0600 Hiking the Snowy Alps (Ita 079—new)

Leffe Travel Blog

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I want to cram in just one more town before heading back for breakfast at Massimo’s.  Leffe is right down the hill from Paia, where worshippers of all ages are now heading to church carrying laurel branches… Of course… this is Palm Sunday--  and I guess due to the shortage of palm leaves, they use laurel leaves instead.


There’s a little fountain, and a couple of folks are out and socializing, giving the town a bit more of a feel of being alive… and a nice little park with a pond and ridge where I can take my video clip from…


The Hike through the Snow


After breakfast Massimo took me on a drive up the mountains to where I could see Alpine snow up close and personal.

  It was an unforgettable moment.  Although I’ve seen snow many times in my lifetime, there’s something about snow in the Alps that’s mystical and magical--  maybe it reminds me of stories I read in my childhood.


Anyways, I took my guitar along and took some good photos and clips--  both in the snow and with snowy peaks in the background.  Actually there were a quite a few people hiking the trails--  all of them except us wearing proper snow boots and gear…  I noticed that everybody greeted us as we passed, so I asked Massimo about it.


“Here it’s not really the custom to greet people when you’re walking through the village--  but it is the custom to greet people when hiking in the mountains”.  Interesting… maybe it’s the camaraderie of knowing you’re engaged in the same activity…


The Stadium of Milan


After our mini-mountain trek, we headed off to Milan to watch an AC Milan game--  of which Massimo is a devoted fan.

  Although a bit of a diversion from my Parkbenching project, I’m pretty excited about it.  I haven’t been to a big stadium since I watched the Chivas play in Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico back in 1987!  23 years ago!  I enjoy the energy and excitement of a stadium experience even more than actually watching the game itself.


Bubaker, a Senegalese immigrant and friend of Massimo joins us.  He’s a giant of a guy with a gentle heart--  a typical African immigrant’s story… has worked here nearly 20 years, but has his wife and family in Senegal… lives a frugal lifestyle so he can send money to his family and build a big house back home.  But he’s unique in that he’s also an avid AC Milan fan and goes to every game. 


He’s the only African that I see in the stands--  but it’s cool to see him interact as “one of the club” with the other folks around, all of whom own seasons tickets and are like an AC Milan close knit family.

  Perhaps Italians are still a ways from accepting African immigrants as “one of them”, but I seems that when he becomes an AC Milan fan, it’s a big step in that direction.


People are a bit more civilized and restrained in the big stadium--  not as much of the screaming and “creative insulting” that I heard last October in the more neighbourly Bergamo stadium… but the smoke and the flags and the grandiosity of the event is much more awe inspiring.


“Here in Italy, football is our religion, and this is our church” I am told.


A notice goes up stating that unless the fans behave, the game will be cancelled.  That seems a bit odd… I don’t see anybody seriously misbehaving.  Afterwards Massimo explained that the Lazio fans were shouting some Fascist chant… Fortunately the threats to cancel the game were not carried out and the game ended peacefully.


And that ended an eventful first day in Italy.

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photo by: nathanphil