0643 The End of a Whirlwind Tour (Ita—new)

Tortona Travel Blog

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When I reached Tortona, my first priority was to take my video clip before it got too dark.  Fortunately the Old City is right near the train station, so I shouldn’t be able to find something in time.

Just a block behind the Main Square is a wooded hill--  giving Tortona a cozy, almost village feel.  But the Main Square is used as a parking lot, kind of spoiling the view…

I head on east through the long classy arcades of the Old Town, until I come upon another quieter plaza…


Actually Tortona’s most impressive structure isn’t in the Old Town at all--  It’s a fairly modern looking church but with an enormous golden Mary and baby Jesus statue on top.  It’s the first time in a long time I’ve seen a lot of money put into a recently built church.

  Typically in Italy a lot of money is poured into restoring old churches, not building new ones…

I continue on to the edge of town, pick up a few things at the supermarket to take back to Morocco…and head back towards the train station.

Just to play it safe, I wait until I reach the park in front of the station to play my last set of songs of this journey.

Back on the train… head to Milan… on to Bergamo… I balk at first at the 3.70 charge for a bus to the airport… but I figured I’ve had enough adventures for today, so I catch the late night bus to the airport… try to get some sleep… fly back to Morocco…

In Tanger I meet up again with Wassim, the keyboardist for a popular Moroccan fusion band, Dar Dmana.

  We spend much of the day together as he tells me of the joys and heartbreaks of trying to make it as a musician in Morocco… the joy of being loved by the fans… the heartbreak of not being able to make a single dime of of their album due to widespread piracy… the struggle of trying to hold his day job and go on tour at the same time… the dream of going on tour in Europe so they can start to make some real money…

It’s a very insightful day…

Afterwards I spend a couple hours wandering around Tanger’s poorer south neighborhoods, up and down the hills past scraggly markets and down long, narrow alleys bustling with life…

The French Riviera was fun, but this feels much more like home to me…

And that’s the end of my journey.

  I catch an overnight bus to Casablanca… and that’s it…


But I’m determined not to lose the momentum this journey has given me.  I’m going to keep exploring, hiking and discovering--  just right around Casablanca, if nothing else…

 

The End of Tour 018: Italy-North 2

 

When I finished my Italy-North 1 tour last October, I figured I wouldn’t be back in this area for a long, long time.  I figured I my memory was sort of saturated with North Italian cities which were started to all look alike. 

But now, less than 6 months later, I’ve come back, and definitely have not had any problem telling my cities apart.

  This time, every single one of the 32 new towns explored is vivid and distinct in my mind… from hiking the snowy peaks above Gandino… to the ancient port town of Camogli… to the super cool castle of Savona… to the tortured alleys that tunnel throw the medieval old town of Ventimiglia… the grandeur of Genova… the working class suburb of Pioltello… the nestled in the Alps town of Valle d’Ogno--  these 8 days and 131 hours of travel have been packed with experiences. 

Maybe the fact that this is such a short trip has driven me to really not squander a single moment or a single memory, or maybe I’m getting better at this.  Whatever it was, it was an awesome tour.

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Tortona
photo by: nathanphil