I am drawn back to the same theme.
Hospitality and friendly people are everywhere.
Each new country comes with new people on my path. Some even throw themselves rather violently and literally on my path, this happened again today, when an woman came from behind and tried to overtake me to take a photo. With my heavy train it takes some time to get everything moving. So first she thought she could overtake me, but as my speed gradually grew, she yelled at me not to miss her photo-opportunity.
Multiple times local cyclists helped me further when they saw me boggle with my navigation. More often they joined me even when I knew where to go! They not only showed me the way, but guided me, not just to the next road, but 5, 10 and even 20km long.
When I write ‘today’ it is a very vague term. On the one hand because my travels are calculated in months. On the other hand I write these post in several days. I start it some day, reread and redirect some days later.So the ‘today’ in the first lines is actually the day before yesterday, or last week, or a month ago. Wow, crazy shit!The day after ‘today’ I cycled up along the Brenta river on a beautiful cycling path, going uphill slowly during 65 kilometre.
It was a celebrational trip for two reasons, I would cross the 11.000km and more important – much, much more important- at the end of this day I would be reunited with my parents after 5 months of travelling.
While I was cycling, the theme of this post was circling in my head, when I suddenly got my first guide. A local Italian decided to join me for the first 20km of this ride. I wanted to charge my battery, to be certain to arrive at lake Caldonazzo. As I saw some clouds lurking around the mountains, I decided to stop early before these clouds would interfere with my charging power. This utility break separated our roads.
It was not much further two other Italians, Olivo & Fabio, joined me and equalised their speed to mine. The bicycle path was a beautiful one, where the only traffic existed of other cyclists. After about 10 kilometre, they decided it was time for a photo and a coffee, so we stopped at their favourite bar, where I was offered a refreshing radler. After this stop our little peloton kept together until their home town Borgo, where I got a little city tour. In the end I had only about 15km to go on my own.
In every country -16 so far- there was at least one guide. In Italy not only the three above, but also a 10 year old boy cycled in front of me. In Slovenia a older couple showed me the best way around road works. In Czech Republic, three locals offered me a lunch, that happened also 8 countries earlier when a cyclist invited me in Sweden to join for the lunch as well. The language didn’t even matter. If there was no overlapping language, Enthusiasm and gestures were enough.
Talking of languages, of courses it’s a barrier, I manage 5, so I feel quite covered in Europe. Surely there are lot of encounters with no common language, but more then expected, that doesn’t stop people from communicating. I’ve had interesting talks in Finnish and Estonian and Latvian or Polish. These are languages strange to my ears and eyes, but if you give it a try, and keep your ears open it is not impossible!
On the other hand, often I arrive in the less touristy regions, here people seem to be eager to exercice their English, which results in thoughtful conversations often accompanied by a great hospitality.