A walk on the Hills of Arzignano

A walk on the Hills of Arzignano

A spring Walk in Arzignano

The Camminata per la Vita (Walk for life) in Restena, Arzignano, is?one of those walks that are organized around Italy all year round, but mainly in Spring, when it is not too cold nor too hot, and nature is blooming, the perfect conditions for this type of activities.

camminata per la vita restena
camminata per la vita restena

In 2020 and 2021 the walk was suspended due to CoronaVirus. In 2022 it’s finally back. It’s a walk among cherry blossoms, old unbalanced houses, amazing wild flowers and ancient villas up for sale.

camminata per la vita restena

Usually at these walks there are paths of different lengths; here in Restena you can choose to walk 4, 6, 12 or 17 kilometers. Along the way there are some “ristori“, refreshment areas, where you can eat and drink something.

camminata per la vita
un ristoro

I really enjoy these walks because they take you to discover your own region; for example, I had never been before on these hills at just 10 km from home. And the view from there was breathtaking. Plus, you get to walk with dogs that are so happy that they run like crazy and children that proudly walk their first 6 km on a row. The event was a true mood-enhancing. At the end of the 18 km I could actually barely walk, but I was very happy.

This event is particularly important because it is also organized to raise funds for the research on Cystic Fibrosis or Rare Illnesses (depending on the year, it changes).

camminata per la vita arzignano
At the end of the day this dog must have run 4 times the distance

These walks are a mix of nature, food and socializing; they are a great way to meet new and old friends, spend some time in the nature and discover the territory.

camminata per la vita
Landscape and a farmer working: there’s no Sundays for them.

One of the next walks of this type in the same area is in San Zeno.

Breakfast at the Laughing Buddha

Breakfast at the Laughing Buddha

October 6, 2010

There’s this restaurant in Pokhara, favorite stop for the backpackers that cross this town, it’s the Laughing Buddha. Pokhara Lakeside is very touristic and westerner, as I’ve said before, a street full of restaurants that offer food from all over the world, from Lasagne (even if sometimes it is misspelled “lasange” or in thousands of other ways) to steak with chips. And everything at Western prices. So not very convenientfor those who are traveling for months around Asia (and I’m not talking about me, I’m one of those who are traveling less among the people I’ve met).

(A tiny ant keeps walking around the border of the glass with my masala tea – that I’m starting to love – and I can’t get it, she’s too small and quick).

Among this long line of Western restaurants there are some exceptions. One of these is the Laughing Buddha. It’s a small restaurant with 5 tables, family-run. The young girl, 15 years old, that speaks a great English, in the evening works unti 11pm, does her homework in quiet times, at 6 am gets up to serve breakfast and at 9.30 combs her hair in braids, puts on the red ribbon and goes to school (girls have to wear a red ribbon in their hair when they go to school, it’s part of the uniform apparently; and no bracelets). When she finishes school at 4pm she’s back to help her parents.

Well, this place is amazing not only because the owners are very kind, but also food is delicious and very cheap. I love to have breakfast here. This morning I had a “heavy breakfast”, with porridge (that before I moved to London I didn’t know what it was, now I love it), two slices of toasted bread, butter and jam, two eggs (boiled, fried or in omelet, as you prefer), baked potatoes with sweet peppers and onion, tea or coffee. All this at only 95 euro cents. 70 cents for the “simple” breakfast, without porridge. Every morning I’m happy to get out of bed because I know I’m having breakfast there.

Sometimes we go there for dinner too, and last night the mom was a bit sad because they haven’t had many customers in the last days. I’m sorry for them, because at that price and that quality, they should always be full. – A little girl just started typing on my laptop. With her yellow pyjama, red flip flops 3cm long and two silver rings around the ankles (she must be around 2 years old). So yes. I feel like I should eat there breakfast, lunch and dinner. And food is so good that I could actually eat every two hours. But I know that my mom wouldn’t agree, so I try not to do it.

There are other restaurants equally pretty, but I grew fond of this family, so when I can I come here (when the Dutch guy introduced us to this place I wondered why he was eating at the same place all the time, with all the options available. Now I know).

Unfortunately tonight all 5 tables were full, so with a Finnish girl met at the Annapurna Base Camp (Hilde was in bed with a stomach ache) we went to another place. By the lake. I was there yesterday with Hilde. Very nice place. With plastic tables facing the lake. It made me wish I had a house by the water. Not on the Adriatic Riviera, it’s too flat. Somewhere with rocks and big waves. I wonder if there’s a place like this in Italy or if I should move to Cornwall?

Anyway. My point is that I don’t understand how it is possible that the Western restaurants that are very expesive (well, they cost like in Europe) are always so busy, while local restaurants with very low prices struggle to work. Maybe the Laughing Buddha lady was exagerating, but it’s true that this is high season here, and they don’t have so many clients, only between 7 and 8 pm they are completely full. But with people paying 1-1.30 euro for dinner… I don’t know. Probably they would close if things weren’t going well. But which other working opportunities do they have here? I don’t know. I do my best to help them, I try to eat and spend as much as I can (just to help the local economy, like Pietro taught me).

Tomorrow at 1.30 pm there’s our bus (14 hours) to Bardia, a National Park. Will we be able to see a tiger? Exciting. And tomorrow Lee arrives in Pokhara. It’s a shame I won’t be able to see him.

I wonder if the small ant is gone away or if she has drowned in the tea that I’ve drunk…

Next post: Thoughts about traveling.

Deep thoughts about traveling

Deep thoughts about traveling

Why traveling is good for your health

08Oct 2010, 10.20am

Yesterday we took the bus that from Pokhara goes to Ambassa, near Bardia National Park. Even though we had booked our seats, I decided to travel on top of the bus, because it was too hot inside and I was getting nervous with all the people pushing us. It was my first time alone. Amazing. One of those times when you are truly happy and at peace. I was happy, I felt FREE as never before. Serene and carefree. I thought I could have died in that moment, it didn’t matter because I was happy. It was the same thought I had in Tibet or during my first dive, in Thailand.

I was listening to my music and singing loud to the wind, the only one who could hear me. “Ninna Nanna” by Modena City Ramblers, the travelers soundtrack (in Italian). “Amico” (friend) by Renato Zero, and I thought of my best friend, Paola. And Yankelee nel Ghetto, Negramaro, Morricone. I thought at the people at home. My parents, waiting for my return; my brother, who was worried for me (???), my cousins, my friends.

Probably most people think that I’m wasting money and time, that I should settle, find a job and everything else (the “getting ma…ed” that I can’t even say out loud). But traveling gives me a satisfaction that I don’t find anywhere else. And this is what I want to do now. And I think that people should do what they feel like, if it doesn’t hurt others. So here I am.

It’s interesting how fate arranges different lives for each one of us. I am here, on the road, I rarely sleep on the same bed for 2 nights, I haven’t eaten pasta and drank an espresso in 2 months, I will celebrate my birthday alone, but I’m terribly happy. I meet a lot of interesting people, other travelers with thousand of stories to tell, locals with their beautiful smiles. And I see new places. Rice fields, loads of temples, tigers, Koreans singing in Italian in the moonlight…

One hour later some kids got on the top with me, interrupting my thoughts. When there are some police check-points locals have to get down, they can’t stay up here, only tourists can. This is weird. If it’s considered dangerous, why are tourists allowed?

I thought I would sit inside for the night, but it was so cool and there were so many people (at about 10pm we were about 20 people up there) that I decided to stay till the end. It was nice (even though my butt is still hurting), if we exclude the strong wind when the driver decided to push on the gas when going down. A guy let us use his army blanket (I was now with Tanja, a Finnish girl we met on the Annapurna that came to Bardia with Hilde and me).

At one point we stopped to let a truck coming from the other side pass, and our wheel started to make a very strong whistle. It took us about one hour to change it. So at the end, instead of 4am we arrived at 7. Not too bad.

It was all good, until I found out I lost my purse during the night. I can even remember when it was. We stopped somewhere and we all went down to have a cup of tea; climbing back onto the top it must have fallen off my pocket. There wasn’t much inside, something like 5 euro in coins, my students card of the University of Bologna (that I should have returned 6 years ago), a card with 3 euro credit to take the public bus in Dubai, a deposit card of an English account with about 300 pounds, two fake corals that I bought in Lhasa. I don’t know if anyone was able to use the debit card (maybe online). I wasn’t able to block it because I don’t know which number I should call and I don’t have an internet connection here.

After 24 stressfull hours I decided that in the worst case scenario I would have helped someone that needed those 300 pounds more than I do. I can’t help it, I’m too generous! (this is a joke, for those who don’t know me) Anyway, it’s a bit weird because I have so many lucky charms from China, Tibet and Nepal! I don’t know how that could happen. Nevermind. Maybe it’s because I had bought a new wallet a few days earlier in Pokhara, and I couldn’t make up my mind and change it… Fate decided for me, one more time.

Next stop: Bardia National Park.

Tibetan refugees in Nepal

Tibetan refugees in Nepal

October 5th, 2010

I’ve just bought a nice bracelet and a necklace from a Tibetan refugee in Pokhara, Nepal. There are camps/villages for Tibetan refugees near Pokhara, that I’m going to visit tomorrow. After the repression from China during the 1959 rebellion, many Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, their religious leader, had to leave their country. They are now dispersed around the world, but many leave in Nepal, others in Dharamsala, in the North of India (where Dalai Lama also lives).

I didn’t need more bracelets and they weren’t cheap, compared to the Nepalese prices, but it’s a nice way to help them. At Accessorize a similar bracelet would be expensive anyway, and these I know they are handmade with patience and care; and I know I helped someone get some food (it’s a nice feeling).

If only I had more money, I would have bought presents for everyone (= I accept donations).

Maybe once I’ll be rich I’ll come back and buy them all.

Next Stop: the Laughing Buddha.

Greetings and kisses from Pokhara Old Town

Greetings and kisses from Pokhara Old Town

I wrote this in October 2010 while I was traveling around Nepal and India. I’ve translated and added pictures.

October 4th, 2010

Earlier today I went for a walk in the old town of Pokhara. I left at about midday from the lakeside, the area of Pokhara where most tourists guesthouses and restaurants are.

My day had started with the wrong foot. With a loosen backpack, a broken boot, a lost hairbrush, nostalgia. I left under the burning sun (or so it seemed to me), the old town much further than it seemed from the map.

At one point my luck changed. I found a small restaurant where I ate some baked potatoes, spicy, for 20 cents. No coffee unfortunately, I needed it. After a little while I found a place where a guy fixed my mother’s boot for 25 cents, working with so much care and attention that left me breathless (I would have simply put some glue without caring much). Now it’s almost like new!

A bit further I found a “German bakery” (I don’t know why, but here german bakeries are quite popular) where I could enjoy my coffee (always nescafé, I’m missing my moka. Maybe I should have it sent it to me?) with a nice slice of chocolate semifreddo! Oh wow, this definitely sparkled my mood.

After a bit, walking along the road I stopped to look at some guys playing “snake and ladder”. They invited me to play with them. I won (and in Italy we say that those who are lucky at playing, are unlucky in love).

In a music shop I bought a transverse flute (that I can’t play) at 60 cents. I must learn. It mustn’t end up like the harmonica. There were also some beautiful drums like those the porters were playing during our last night on the Annapurna. It’s a shame I don’t have much space in my bag.

I walk a little further and people start calling me from all corners: “hello”, “hello tourist”, “namaste”! At one point children and adults ask me to take pictures of them. I wasn’t sure, usually people don’t like to have their photos taken by strangers or, if they accept, they want money. The people here didn’t want anything, just the pleasure of seeing themselves on my Nikon display. Well, of course I was more than happy to satisfy them. It’s a shame I didn’t have a portable printer with me.

I walked past some girls who were having a snack (it was 5 pm) and they offered me a slice of orange dipped in a spicy sauce, followed by a sip of sweet cream. Of course I accepted. Twice. It was delicious! Probably I will get sick in a couple of days, but it was worth it.

I stopped to write in my notebook and an elder lady stops curious to see what I’m doing. Such a cool lady! I asked if I could take a picture of her, she accepted and even took off the basket from her head to look prettier. After a while another lady asked me to take a picture of her house (that was decent, better compared to other houses, probably she was proud of it?).

So, I was walking around this not so pretty part of the town of Pokhara (where my guesthouse is, the lakeside, it’s very touristic, clean and organized, very western style, you can even eat grilled steak with chips!), that at first sight is a bit scary, but it’s actually so incredibly welcoming!

On my way back more requests of pictures and a table tennis challenge (with no table, directly on the road). I lost 11-5 this time.

A day started in the worst way turned out as one of the best. And I even found the hairbrush! I only have to fix the rucksack now.

P.S. I’m in a café in Pokhara, eating/drinking something weird. Sour cream with pepper, cinnamon and sugar. I have almost finished it and I still can’t decide if I like it or not.

Next stop: Tibetans in exile