From rural Fribourgeois Switzerland, which is so neat and ordered final Western products are bought – a lighter sleeping bag for Regula, some things for fair northern skin, and some hasty reorganisation in the UK. Regula’s new Canon G12 decides to fail at the very last minute before it is needed. It produces only banded white images. I will have the only camera, at least for a while, and it’s a heavy 4 kilos to add to the load. It’s a heavy penalty to pay for pictures. I will make some sound recordings, but we have abandoned the idea of filming for the eventual video production.
We pack and repack twice – to produce “still too-heavy” packs. We have not met out 10k goal, or anything near.
At home, attempts to get the Power company Scottish and Southern, to property restore their damage to ancient monument 299 finally fail. A Mr Broadbent, who is apparently the Head of Engineering, desperately wants to get out of the situation without any effort and expense to them – but with plenty to me! He is in Scotland and cares not about the companies corporate criminal actions in far away England. In fact he doesn’t give a haggis. The English Electricity regulators are weak and collusive, and do nothing. It is time to draw a conclusion to my own efforts, and hand it over to the pros. Dreadful British Telecom on the other hand don’t even pretend to be moral – they simply say “come and get us if you can”. Ian Livingston, Head of BT is also Scottish, and has even less concern about this Monument, and the Telecoms Regulators are bad! They are good friends with the industry we pay for them to regulate. Corruption comes in many forms. Bad governance in every form. I have not left some perfect land behind me, not by any means – but left it I have!
Socialising! The Swiss gather to say bye to Regula and I. It is a very nice event with her extended family.
Then we are off! – with Burri Senior seeing us off from Dudingen and then Buddhist Nun Ani Drime seeing us off at Bern. We take a super fast train to Milan, then another great service to Florence. Britain doesn’t travel like that. We meet Phong Lan, a Vietnamese engineering student. The potential and future of SE Asia is clear.
Slower to Arezzo and then to Bibienna by taxi. Bibienna is the home of Giovanni Caselli, artist, renassiance man and archaeologist. His work has led to the recreation of the Via Francigena. His new work on the Via Francigena de Stade will surely replace the Via Francigena for Scandinavia and German pilgrims and walkers to Rome.
Bibienna is not an easy place to get to on a Saturday, but after a couple of changes and a taxi we are in the Piazza Grande, where Giovanni and Hugh Cushing (Cush!) are waiting with coffee outside Giovanni’s 15th Century home. Beer, and then inside for Pizza and already the archaeology talk starts!
The next day, it continues at length… The route becomes clearer here, to Jerusalem and even further East. The Eastern Origins of so much Western – and vice versa. We walk in the heat for a few miles on the ancient ridgeway – named the Customs Way!
Hugh tells us about his life of art, architecture, in the UK and all over the world. He is living a very interesting life, in interesting times indeed.
Tomorrow, to Rome via Assisi or Perugia, and the start.
Richtung Rom und zur Via Appia
In der Woche vor unserer Abreise war noch sehr viel los. Ausziehen aus der Wohnung in Bern, letzte Arbeitstage in der Frauenklinik, Packen, Freunde und Familie verabschieden…
Am 2. Juli sind wir dann von meinen Eltern in Umbertsschweni Richtung Sueden aufgebrochen. Zuerst machten wir einen Halt in Bern, um die letzten wichtigen E-Mails zu taetigen und um mit einer Freundin von mir Z’Mittag zu essen. Am Bahnhof entgegneten wir Ani Drime, einer buddhistischen Nonne – eine schoene Begegnung vor unserer Pilgerreise nach Jerusalem.
Im Zug nach Mailand spuerte ich nun die Muedigkeit. Teilweise beteiligte ich mich im Gespraech mit einem jungen Vietnamesen, der ueber seine Heimat erzaehlte, teilweise schlief ich. Ich dachte nach, was auf seinem Armband stand: Time is what you make of it. In der Tat.
Die restliche Zugfahrt bis Bibbiena ging schnell vorbei. Doch fiel es mir noch sehr schwer zu glauben, welch eine Reise wir im Begriff sind anzutreten. Noch sind wir nicht am Ausgangspunkt angelangt. Erst morgen fahren wir von unserem Freund Giovanni in Bibbienna weiter nach Rom via Peruggia oder Assisi. So ganz wissen wir es noch nicht.