all the other nations, but let me tell you something - he surly did compensate the Catholics. Huge place (cool, have I said so already), marble columns, windows (Shagal??? you made it here too???) that spread colorful light on the various spaces in the place, hundreds of people pray (no entrance to the praying area for tourists but it is an open area) that come here for the Sunday mass and many that come to light a candle in memory of someone. There is a mystical feeling in the air. They don't really allow you to take pictures but after spotting one Asian here and one Asian there I became a proud Asian too. In addition - if they already tell the world that we killed Jesus, let them tell that I took pictures inside too. But as I do have some respect, I did not use my flash and the result is that you need to work hard to see. In short, it was worth looking for. I must go back outside though because I am afraid that Gidion will dehydrate. When looking for the road that will lead us out of the city, suddenly another B.M.W, 1200, stops beside me and the guy says to me in English "You are far away from home, aren't you?". Being caught off guard (someone speaks English!), I forget to ask him for directions. I catch him at the next lights and he leads me to the exit. It turned out that he played football in Canada several years ago and then did the same in the States. When I will be back home I must find out how come the land of football imported a player from Torino. After we say good-bye, I discover a real ice-cream place, the kind that exists only in Italy and I ask Gidion if he feels like ice cream. He doesn’t but I stop regardless. Of course he soon changed his mind and I had the best ice cream ever. I must take a picture (so you can really get a taste of it) and we are on our way.
Just a short note about the road from Torino. I said before, the heat is unbearable and to all of you non-riders that are sure that on a bike it is fun because it is open and windy - wrong! It is a wind of 40 degrees and you are in the sun all the time. So in the gas station I stop and buy a big Italian flag. When nobody is watching I take it to the washrooms, fold it and soak it with water. Then I tie it around my neck. And you thought that those scarves that you see on bikers are some fashion statement? At home, I have an "Air Condition" like this that goes with me for a while now (and already have many admirers), but here, I really hope that no Italian will notice what it is made off. We continue, and sometimes I 'run away' and speed up and then wait for Gidion and we continue. I am in the middle lane on the way to Verona, 160 km/h when suddenly, and I mean suddenly, behind me comes a black Lamborghini Countach (and I thought they come in red and yellow only...) It moves to the left lane in a flash and passes me at an amazing speed. The only thing I had time to notice was the drivers bald head and the fact that because it is so low and wide, it looked like a page that flies in the wind. At the entrance to Verona he was stopped at the side of the road with a flat tire. Conclusion? If you drive a Peugeot 104 with a spare tire you will make it home in time to watch the six o'clock news...
Enough. I am tired of telling you that everything is so nice and beautiful. It's an ugly city. With the old amphitheater, and Julia's house (there you can rub you’re your hand like everyone else on her breast for good luck), and those ugly stones walks, and those ugly restaurants, and the ugly narrow streets, and ugly houses, and ugly roofs, and ugly street market. Really ugly. Don't go. (for those of you without a sense of humor - it is a BEAUTIFUL city!).
And by the way, it is really not certain that Shakespeare visited Verona at all, but Romeo don't really care.
Last minute update
This morning (Monday), I went for a walk in the city. In the morning things look different, and the same can be said for Verona. I walked around, loved life, and took pictures of the old amphitheater, and some old buildings that you see only in the movies and photos. As it seems to happen frequently to me on trips like these, and especially in small beautiful places, I tend to forget that it is a place that people live in year round and not only a place that was created for tourists. Suddenly the streets are full with students in their way to school and it gives me a reality check. The site of backpacks on the background of the old city make you think. So here is a moment of sentiment. I have been in a few cities around the world. But the following picture I must try to describe. Mothers and fathers are taking their kids to school. I am guessing they were in grades 1-3. So far, nothing new, right? But the truth lies always in the small details. Everyone is holding hands, (the fathers dressed in their suits), and you can see on their faces that there is nothing more precious in the world for them then the treasure they hold in their hands. Don't get me wrong, I’m not trying to suggest that there is any parent that doesn’t appreciate their own treasure. It's the look in their eyes and their behavior. The look like couples in love! There is no one that is pulling/pushing his kid because he is late for work. Like they didn't receive a message last Thursday from the bank that the mortgage hasn't been paid yet and that the boss is waiting angrily for the report that he asked for last week. They get to the school gates, they stand and TALK to their precious ones and not to the other parents and when the gates are opened they kiss like they don't want to leave, like real lovers and not like 'here is a kiss and now run and don't forget to eat the fruit I packed for you'. You can just see that they are heartbroken because they will not be together for the next four hours, and maybe they even say "promise me, but PROMISE that you will send a postcard and call".... And maybe later they run to work for the Mafia, or the Koza Nostra or any other Italian joke. Maybe they will run to kill some other poor drivers on their roads. But in those minutes, you can understand why they do everything. And in this minute you understand the joke you received in your e-mail a few days ago that said (approximately) that an Italian guy admires his wife and respects her and does other things. But love? He loves his mother (hey - I saw fathers too). Think about it.