Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: babbo

Jaja

In questo periodo chiuso in casa mi sono divertito a recuperare mentalmente le immagini che associo alla primavera.

La primavera di quando ero bambino erano le pedalate in bicicletta. Quelle serali, vicino al Convento delle Laste, con alcuni ragazzi della zona. E quelle del fine settimana con mamma, papà, e Anna. Fiumi, torrenti, parchi, ciclabili, strade sterrate, tra il Trentino, l’Alto Adige, e il Veneto. Era il periodo del Giro d’Italia, che seguivo con Stefano e con papà. La sera guardavamo il Processo alla Tappa: le giornate si allungavano visibilmente ed i commentatori parlavano in maglietta o camicia dalle piazze italiane, bellissime, al crepuscolo. (Francesca, che vive a Londra ed è rientrata a Trento per il lock-down, mi ha scritto da poco che “la primavera italiana è meravigliosa ed è forse la cosa che all’estero mi manca di più“). Io simpatizzavo per i ciclisti stranieri, chissà perché. Laurent Jalabert e Pavel Tonkov. Feci disperare mio zio Paolo: mi promise di comprarmi la maglietta di un ciclista, probabilmente convinto che gli chiedessi quella di Pantani. Io invece volevo quella di Tonkov e lui dovette andare a cercarla in un magazzino di Roma. La conservo e la metto ancora, ogni tanto.

Di quelle pedalate ricordo anche gli orribili pantaloncini arancioni aderenti e gli eccentrici calzettoni bianchi, che amavo portare fino a sopra il polpaccio per emulare i calciatori. Erano calzettoni della Nik, con la famosa freccia capovolta all’ingiù: i miei li compravano da alcuni ragazzi che li vendevano porta a porta.

Crescendo, la primavera ha assunto altre forme. Ci sono state quelle del venticinque aprile, quella irlandese, quella passata al lago di Caldonazzo per preparare le Facoltiadi; quella canadese (vissuta un pò a metà, per dire il vero); e, più recentemente, anche quelle toscane, spagnole, e svizzere in un colpo solo. Però quella che ricordo in maniera più vivida è la primavera vissuta a Bruxelles nel 2013, con Mindo, Giulia, Moe, Roberto, Giovanni, Alessandro, Vaida. Penso spesso ai parchi (Cinquantenaire, Bois de la Cambre, un altro parco dove andai con Giovanni, Giulia, Diletta, Katharina e Valentina, ma non ricordo il nome), alla gita fuori porta a La Hulpe, alla scappatella a Dusseldorf, alla gara a Uccle, alle birre nelle piccole piazze vicino a Saint Boniface.

ps: il titolo di questo post è il soprannome di Jalabert, Jaja, che nello slang francese vuol dire anche goccetto.

Ganghoferlauf in Leutasch

I spent a weekend with my father between Innsbruck, Leutasch and Seefeld in Tyrol. It felt good.

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The train ride between Zurich and Innsbruck is spectacular: Zürichsee, Wädenswil, Walensee, Vaduz, Feldkirch, Bludenz, St. Anton (the Arlberg Valley and the Voralberg). It is not the first time I take this train; but finally I take some pictures looking out of the window.

I arrive in Innsbruck in the late afternoon. My father picks me up: we drop our backpacks and drive up to Leutasch to check the ski tracks and get our race numbers. My father had signed us up for the Ganghoferlauf. Despite being being absolutely unpronounceable, this is the biggest cross-country event of Austria. My father had wisely decided to participate to the 25km, supposedly a piece of cake in comparison to the 60 km of the Diagonela and the 70 km of the Marcialonga.

One day before the race, the organisers decide to exclude participants coming from four Italian regions (Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto) because of the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. My father and I do not come from those regions, but I ask him to keep a low profile: Italians do not get very good press these days. Upon arriving to the place where we were supposed to get our race numbers he starts yelling ‘Adele, Adele!’ and runs across the queue to hug a race aficionada he knew. Later he seems to take a certain pleasure coughing loudly and swearing in Italian ‘Mannaggia che brutta tosse!‘. People keep a distance from us.

On Saturday morning we arrive at the starting blocks at around 8:40. We entertain phone calls with mother and friends right before the departure. We play it cool.

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It is a beautiful landscape. The snow is fresh, but difficult to ski. It tends to stick under the wax, right below the skis. On top of the first hill I must to stop together with other participants to clean up my skies. My father does not care much to wait for me: he rolls on, happy as a kid in his ninja outfit.

I chase. I get on the second hill and must stop again. This time, though, I decide to clean my skies a little further on, at the beginning of the downhill. Big fucking mistake. I clean my right ski alright. I am about to clean the left ski, but I realise it is no longer there. It is going down the descent already. What do I do?

I chase it with my right ski on. It is possible, after all.


Alas, I am no Bode Miller. I am too slow. So after 300 meters I stop, take out my right ski, and start running behind my left ski. Now it looks more like this.

Other participants are overtaken by a lonely ski and then by an Italian guy who runs down the hill like a little devil screaming ‘Achtung! Achtung!‘. They seem uncomfortable. Go figure.

I catch my ski after 1 km of descent. At that point, I am pretty much done for it. But I continue and rejoin my father. We roll joyfully to the finish line.


The next day we go for some backcountry skiing to Glungezer Hütte (2677 m). We take a lift in Tulfes (922 m), then start walking in Schartenkogel (2.055 m). It is not much of a walk, but the weather is cold and windy. By the time we get up we are half frozen. The last steps are fun, as you have to hold yourself to a rope. I managed to take a quick shot of my father climbing up. I hold the camera in the wind and the snow. Quite a feeling. We order two memorable soups that I will try to imitate once I am back home and we prepare for the descent. The weather has cleared up. It is now bright and calm. The afternoon is swell.

In the evening we drive back to Leutasch and we land in the sauna, which is wonderful. Also remember to go eating at Weinhaus Happ. Notes for the next time we will be in Innsbruck: di Wilderin and Karwendel.

On Monday we go backcountry skiing again, but the wind is now too strong and we prefer to stop. We visit the Kaiserjägermuseum and the Tyrol Panorama, home of the beautiful Gigantic Panoramic Painting depicted below. These museums are located right below the spectacular Bergisel Ski Jump (I did not manage to take a picture myself, so I am using Michielverbeek’s).

Upon returning to Neuchâtel I am content. I still cannot pronounce Ganghoferlauf.

Dialoghi e appunti tra Trento, Roma e Firenze

Una mattina di giugno alla fermata del bus anziano sale a bordo e saluta il guidatore: ‘Wella, direttore!“.

Al ristorante chiedo al cameriere se posso sedermi all’esterno. Lui mi risponde: “Puoi fare ciò che vuoi e io sarò il tuo schiavo“.

Al Giro d’Italia con Alvise, babbo, Giallu e Pietro tra Fonzaso, Croce d’Aune, Monte Avena, Pedavane e di ritorno a Fonzaso. Ci accampiamo con gli amici di Alvise che incitano in maniera indiscriminata spettatori e spettatrici che salgono in bici. Lo fanno sventolando davanti a loro mutandine di donna, sculacciandoli/le con due manine di plastica, versando loro del prosecco: “bevilo tutto!” oppure “e adesso lo finisci!” a seconda del momento.

Croce d'Aunia

Notte fonda al ritorno dal June Ball e trovo il solito fornaio all’opera in una remota bottega di via Boccaccio. Gli chiedo della schiacciata e lui me la regala: ho solo una banconota da cinquanta e lui non ha il resto. Due giorni dopo torno e trovo il suo collega. E’ quasi commosso che io sia tornato a pagare due euro. Loro si chiamano Mario e Sergio.

Francesco, Carmela e Costanza della Boutique della Pasta Fresca si ricordano ancora di me, anche se ci torno solo un paio di volte all’anno. Quando faccio per andare in bagno mi ricordano di chiudere la porta con delicatezza, altrimenti “gliela sbarbo“.

Un giorno cammino per il sottopassaggio delle Cure e mi godo l’Angelo che canta una litania napoletana accompagnato dalla fisarmonica. Sbucato alla luce mi trovo davanti Isah, che non vedevo dalla primavera del 2016. Lui era il venditore ambulante che sostava sempre davanti all’Antico Forno Guasti e con cui parlavamo di Roberto Baggio. Ci riconosciamo e parliamo di Danielo (Dani) e di Daniela (Jonas). Isah è molto contento, anche perché ora sta per partire per il mare dove farà la stagione – vendendo asciugamani. Ci siamo abbracciati.

Marcialonga 2019

After having shared with you the pictures of the Diagonela, I received several private comments from my readers (more than one but less than three). I decided to follow your advice: I wore a different hat for the Marcialonga.

The race was 70 km long. It took me 7 hours and 22 minutes to finish it. I skied for about 30 km together with my father but it seems that all the photographers were at the end of the race. There was some drama involved but this time I am not going to get into the details. All in all, it was a big day and I felt very close to all of those who made it possible in a variety of ways. Babbo, Mamma, Anna, Felix, Alvise, Arianna, Bea, Luisa, Marco, Fra, Jean-Thomas, Johanna, James, Paolo, Johnny, Luca, Eliana. They either gave me the equipment, came to ski with me ahead of the race, or just poked fun at me and gave some motivation. You should all participate to a big race with over 7500 people around at least once in your lifetime.

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Can happiness be haggis, neeps, and tatties?

My ride took a bit longer than expected. What was initially supposed to be a short stroll with the bike away from my laptop turned into a two-month journey across four countries and very different feelings. I have, in fact, been thinking a lot about myself, for reasons both professional and personal—but then who hasn’t? It is just that there are people who tend to think about themselves it more than anybody else: generally, it is either those who have a lot of spare time, or those who tend to be egocentric. I am a bit of both.

Matter of fact, I am about to speak about myself and stuff I have done – once again.

First I have ridden my bike. Quite remarkably, I rode with my dad the whole way between Trento and Tuscany. Although we did not make it to Florence because of sheer lack of time, it was a good ride. We had lot of water, huge meals, and approximately 400 km down the way. My dad is still stronger than I am when it comes to long-distance ride, which is not surprising as he does not waste too much energy thinking about himself.

Bike Ride
I have also written. My articles have been published on Unimondo: some of them in Italian (Università, il dilemma dei finanziamenti privati; Mondiali in Brasile, l’importante è partecipare;Regno Unito: una lunga serie di sfortunati eventi; Mondiali in Brasile: dove è la festa?), some others in English (How Eurosceptic is the new European Parliament?; A new deal between the EU and Turkey on immigration rules). But I have gone international too: Iris, Jasper and all the other Orange fella will be proud as my articles have been translated in Dutch (Voor het eerst vuurwerk in Europees Parlement; EU en Turkije sluiten nieuwe overeenkomst over immigratieafspraken).

I have been to the Balkans. First I went to Serbia for a volunteering program. After last year’s experience in Slovakia this year I landed in a town only 33km away from Belgrande. Lying between the rivers Sava and Kolubara, Obrenovac has been badly hit by the floods of the last Spring. I spent two weeks working with a group of international volunteers in the houses that had been damaged by the water and the mud. I then traveled south to Sarajevo, for an immersive three-day in one of Europe’s most inspiring places on the occasion of its international Film Festival. Much more should be said about this experience, but I won’t – not here, anyway.

I have hiked, keeping up with the good tradition started with Manuel and Mindo. This year, after the 2012 and 2013 editions, we managed to put together the whole crew, adding Dani and Giallu, and sleeping in a comfortable refugee, Dolomiti del Brenta. In spite of what Jonas thought before we left, we never got lost, as the pictures of us looking desperately hopeless in the fog can confirm.

Finally, I have read some books. While I am still trying to nail down War and Peace, I have been disappointed by Canada entertained by New Europe, and intrigued by the Consolations of the Forest. The latter is probably one of the richest, deepest, and most honest books I have ever read. Those of you who are into nature, philosophy, and vodka should probably go for it.

And that’s about it. I am in Edinburgh now and will be here for a month experiencing the joy of the local cuisine, the excitement of the upcoming referendum, and the company of some old and new friends. I am planning to make a better use of the blog than the recent past. But if the days keep being as beautiful as today it won’t be easy to keep up.

Questa foto non l’ho fatta con il mio telefonino. Non l’ho fatta oggi. Non l’ho fatta io. Ma rende l’idea.