Riding in Tuscany

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tagesk, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. g®eg

    g®eg Canadian living in exile

    Jul 13, 2004
    welcome back! :clap
    the camera is a good choice.. it seems able to convey your view of the world very well
  2. musicman

    musicman Been here awhile

    Aug 30, 2004
    Atlanta GA
    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...
  3. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Jul 29, 2012
    Tage has returned! The long wait is over! No one tells it like you do my friend. Hooray!:clap:clap

    "neque illic mortuus" indeed.......
  4. DetoX68

    DetoX68 Been here awhile

    Apr 16, 2011
    Tage, great to see you're back in business. I can't wait to reed you're report. :thumb
  5. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Jun 23, 2007
    Tuscany, Italy
    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.

  6. Italiaphile

    Italiaphile Been here awhile

    Jul 18, 2007
    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? ;-)
  7. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Jul 29, 2012
    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!
  8. azorat

    azorat grand Vizir

    Feb 17, 2007
    Trento - Italy
    Hello there!
    So good to be back at your fantastic reports!
  9. TonyZA

    TonyZA Adventurer

    Aug 20, 2007
    Jo.burg, South Africa
    Looking forward to the new narrative .......

    Originally Posted by tagesk [​IMG]
    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.


    Fuji X100S
  10. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Jun 23, 2007
    Tuscany, Italy
    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
    down south.

    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
    call +390566918032.


    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
    for you.

    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
    To heaven,
    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
    the difference.
    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.

    Oh well.


    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
    on highway.

  11. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer Supporter

    Dec 2, 2008
    Behind the Redwood Curtain
    Great reading Tagesk.
    I note that you have the proper er... 'beer' look in this photo.

  12. Mike Ryder

    Mike Ryder Kriegerkuh Supporter

    Oct 11, 2003
    Peachland B.C. Canada
    What a meal these words hath wrung.
    No small thoughts are left unsung.

    You are looking very well task.

    Thank you
  13. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Jul 29, 2012
    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.
  14. IDScarecrow

    IDScarecrow Long timer

    Mar 9, 2006
    PNW Inland Empire

    Thanks, Tagesk, for your stories.
  15. slowpoke69

    slowpoke69 Been here awhile

    Feb 2, 2010
    So. Jersey
    Good to read your words again, I hope all is well with you and family.
  16. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Jun 23, 2007
    Tuscany, Italy
    This is part 3 of 8. You are adviced to start with the
    first part.
    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)
    than enough.

    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
    is called
    Costa Verde.
    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
    Tryggve dies.


    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
    confirm it.
    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
    forget it.

    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
    much effort.


    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
    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 someone—Capa Superiore in particular—is
    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
    adventures today.

    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!

  17. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

    Nov 25, 2003
    Wonderful as usual! Thank you for sharing with the rest of us. :D
  18. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer Supporter

    Dec 2, 2008
    Behind the Redwood Curtain
    Nice report... have you ever thought about coming to North America...
    (or have you been here already?)
  19. JG77

    JG77 I ride my own.

    Feb 19, 2011
    Texas Hill Country
    Beautiful, beautiful pictures and wonderful weaving of your story.
  20. Rudy The Cat

    Rudy The Cat I am innocent ...

    Jun 21, 2013
    Firenze-Siena-Citta della Pieve- Rome.
    Stay the fuck out the autostrada.
    Ascoltami e fai il bravo bambino.