That night I slept on straw in what looking like a nice place for a horse to give birth to her foal. I looked for a slow feed net as curtains seperated each sleeping area to give a cozy friendly feel. A self-styled Finka purchased from his father, Marco was a welcoming man. It is the end of the season and I am one of a handful of guests. He ordered me pizza, I blogged, I borrowed 3 blankets and slept well only to wake when my feet got cold. This morning I found I'd plugged my bike batteries into a faulty socket so recharging them would whittle into an already tight schedule. There is a butterfly wing in my head which reminds me of my inner chaos. If it flaps too hard now it will create a storm fort me to sort out later.
"To slacken and slow now would extend this journey by years."
Bed of Straw
Marco's mate Danny from New York was a wondering minstrel who busked with his saxophone on a nearby street or as often at stately homes. He just happened to be there. He played for us both. Batteries charged I set off on my own way.
I stop at a COOP in Lugano. Milk and a chocolate bun. Sitting by the trolleys an outsider, I am happy. Nietzsche said. 'one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.' I read Colin Wilson's book 'The Outsider' published in 1958. He said that “the average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain.” Bring it on. And age 14 binging on Knut Hansun's book 'Hunger' nihilism ran through my viens.
Ginger and orange chocolate chocolate, nice. The sun was shining, yachts were being covered by people maybe expectant of an end to Autumn, people were lounging on benches, men were chatting and drinking beer.
Always the immediate first scan at junctions, most of the time in a reduced way but at critical manoeuvring situations in a full on unimpeded top speed my senses saw and felt everything around me. Truck wheels two hands width from me at speed destroyed time it was so instant.
I made Milan by roads bleeding with the weight of her vehicles but also across fields and ingeniously by footpaths and gravelly trails. I took coffee in a cafe on a deliciously Italianate main street in a place I have already forgotten but in the park beside the hostel I stand and listen. General rumble of gaiety from the outside bar. Sounds of young people wailing off key singing with undertones of drunken laughing, guffaws and raucous play. And it's still only a Tuesday. A Middle Eastern man walks in the dimly lit park shouting into his phone but I see the moon, an ovoid leaning. Dogs barking is almost mandatory and as a soundscape this is a feast compared to the impatience of cars and trucks skimming me as I ride on the SP23.
No cycle path just two lanes of boisterous traffic each one posturing to overtake so to shuffle up a place or two. I feel the absurdity of a world I’ve seen so far partying hard like there’s no tomorrow. If there is a human crises at the personal level it’s not like that on the road. Transport hubs bring trade. There are people on the move doing all the things they've ever wanted to do. Now. It’s bucket lists on steroids. It’s wanting everything as often as possible. Then wanting it again. When he thought of migratory wanderings, my once favourite author Bruce Chatwin said in 'Songlines',
“as a general rule of biology, migratory species are less 'aggressive' than sedentary ones. There is one obvious reason why this should be so. The migration itself, like the pilgrimage, is the hard journey: a 'leveller' on which the 'fit' survive and stragglers fall by the wayside.The journey thus pre-empts the need for hierarchies and shows of dominance. The 'dictators' of the animal kingdom are those who live in an ambience of plenty. The anarchists, as always, are the 'gentlemen of the road'.”
Water skiing on Lake Lucerne followed by a migratory walk to the bar for a beer was maybe not what he had in his mind.
Today I didn't talk to anyone. Travelling isn't a lonely experience, it's an alone experience.
Milan was quietening. Branches of trees hang on the moon like the black veil of a mother in mourning, it coincides with the quietness I feel yet, there are times during the days' ride I am so energised I feel at that moment I could make all of my ideas happen. I walk back towards the hostel, a couple hug gently on a bench her wearing a green headscarf. A man slouches on another bench, head forward, arms out like a crucifix, out for the count. Dog walker with a big dog passes as a late night tram scoots away.
Map of the Day (I missed a bit at the beginning, forgot to press the start button!)