Friday, April 29, 2022

Biking in Puglia: Day 5

A rare early morning awakening and four of us out on a trail by 8:00 am. Down the ravine, across the swinging bridge and up the slope on the dusty, rocky path. Chilled air, a San Francisco spring breeze and no other hikers on the path. Up to the plateau, peaking into caves with frescoes from ancient monks carving makeshift churches in the caves. Looking across the ravine back at the city. Looking down the ravine past the city at far distant fields. On the return trip, a brief walk along the stream and the sound (and then sight) of frogs.

Back to meet the others and a simple lunch on our hotel terrace, the wind still unrelenting and not much sun in sight. While some were off to nap, I returned to the Piazza where yesterday’s singer was playing and brought my recorder in hopes of a little jam session. Alas, he had left! So instead wandered around the remarkable mix of rock and building we had been looking at from all different angles. Now up close through its nooks and crannies, taking dozens of photos, playing recorder in a little carved out area and thinking about the marvel of this architecture, how it follows the natural curves and rises and fall of the original structure created by that master architect, Nature and then the human counterparts decided to work with it, around it, inside of it instead of bringing out the bulldozers and flattening it all for a Costco. 

I imagine a future blogpost relating the above to education. The children come to us in their extraordinary selves, full of their unique twists and turns and rises and falls and recesses and outcroppings and what do we do? Try to flatten them out with a one-size-fits-all education, make them conform to our adult fantasy of a blueprint someone else handed to us that we received without question. Why can’t we build on what they bring to us? To be continued.


Back to the hotel and out to the Castle on the edge of town. It was closed, but a good excuse for more walking, followed by a trip to an outdoor market and a delightful purchase from a man selling almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, figs and salted roasted fava beans. By now, we had walked some 8 miles, keeping up our biking daily exercise quota, so why not finally take a shower, finish the last of the laundry, listen to the end of my Audible book and catch up on journal writing. 

Tomorrow we’re on the move again, three more days and then the next phase of a four-week trip. Happy to see tidbits of news from e-mails and such that I don’t care to follow, to ignore a few business requests, to work really hard to remember what day it is and simply to be more wholly present in this adventure than the world, with all its grabbing and yelling and pulling and shouting for attention, usually allows. Or rather, new voices have spoken up that don’t demand anything from me but genuine attention and extra-credit praise for what they’re offering. The feasts of the eyes and the tongue, the music of the language and evening swallows, the feel of the bikes on bumpy roads and the wind on smooth ones. Dinner awaits at “Soul Kitchen,” and probably post-dinner packing to prepare for the next leg.


Viva Italia!

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