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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tagesk, Dec 9, 2007.
the camera is a good choice.. it seems able to convey your view of the world very well
Welcome back Tage. Having ridden in Sardegna twice, I am looking forward to your report. You seem to have gone to many places I did not go so all the better. Looking at your Spot tracks I was rather shocked that you skipped Orgosolo. I would have welcomed your take on the murals. Another day...
Tage has returned! The long wait is over! No one tells it like you do my friend. Hooray!
"neque illic mortuus" indeed.......
Tage, great to see you're back in business. I can't wait to reed you're report.
That, Sir, was a hidden message which I had not expected anyone to notice.
A little gem put in for my own pleasure.
When standing in front of that outstanding work in marble, in Santa Maria del Popolo, in Roma obviously, and
reading "Not living here - Not dead there", while making mental preparations for a week-long ride where
I will try to think hard about my life -- was it possible for me not to include it in the Preludium of the report?
It simply had to be there.
But you, Sir, cut through the fog I put in place by not discussing it. To the core of the issue.
If I am not living here, but not dead there, where am I?
I laud you!
The only way I can show my appreciation is to make sure the dinner I hope I can serve you
here in my garden will be larger, better and with wines that surpass your expectations.
Thank you, Sir, for looking very, very carefully at my pictures.
At first glance I thought it might be a Leica. After reading about the black tape, I'm sure of it. Is that a Noctilux on the front of it? ;-)
I must demur. My success in penetrating the details is only possible because they are there to be investigated. Thank you! And thank you for the invitation to dinner. One day we will sit down together to dine at your Tuscan home, I am sure.
It is my understanding that some noted photographers of the past used black tape on their cameras....you are in good company. Ride on!
So good to be back at your fantastic reports!
Looking forward to the new narrative .......
Originally Posted by tagesk
We see a mature man who not only with great
care have avoided buying a Canon or Nikon, but who also have used
black tape so that no one can see which camera he has.
This is part 2 of 8. You are adviced to start with the
first part. Words in Italian are set cosi.
We have many years of experience riding our motorcycle together,
Capa Superiore della Famiglia and myself. It's Sunday 19th of
May and everything is ready. But then it turns out that not everything
was set after all. The goal was to take off at 12 but it is almost one
before we (finally) manage to depart.
Capa, Tryggve and me are one our way, the sun is shining, we're in
Tuscany, I filled 20-50 in the Tryggves engine, the intercom works
great, he has no more than 83.000 km on the odo and we have Metzler
Tourance. Can you ask for more?
Yes, you can. Lunch, for example.
This trip needs be coordinated with others. My mother and Edel fly in
to Sardegna from Norway, landing in Cagliari (in the very south of the
island). They land in the morning on Monday. That is why we take the
ferry to Sardegna today Sunday.
Tomorrow morning, we'll meet up with the ladies at the airport in
Cagliari, pick up a rented car, and then drive to Putzu Idu and
Riva dal Mare where
we will stay for a week. Map later.
Unfortunately I don't have any need for a vacation, and I'll discuss
this at length later. Thus, my role in all this is to bring Capa
Superiore to Cagliari so that she can drive to Oristano along with the
other ladies, then keep a low profile about a week, picking her up in
Cagliari again, take her to Olbia on the north-east coast where we
ferry back to the mainland.
My interpretation of "keep a low profile" is not to protest when
the ladies are discussing what to do during the day, and generally not
be in the way. That means, I think, that Tryggve and I shall ride
around on Sardegna while the ladies do whatever women do when left to
their own device. I refrain from asking what that might be.
We are catching a ferry, the day is well underway, so instead of
slowly winding our way down to Civitavecchia through the rolling hills
of Chianti, we instead steer Tryggve out on the Autostrada and we zip
Five years ago, give or take, we had lunch at a bar at an intersection
not far from Grosseto. We remember the bar, and no better reason
exists; we need to visit again. We have some idea where it might be,
and after some searching we find it. They place is called
La Bottega della Cura in the
"center" of the tiny hamlet Cura Nuova. It's not too late and we
enjoy warm lunch. Just primo for us today. Very good food!
They have a substantial selection of wines, offer accommodation and
run a trattoria. Here is my take on this: Most likely I could spend a
pleasant evening and night here. First, the morning with Tryggve and a
woman in Chianti, then the afternoon in Maremma, before we with great
care attended to all the nagging needs of the body. For reservations
We almost always go through a social process as we embark on a ride.
First, let us say the first hour, we talk about current events, the
electricity has become so expensive, Lucia did a swell job with the
garden, and so on.
Then silence dawns upon us. We are thinking about more important
things. Like Life, Universe and Everything. Then, slowly, important
discusstions come to the surface. The things that are said, in this
phase, they are the things that carry with them the effects of having
been married for about 30 years. In essence: No beating about the
bush. We talk about (our) children, money, business, and dreams in
the honest way we do when we are not disturbed, when no-one else are
around, but, at the same, time we can not see each others.
It is easier to say difficult things in the phone than face to face.
The reason is simple: You don't need to look at the surprised face.
Inside my helmet, at 110 km/h on the via Aurelia, is about the same.
I really, really value these hours with Capa Superiore.
Everything in the world can be separated in three classes: What is
alive, what "we" have made, and the rest. The difference between me
and a butterfly or a flower is smaller than between me and a lake, a
mountain or a star. For the record: I don't consider myself to be a
For me it is obvious that we have made are more beautiful than we
are, and even more so than the things that just "are" such as
mountains. Yes, a sunset is nice, but when you visit the Basilica
di San Pietro in Vaticano in Roma and stare in awe at the cieling,
then you know that a sunset is in a different leauge all together.
Anyway, when I look at something that is so beautiful that it makes my
hart hurt, then I experience an important aspect of being human. I
understand how, technically speaking, you design the roof in such a
way that the light from windows you can not see fall on the paintings
done a fresco 50 meters above me, and I understand, technically
speaking, how colours can be used to give a real and lasting
impression of looking up towards Heaven. But only in theory.
I both understand how it is done and, at the same time, how I am
utterly unable to do so myself. As a human I share the ability to
create such stunning design, but as individual I am separated from it
by an ocean of (missing) talent. The grandness and the hopelessness
of being human, both at the same time.
The same feeling of both being able to create. and not being able,
comes to me when I read a passage that captures essence of life. For
example, Bernhard Ellefsen wrote in Morgenbladet (in Norwegian)
discussing the novel Liknelsesboken by Per Olov Enquist (I have no
clue if it has beentranslated to foreign languages, such as English): He is only fifteen years old when he realises that freedom is
larger than safety, that happiness must struggle with fear, and that
the salvation found in the closeness of making love is far greater
than what can be found on hard wooden benches in church. But the
price to pay is the unbearable pain of separation. Even though I am sure the struggle between freedom and safety can be
described better than this, I can not do it. And I am sure there are
better ways to offer the translation from Norwegian. But the point is
this: When I read this passage I was again overwhelmed by the feeling
of beinh human. I could have written that, but at the same time, I
could not. Beauty is not only to be found in Roma, but also in the
writing of masters. Or, in other words (no pun intended): I must
read, I must read, I must read.
Tryggve, our twelve year old BMW R1150GS, he is healthy. All those
illnesses that children have to deal with are gone. All those recalls
and "fixes". Everything has settled, and as we cruice along on the
highway, listning to the humming of his engine, all is well.
If we were to get a new bike it would have to be 2008-9 model BMW
R1200GS Adventure. Of all the model in play, this seems to be the
most reliable. Here in Italy the price is about 10.000 euro for a
low-mileage bike. We paid 9500 euro for Bamsefar more than a decade
ago, 4500 for Tryggve in 2011. We are talking about 1500 euro/year.
There are many ways to spend 1500 euro that does give less value to
life return. But, then again, it assumes you have 1500 euro/year to
spend. I am not blind for that last point.
With Bamsefar and Tryggve we have covered about 210.000 km in a
decade. Mostly in Toscana, but we have also visited Sicilia, Spain,
Greece, Portugal, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark,
Sweden, Finland, and, naturally, Norway.
A new bike would be swell. But having read
Thinking,Fast and Slow
I know full and well that I would in fact be even happier after
investing heavily in a new bike. The problem is, naturally, that it
is the investment Per Se that makes you happy, not only the new bike. It
was electrical gremlins that finally took out Bamsefar, and Tryggve is
not at all younger even though he has 100.000 km less on the odometer.
On the other hand, it is relaxing to have a bike looking so tired that
no-one will ever try to steal it.
After lunch our journey continues. I am Frist Officer on board. My
responsibilities are navigation and Public Relations. That is, The
Captain decides where we go, and I get us there with the minimum amout
of fuzz. And, since She is occupied with whatever occupies Captains
onboard a motorbike, I have to salute all other bikers we meet. We
don't meet many bikers this sunday.
My life is the most important in, well, life. But happiness is not
just a salary (which I don't have, by he way) and that there are no
waves and disturbances. Happiness is to feel that your life is not
wasted. Life is wasted if the main purpose is to pass the time.
Happiness, I think, arise from experimenting with your life. But then
comes children (and grand children!), wife, morgage, and all those
things that anchers you to your destiny of watching the time pass by.
"How could I have known that all those days that passed by, were Life
Life, family and all that are so precious that we refrain from lofty
experiments. But life is also too important to refrain from living
it. If you don't do something, your life is a leaf beging carried
down the stream of time. A lot of things happens, and interesting
scenery is offered, but you are never the less doing no more than
floating along. Your feeling of living a full life is fed by
interesting images on the outside of the wind shield and thrilling
hours watching National Geographic TV.
If you don't want to leave your wife to try a new life with a new
woman, sell everything to stay some years watching the Ganges in
India, become a munk to experience longing, if nothing of this suites
you, then you must read. An author is one who enables you to
understand how experiments with your life could be, without you
actually having to risk your own.
For example, if you get to choose between two women you can most
likely only have one of them. But then you can not have the other.
It is simple, at least to understand. How to experience the agony
of choise without creating havoc in your own family? Well, reading
about it. To that end, Anna Gavalda wrote Je l'Aimais (translated to
English as Someone I Loved (I think)). If you don't get the
opporunity to choose between the life you know and value, and a new
one, you can read about it and feel the pain. Is it really true that
freedom is more important than safety?
In those hours between the talk about everytday issues, and the
important things that slowly emerge after a while, in those hours I
try to think about my own reading. There is one author that puzzles
me: Shakespeare. Besides having heard the quote To Be, or Not to Be
more times than I care to remember, why have we all heard about him?
What did he write four hundred years ago that was so fantastic? Or is
it with Shakespeare as with Don Quijote; the novel all thosw in the
know says is the best novel ever written, but one that no-one ever
reads? Is Hamlet in the same leauge as Crime and Punishment, Moby
Dick, Dante's Inferno and, good grief, In search of Lost Time? There
is, I guess, only one way to find out.
Our ride today ends at the parking, waiting to board the ferry.
As is customary here in Italy, we are asked to pass all the cars and
park up front. In my world, this small gesture is enough to make my
day. A small thing with no great meaning, but as I ride past the line
of cars, I smile. This has been a good day, and I don't need to be
saved from myself. Never the less, small gestures like this makes me
happy. Collect happiness; life can turn to the worse before you now
We carry far to much luggage inside, and fill our very stern and
no-frills cabin to the rim. The ferry to Sardegna will set you back
about 200 euro if you want a cabin. You can travel with
Moby, Tirrenia or Sardinia Ferries. We chose Tirrenia for no good reason.
After a refreshing shower we're all set to prepare for dinner. Capa
goes to the bar to procure our Martinis. After a loooong time she
return with two beers.
First, Dry Martini was interpreted as Drei Martini (three Martinis, in
German). But who wants three glases of Vermuth? Her efforts to
explain that Dry is not Drei, that we are talking, you know, James
Bond here, all her efforts fail. But they knew of Mr Bond and the
lady behind the bar decides to be Sean Connery. The man says he from
now on will respond only when titulated as 007. Lots of fun, but,
alas, no Dry Martinis. Capa can see both gin and vermuth, but trying
to explain what she wants, what we need in fact, is to no avail. We
will learn why next week.
We drink our beer and listen to the heated discussion whether Moore
was the ultimate Bond, or if Connery was better. This turns to a
discussion about whether it is worth the effort to go to London
(no-one in favour, it seems), Et Cetera, Et Alibi. It is something
very Italian in the way they live their lives behind the bar.
Customers are not serviced, they are instead taking part in the
discssion. If your approach to a bar (or any other commersial
enterprise for that matter) is a place to get what YOU want with
minimal fuss and interaction with other humans, Italy is not the place
This is the first time this year I don't bring Shakespeare along. It
all started with Shakespeare:
A very short introduction. To be honest: I didn't understand
anything. I concluded that Hamlet most likely was like Inferno.
Fortunately I didn't give up, and may I offer some advice: Greer's
"short" introduction assumes you already have a master's degree in
I savour another beer.
My next approach was to order a copy if his collected works. That, too,
failed. Reading Shakespeare in original is not an easy task. There
have been quite some changes in the English language since his time.
Here, for example, is a crusial passage from Hamlet (scene 3.3); we
learn something very important about the Prince of Denmark, and
it is here that Shakespeare offers you, the reader, to make up your
mind of what is good and what is bad.
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do 't. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
'A took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands who knows, save heaven?
But in our circumstance and cource of throught,
'Tis heavy with him: and am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
Up sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk, asleep or in his rage,
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gameing, swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in':
Then trip him that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays:
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days. [IT]Exit[/IT]
My command of English is simply not good enough to fully grasp what
just took place. The small details that are the difference that makes
No go, as they say.
I surf and try to construct an approach. Finally I settle the simple
play The Taming of the Shrew.
I order three different editions:
The Royal Shakespeare Company (called RSC) offers an introduction to the
play that even I understand.
The version from The Arden Shakespeare has the far best presentation of the play itself
(with notes) and an introduction I can sort of grasp after having read
the one in RSC.
Finally, Sparknotes has a "No Fear Shakespeare". Here, the original play is set running on the
left page, and a translation into modern English on the facing page.
I read the play in modern English to understand what
happens, then I read the intro in RSC, then the original play in Arden
with notes, and finally the introduction in Arden.
A lot of effort, but finally I manage. I feel very intellectual when
I sit on the train with my reading glasses, studying Shakepseare while
listning til Bach (BWV 825). My true self?
After two bottles of beer we head of for dinner. As we almost always
do, we want to select the menu del giorno. The waiter is a
lady who we come to believe have not had a good day. The main course
is Tonno Algherone (Alghero is a town on Sardegna). When we
ask what that migth be, she replies that they don't have it. Instead
we will get pesce spada.
We ask for the house white and she says they don't have a house wine.
OK, we select a white from the menu, which she reports they don't
have. We select another white, which arrives in a cooler. When we
try it, it turns out to be red! We get hold of her again, she takes
the wine and cooler away, and return with a white but with no cooler.
The antipasto is not worth discussing and the primo was
average. The tonno that turned into pesce spada turns
out to be salmone.
Then something very Italia happens. An experienced, smiling and very
professional waiter makes his entré. He isn't invisble, as one might
want waiters to be. He comes to our table to talk. When he after
some chatting realizes the very strong hierarchical order we have in
our family, and that I am at the bottom, he demands that Capa take our
photo. He is also at the bottom in his familty, he says, and as
brothers in arms we must unite. Notice the white wine, with no
cooler; the bottle is empty.
We want Italian waiters, no doubt about it!
We have lots of fun, which draws the attention of antoher waiter. He
is at the very top of the hierarchi in his family, he says, so he
wants to sit next to Capa.
All's well that ends well (no pun intended), and after paying a bill
that feels like extortion we retreat again to the Bond-bar where Sean
Connery still reigns.
Before I started on more serious plays, I god hold of a copy of Shakespeare
-- The invention of the Human by Harold Bloom. He carefully
presents all 38 plays and decides 24 of them to masterworks.
Generally speaking, even a lay man as myself can understand what he
wants to convey.
After The Taming of the Shew, The Comdy of Errors, and As You Like It,
I am ready for the heavyweights and I read Henry IV and Hamlet.
Finally I muse my way through The Sonnets.
The result of it all: I know why he has not forgotten, I know why he
was part in a great change of direction for society, and I have at my
disposal a large set of quotes for every aspect of life. I have
gotten to know Rosalyn, Falstaff, Hal, Hotspur, and, the Prince of
Denmark. I have read about revenge, love, desire (both for power and
more bodily ones), and many other aspects of being human.
My judgements isn't as good as it should have been, and I think I
really need and deserve another large grappa. Capa Superiore gets it,
she is recognised as the Bond-women, Sean Connery waves, and life is
But Capa returns with red wine. Connery and 007 convinced her there
is absolutely required that we taste this Sardegian red. Two big
glases, in fact.
I simply can't end the day with red wine, never could. Assisted by
ever reduced will power and lack of common sense I instead draw the
evening to an end with two bottles of good, German beer.
If truth is to be told, I drank too much.
As I endure a comatose sleep we are transported from Civitacecchia on
the main land to Cagliary on Sardegna. We rtode 270 km today, mostly
Great reading Tagesk.
I note that you have the proper er... 'beer' look in this photo.
What a meal these words hath wrung.
No small thoughts are left unsung.
You are looking very well task.
Ah, Hamlet, so many worries, so many uncertainties. He could kill the King-usurper now, and easily too, but the murderer is praying. So if killed now, won't his soul go up to heaven? That's not right, for when Hamlet's father was murdered where went his soul? He had crimes enough to justify being sent to Hell, but Hamlet cannot know where reposes his father's soul because it's fate is known only to heaven. Thus to kill the King-murderer while he's at prayer would satisfy Hamlet's need for revenge but it might not result in the King's soul going to Hell. It's better, Hamlet thinks, to wait until the King is engaged in sin and kill him then, because then he'll be more likely to be sent to Hell. Once again not knowing what happens after death has kept Hamlet from executing a plan.
I have enjoyed Shakespeare accompanied by Isaac Asimov's "Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare."
My friend this posting hit me hard right between the eyes. Yes, how can we live the fullest life without hurting those nearest and dearest to us? How to live instead of float without falling into the trap of total selfishness? For if we only think of ourselves then who will think of us? Reading. Entering, inhabiting, another world another persona? A sort of unknown country, to live a different life through the pen of another? Interesting. Gedankenexperiment.
Today in the British newspaper "The Guardian" there is a story about a nurse whose job is to care for people during the last 12 weeks of their lives. She has noticed over the years that her patients achieve a special clarity regarding their lives and she has compiled a list of the 5 things most often regretted by these people as they float inexorably to their end:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I'd have stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I'd have let myself be happier.
Ride on, and write on.
Thanks, Tagesk, for your stories.
Good to read your words again, I hope all is well with you and family.
This is part 3 of 8. You are adviced to start with the
Words in Italian are set cosi. If you find the images to be too small for you liking, click on them.
It is Monday 20. May and we wake up in Cagliari far south on
Sardinia; there is a map at the end of this post. A night starting
with far, far too much to drink does not become an interesting one.
I do not like these ferries. Most of them have all emergency exits on
one single deck. Here they are on deck seven. What I remember best
from the reports I read from the disaster when Estonia sank, and 900
people drowned, was how hundres of people were desperatly trying to
climb the wide main stairs as the boat was capsizing. How do you
climb a three meter wide flight of stairs with no proper railing to
hold on to?
But we survive also this night.
We are, basically, on a small vacation. Once upon a time, when I had
a job that everyone else alsw was willing to call a job, then I really
needed vacation. Three weeks on a warm beach in Thailand was just
what I wanted. To unwind. Now it is nothing but proper to ask: Can
you call a trip vacation if you don't have job? Can I convince myself
that if I go somewhere, it is vacation? Is it possible to construct
the right to call part of your life vacation just be going to a place
where many go for vacation?
Is it no so that things only exist in contrast to something else? If
so, what is the difference that makes a difference between my
"vacation" and a real one? Did I hear Bateson here? Or,
contreversly, if I am not going on vacation, then what am I doing on
Sardegna? Without a proper job, mostly loitering in Toscana, would
not Riding in Sardegna not be yet another drop in the sea of wasted
life? What would Shakespeare have said?
The issue at hand is real and relevan; I spend most of my time Riding
in Tuscany, reading, listning to Bach and Vivaldi, replace a broken
light bulb from time to time, cutting grass, making limoncello.
And emptying the waste baskets around the house.
Or, if you like to hear me admit it: I think I need a job. A proper
one. If for nothing else: I want to have my vacations back. Noth
beats that feeling of closing the door to your office, and head for
vacation. To bad vacation wasn't invented four hundred years ago, or
I would have had a nice Shakespearean quote to offer at this point.
We ride top the airport in Cagliari to meet the ladies, my Mother and
Edel (you'll get to know Edel in a day or two). I park Tryggve next
to a brother of his, lest he be bored by waiting. The brother's owner
lives in Verona, he explains to us, but he works here on Sardegna.
His GS has done 150.000 km without any major repairs. I advice him to
replace the rubber brake-lines.
We wait for the ladies and I look at the reflection of myself in a
window. I think about the self-portrait in the mirror taken in Roma.
The main problem with self portraits are techincal. You don't get to
see anything (before it is too late). Portraits of others are twice
as difficult as there are two problems and not just one: It is hard to
take a good portrait, and it is beyond me to ask a stranger if I might
take a photo of him/her. I walk the streets, sit in trains, and often
long for taking aportrait when the light is favorable. But, alas, it
does not happen.
The most stunning effort I know of in this respect is
Humans of New York. In his own words:
My name is Brandon and I began Humans of New York in the
summer of 2010. HONY resulted from an idea that I had to construct a
photographic census of New York City. I thought it would be really
cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of the city's inhabitants, so I
set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a
map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind. But somewhere
along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character. I
started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and
began including these snippets alongside the photographs. Taken
together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant
blog, which over the past two years has gained a large daily
following. With nearly one million collective followers on Facebook
and Tumblr, HONY now provides a worldwide audience with glimpses into
the lives of strangers in New York City.
I find it hard to ask even my own guests, let alone a random stranger
on the street. But I am getting better at talking to prople. I do
try introduce myself as often as possible, and I do try very hard to
overcome the obstacles I put in front of myself. Knowing all that,
Humans of New York conveys a very strong message to me: Talk to
The portrait of Anne in my kitchen is the only one I have taken this
year that I like. And, if I may: A friend flattered me beyond what is
reasonable to expect by saying it reminded him of Het Meisje med de Parel.
I gave our "Riding in Tuscany"-business card to the owner of the other
GS. It features a stupid picture of both fo us with helmets on, our
Adventure-email address and a link to our Adventure-page.
It is a 120 km ride from Cagliari to Putzu Idu outside Oristano. We
will stay at Riva del Mare.
The page is in Norwegian, but if the west coast of Sardegna is for
you, and it should be!, then send me a message. Anyway, the Ladies
will stroll on the beach while I keep a low profile by riding.
The Ladies have rented a Fiat Panda. They trail along as Tryggve and
I run down the highway, heading north.
As this is vacation it seens natural that my mind strays into tht
ereal of work, "work", and having (and not having) a job. Technically
speaking I do indeed work, and
SiToscana would not stay afloat
without me. But where is the line dividing "work" from work? In
there dire times, complaining that I get my income from merely
"working" instead of working seems gross. But complaining is the
result of understanding the need for change; let me hope I am able to
actually change things, not just complaining.
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seems to me all the uses of this world.
With Toscana as measuring stick, Sardegna seems to be dry and poor.
If you, as I as a complete novise do, measure economic activity in
factories you see, the number of trucks on the road, and so no, it is
obvious that there is less going on in Sardegna than in Toscana. On
the other hand, the water is crystal clear and Oristano is blissfully
free from large hotels (as far as I can determine).
Needless to say, the 120 km passes without hitch. We arrive at our
hose, and I do what I have to do: pennichella
When I wake up the house is empty and a note tells me the Ladies have
gone "shopping". I look outside and, believe it or not, it is
raining! Raining on Sardegna in May? It doesn't last long, but long
enough for the Ladies to return and fill the house to the rim with
talk. I am unable to escape unnoticed and my plans follow the
remaining puddles down the drain.
Instead I get to enjoy watching a pizzaiolo. Obviously, quite
a few things are more satisfying than watching a pizzaiolo, but
watching a grown man paying attention to making pizza is quite nice.
By the way: I have bought an oven like that one; it will be installed
in my garden during summer. I hope to be able to offer pizza to all
of you in the fall.
The pizza is quite nice. Not outstanding, but above average (and
average, mind you, is Italian average for pizza not some foreign
country average!). Then, a star-shaped dolce, filled with
ricotta, served with honey and oragen; it is hard to imagine a more
high-octane food. I try to avoid the thought of gaining (even) more
weight and look upon it as a energy reserve for tomorrows ride.
Efter yesterdays excesses and subsequent sufferent, one beer is (more)
Sardegna is about 260 km "long" and 100 km "wide". The population is
one and a half million.
I get up after a night that felt better than the previous one, in all
respects. Coffee (not "coffee") with milk and one slice of bread with
marmelade. I am good to go.
Overcast and grey, but no signs of rain. The south-west of Sardegna
I rode here last year as well, but today I plan to take as
many trips down tot he ocean as possible.
Spring is late this year and the colours are intense. As I ride the
first kilometers down to Oristano I tell myself that this is not
Another day at the office, this is vacation.
I remember when had a (real) job as a university professor. I was
interested in computer security in general, and privacy in
particular. That was in, um, let us say 1995 - give or take. At that
time few were concerned about their privacy in respect to online
presence. I worked on the gap between trust and trustworthiness,
which is to say the gap bwteen your intentions and your ability. Nice
of you to say that you will protect my secrets, but can you? How do
you know you can? How can you convince me you can? In these days,
belonging to the Honorable Mr. Snowden, it gives me great pleasure to
quote myself from 1997:
<INDENT>Trust is needed to bridge the gap between the channel
represented by some (secret) encryption key and a human that
supposedly controls it. The point we have made emphasizes that this
gap is an abyss.</INDENT>
This is till an abyss.
We live ever larger parts of our lives "on line", while our need and
desire for privacy does not diminish. In fact, is it no so that any
reasonable feeling of freedom does not come selecting one of eleven
types of mustard on your hamburger but rather from the ability to
define the size of your private sphere? Is a feeling of freedom
possible at all wihout a private sphere? A place where you are not
seen and where you are free to do as you want. And in particular:
Free to decide what to include.
Freedom is not only private communication, but not having to explain
why you want it. This is why you sould encypt all you communication,
not only those mesasges you send to the Honourable Mr. Snowden and
your longtime women "friend".
Obviously, as as the Honourable Mr. Snowden has been so kind to tell
us, many governments and political systems prefer you to tilt your
definition of freedom and thus privacy towards selecting mustard.
In any case, last year I rode a mere 19.000 km. The last six months I
was at work (not "work"). Some are still interested in the things I
know beyond the realm of motorcycle riding, cooking and washing
dishes. Maybe I can save enough to be prepared for the sad day when
I haven't been riding for more than, say, forty minutes. But I have
still gotten lost in thought. But I do not miss the sign along the
road saying there is a nuraghe near by, and a beach. I turn
around, and enter the gravel road. The gravel turns to sand. Tryggve
is far, far too heavy to enjoy sand, but I make it. No nuraghe
but I end up at a nice beach.
In moments like these, sitting next to Tryggve on a deserted beach, I
really, really wish I hadn't quit smoking. I can vividly see myself
enjoying a cigarillo here.
Not smoking pushes away thoughts about work and "work". I stopped
smoking to maintain my health. Dying young knowing I could have
posponed it by quitting eariler would have been unberable. So there
was really no choise. A hard one, but never the less unavoidable.
After my (literally!) near-death experience a few year back I feel
fragile. I know how easily my life can end. Even though I feel large
and rubust when meeting others, I have learned an important lesson.
I am not at all afraid to admit I am getting old. I am not (yet)
troubled by those nagging needs of the body, and all that. I feel I
am getting old because of the things I want to do.
I belive that you are young when doing the correct things are
important. Not offending your girl, not failing the examn, not
forgetting the appointment at the dentist, and so on. I have become
old becuase I have become more concerned about missing out on things:
Not riding enough, not spend time with my best friend (which is
complicated for many reasons), not finding time to try GN-72
(Gibraltar - Nordkapp in 72 hours), and so on.
Is that all it takes to become old? Being concerned about missing
out`? Is that really so?
Contrary to common belief, as they say, risk is what you get when you
multiplicate what is at risk (the damage) with probability (of the bad
thing happening). If you double the value, the risk doubles even
thoug the probability remains the same. Or, in this context: As the
value of the things I own increases, the risk invluved with
experiments regaring my own life increases as well.
Our home carries more value than any house we have ever owned. If you
measure in euros, that is. The reality is that I feel it is
disposeable. If I wew to yet another time meet "The love of my life",
the house would not stop me from thowing everything away to go with
her. The value for me is lower than ever even though the
monetary value is higher. This must surely be a sign of gae - not?
The next thing after old age, is death.
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
Repeat after me (well, Hamlet):
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
As I struggle away from the beach I look at the track I made on my way
down. The rear tyre seems to be worn out. Doesn't take much to
I bought it here on Sardegna last year. It took us all the way to
Nordkapp (at 71 degrees north; eat you hart out Prudhoe Bay) and back,
and has covered about 25.000 km. It demonstrates that if you work to
keep it hard, it last longer. The tire, I mean.
I need to find the shop I used last year.
After not having enjoyed a cigarillo I jolt down to Arborea. A new
town on a plain. Utterly boring, surrounded by endless fields.
I mail a letter to a friend; one that I wrote in Roma while thinking
about this ride. A nice way to connect the two. Then to a bar for
As I dress to ride off, an elderly gentlemen approaches me. He tells
me he is 74 years, ten months and to days old. When I am surprised by
the accuracy he says "If you don't know exactly how old you are, how
can you know how long you have lived?" I have no answer.
We agree that BMW makes great motorcycles, but he shows me a large
scar on his head and arm, and advices me to ride with grat care.
He invites me in for coffee, but I decline; two is too much. He is
disappointed and asks if I might take a dolce. I thank him
again, but decline.
I promise to ride carefully, we agree that it has been a pleasent
meeting, that it is unlikely that we will ever meet again, but as long
as there is life there is hope.
I ride across the plain, climb the mountains and arrive at the
surprisingly large town Arbus. Old mining town, I understand. Here,
in Arbus, is the start of one Italy's of the very best roads for
motorcycles. Ride from Arbus towards Ingelesias and you will never
I turn off towards Piscinas for no good reason. The road winds down,
down, down, the tarmac ends as I pass ruins of mining activity.
Complete towns and infrastructure.
12 km later I arrive on a large beach with huge dunes (the largest in
Europa, I later learn from Wikipedia). Just like Sahara. But very
unlike Sahara, it starts to rain. Cold, cold rain. Rain on Sardegna
in May? What is this? We need to do something about these things
that change the climate; now even my "vacation" is affected.
I am saved by Hotel Le Dune.
An Italian bar is a place they serve coffee. At Le Dune they have An
American Bar. I notice several types of both vermuth and gin. The
lounge is spacious, comfortable chairs, a large fire place, and a
soothing view of the terrace (on which it rains....) and the ocean. I
am convinced that to linger here for an afternoon would not require
The others that have lunch are typical beach-dwellers. Non of them
wear esthaetically offending gear as I do. This time of the year we
are supposed to sit outside, in the ocean breeze, listning to the
waves washing the beach.
As I have my lunch the rain stops.
Three things worth saying about the lunch: It was expensive, it was
well above average and the staff was fantastic. Starting with the
ferry the other day, the distance to this lunch is immense.
Even a small bottle of wine is too much when riding so I retain the
cork. After three different pecorino with a composto di
fichi I retreat to the lounge, sleep for a while in a chair, enjoy
a very good coffee, refrain from smoking, and part with 60 euro. The
rain is a faint memory and life is good.
I can either return the 12 km uphill to the main road, or try to
follow the coast a few kilometers north to the next village, from
where I can return to Arbus.
While I consider my options I run into some sand. Note to self: Sand
dunes move, and Tryggve does not handle well in sand.
Now that I am old, more afraid of not getting things done than not
doing the right things done, I feel an urge to use my life. To
experiment. It is not, as it used to be, that life is infinitely long
and spending a week or two on a beach comes without costs, and that
postponing is uncomplicated.
OK, even I understand that if you upgrade from "work" to work, you
end up feeling the need for vacation. What I need is anti-vacation.
Vacation is time and space where you re-charge your batteries after a
year of struggle. Anti-vacation is time and space where you burn off
accumulated energy. Let me tell you this: When your GS falls and you
tumble down the road, and in an effort to get some adrenaline out you
quickly lift it back up while standing on sand, then you really feel
energy being burned. In fact, a typical part of anti.-vacation for a
mature man such as myself.
I refrain from smoking once more.
I ride north along the coast, and then arrive back at Arbus; how awful
that I have to start a on the best road in Italy. I ride and ride the
twisties; I enjoy it a lot. I will show you some videos later.
After 25 kilometers I arrive back to the ocean. Rain? The sun is
shining from Sardegna-blue sky and in front of yet another fantastic
beach I feel the need to photograph myself.
The man from Roma, who used a mechanical watch to make a statement,
poses next to his BMW R1150GS (in other quarters consideres a large
bike) to convey his physical size and, maybe, robustness. The message
is, I think: I'll deal with it! Now, if that isn't pathetic, then I
don't know what is.
It made worse by the fact that the opinion voiced here is sinsere.
There is a very vocal debate raging inside me on riding solo, or not.
To ride with someoneCapa Superiore in particularis
fantastic without reservation of any kind. To travel with a companion
is to to conduct a journey on many levels. But it is also, always, an
exserise in compromise. Here or there? Left or right? We have well
established routines for making decisions (read: Lines of command),
but to travel alone also have some very important qualities. To know
that compromise is not even part of the solution space is liberating.
Confining, but liberating.
The weather has changed into what it should be at this time of year.
The rain from a few hours ago is a faint memory. I leave Trygge up on
the road as a look-out and walk down to a beach, undress, and swim
naked in the sea. Refreshing, not cold.
In a few weeks these beaches will be full of tourists, and sitting
stark naked and letting the sun dry my skin will not be an option.
This is Italy, after all.
to say that I calmy sit and enjoy the sun will be an outright lie. As
I sit there I wonder: It is so nice to be naked on a beach, why am I
so tense? Why is being naked outdoors so very, very akward? Is it
becuse we are naked when we have sex, and it is impossible to untangle
the two, that I am acutely aware of my nakedness even though there are
noone here to see me?
Shakespeare writes about many aspects of life, but not, alas, about
being naked (as far I have seen).
I get up, stand boldly naked but noone is watching, before I get
dressed, and ride off. Slightly ashamed, but also feeling strangely
I continue south and reach yet another mining town, Buggerru. The
town is in a bay sorrounded by mountains. Silent and nice; in summer
probably bussing with life and tourists. I have coffe while looking
out on the harbour.
After some momntes I spot a couple searching for something along the
road. I have seen many during the day. Now is the opportunity to
stop and ask what they are all harvesting.
It is high season for a particular type of snail; they have a plastic
bag full. You use them as you would cook vongole. With some
tomato and white wine with garlic, on pasta, with parsley. The taste
is vongole but distinctly from terra and not
mare. I decline the offer to take a handfull home.
My time is out, and if I want to be home for dinner (and I do want to
be home for dinner) I need to really focus on riding. No more
My old and venerable Garmin Zumo 500 is getting worse and worse. It
seems that routing gets less and less accurate. In particular, the
"shortest distance" far too often suggest a detour in order to get
onto a highway. Which sort of defeates the whole purpose, no?
But I get home in time. We dine very well in a fish-restaurant in the
I rode 365 km.
You can also study the SPOT track.
Thank you for your attention!
Wonderful as usual! Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.
Nice report... have you ever thought about coming to North America...
(or have you been here already?)
Beautiful, beautiful pictures and wonderful weaving of your story.
Firenze-Siena-Citta della Pieve- Rome.
Stay the fuck out the autostrada.
Ascoltami e fai il bravo bambino.