And yes, we have one of those too … !

 I have introduced Ken, our very own Monk who sold his Ferrari, in a previous article.

Over a campfire beneath a starry sky in the middle of the Klein Karoo, or in the Cedarberg before the morning opens up flowers in full Spring Bloom, his stubble will sparkle and glint in the flicker of flames as he story tells until Dawn’s pale face appears at your outdoor window.

Ken of course sold his Ferrari (almost literally) and disappeared into a Buddhist retreat.

Then one day he came back, and anyone who has done what he has done should be listened to … well, most of the time at least!

He has this Sage kind of aura, because he is lanky and tall, he could grow his hair as long as a Hippie, and a beard as white as any mythical sage – so he certainly looks like a guru.

“With Julian” he said “you have to see him as a wind up toy car, wind him up, jump out the way, run for cover and hope for the best”.

He will either be a Humvee and bring the house crashing down, or a Ferrari, and streak off at the speed of light.

Mostly Humvee …

It was in 2005 in the Terra Madre that Julian and I first considered personalized tourism.

We had gone on a drive and ended up in Forum Iulii, the name before the Longobardi descended upon it, and made it their (I guess, our) capital.

Julian smokes rizzlas and Golden Virginia but he had come across Savinelli tobacco. Now Savinelli pipes are famous and I had tried everything, including a Savinelli pipe, to stop him from smoking cigarettes.

With a pouch of Savinelli, and our Savinelli pipes we went walk about in Forum Iulii.

With all the time in the world and with no specific destination we eventually descended a myriad steps into the river basin below and looked up at the Ponte Del Diavolo (The Devil’s Bridge).

(Hemmingway himself had been close to the town as the Germans broke through it – soon afterwards Aymo was killed in the confusion of the Italian retreat).

Legend has it that the townsfolk needed a bridge but the point at which the shortest span could be achieved was too perilous.

So they made a pact with the Devil and agreed that the First Soul to cross over would be his if he built the bridge.

Delighted, the Devil proceeded to build them a bridge and gleefully awaited the First Soul to cross.

The problem is that these people that live in the area have the resilience to struggle through any challenge.

Attila was a blip on their historical radar, even though he razed Aquilea to the ground down below in the Bassa, the fourth largest Roman city of its time.

The Longobardi may have been victors too, but they were quickly absorbed by the locals.

So these enterprising Forum Iulians (or Friulans as they are now known) were not going to allow a mere devil, even if Lucifer himself, to have the better of them.

They are a honourable folk though, and would honour any agreement they make, even if with the Devil himself.

The First Soul to cross the Devil’s Bridge was indeed the Devil’s – perhaps not quite what he had expected as it was a troublesome dog that had caused enough mischief in the town to deserve the dubious honour.

So there we were in 2005, on boulders in the river bed, looking up at the Ponte Del Diavolo, smoking our Savinelli’s, and dreaming …

You know, we agreed with each other, we have a foot in a beautiful place on the Other Side of the World, and also a foot in a beautiful place on This Side of the World.

Perhaps one day we could show people from the Other Side of the World the magic of this place, and show people from This Side of the World the magic of that place.

For a while we merely puffed on our Savinelli’s savouring the moment …

(To be continued …)

Copyright © 2015 G. Rigotti




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