domenica, agosto 30, 2015

The words I've never said (or... missing opportunities)

I am having that feeling that: "oh, shit. I've completely lost the time to say/do it". And that even worst feeling that I've lost you. Like this, without having said or done something that was there in the air to be caught, I've lost you.

It's a fine Sunday morning, weather was supposed to be shitty, but it's not. Probably where you are the weather is better, and warmer, and you are holding somebody else's hand. And it bothers me a bit.

I've always that feeling that something else could have been done, and I haven't done. That something else could have been said, and I haven't said it. And I hate that feeling, and I always fall back on these habits and I regret to have acted like I did.

Yes... I am a good guy, and a stupid moron at the same time.

Will get better...

venerdì, agosto 21, 2015

I still got it (partially... maybe... I am not sure)

As usual if I don't write it means that everything is fine, or everything is so bad that it's too difficult to write, or that I've got no time or will to write.

As usual, if I don't write, it's because I am an asshole.

Anyhow, tonight I've had a wonderful night with some friends, having dinner on a canal, laughing at ourselves and about ourselves... living a wonderful life.

And I am now home, early for a Friday night, but not feeling the need to being out hunting for life. Life is already here.

I've been thinking about my age, about finally abandoning this lifestyle of a young and strong young man and finally entering the mature age I am actually in. Since I moved to Amsterdam I started again to play a lot of football, mainly 5 and 7 a side. It took some toll to get used to it, I got injured, I got frustrated at not been able to run as I used to, be strong as I used to. Mainly I felt so many time that I have no more the same fitness that I really started thinking: "Time for switching to golf, my dear". Legs hurting, but mainly not been able to withstand a full 50 minutes match on the pitch without going out to take a breathing (50 minutes!?!? I used to play 90 minutes... I am really old). "Who am I?", I started wandering so many times. But then, springtime came, I started playing twice a week and maybe adding a weekend of tennis... and the legs started being their usual pair, lungs started responding and 2 weeks ago we had the finals of the 2 tournaments. And I was good... I really enjoyed playing, I felt being able to control the pitch, the tempo of the game. People around me were maybe (for sure) younger and fitter, but not smart enough, not good enough, not experienced enough... and I actually played well and had good impact on the games I played. We still eventually lost. But hey, I felt: I can still play.

And it's nice, being able to compete with 20somethings when you are 40. The last match I played was the deal-breaker. We were at the 4th match of the night, having won all the others, against a younger team, more rested (they were 11, we were... 7) and, as I discovered later, an actual 11 a side team. And there were a youngster that really was a pain in our defence. A real pain in the ass: quick, strong and technically skilled. The worst possible against me. But I kept his pace, I sent him on the outside and actually controlled him with not too much effort (apparent... I was actually dying every time he was attacking me...).

They finally won, 1 to null, when I finally gambled too much and was too up the field when he got the ball. Actually, they scored when I wasn't there to defend. But, hey, I did the job for so long.

Is this important? Maybe not, life now is other things, but it's still nice knowing that I can still be a force on the field, even now, even after all that has passed, and I don't mean only years.

Good for me. Golf can still wait some years.

mercoledì, giugno 17, 2015

Jurassic World: good entertainment, bad movie

I never watched the Jurassic movies. Maybe some scene here and there. But not one complete movie. Or at least I don't remember it.

But after the best pizza in Amsterdam (Fuoco Vivo) we decided that it a good idea as was the second part of the night: Jurassic World!!

First a minute to curse the 3D. Hate it. I watched the movie, didn't think it was so spectacular, watch the trailer the next day and discovered that on my laptop's screen I was seeing colors that I just imagined during the vision at the cinema! Bad, bad 3D!

Than the movie. SPOILERS START! ---------------------------------\

1. high heels in the jungle is not a good idea
2. a company with as chain of command 2 persons... maybe not a great company
3. road bike in the middle of the forest and you never slide or fall?
4. the most dangerous dinosaurs ever, you finally have got it in front of you and you don't shoot immediately?
5. when finally you shoot with whatever you have, including machine guns and a bazooka, you don't even hurt it at least a bit?
6. a park in a hilly island, covered in tropical forest, full of animals to control, and there is only one helicopter and one pilot?
7. at one point is full day, change of scene and it's night
8. what happened to all of the attacking and marauding flying dinosaurs? Did they decided that it was enough?

SPOILERS END! -----------------------------------------------------------------/
I could go on and on. Too many errors, plot holes, stupid things, to say that this is a good or a not bad movie. This is a bad movie.

But it's wonderful entertainment. I enjoyed the scenes, the sceneries, the dinosaurs, some of the combats. But, come on, it's a movie for 13 years old and not too clever. That's why it's earning so much: it's perfect in a world were we learned to be a-critical.

I am critical... a lot.

venerdì, maggio 22, 2015

Ireland: days 16 - 18

And by now... I started feeling the wear and tear of being on my own. Saturday I woke up, simply packed everything and left to get to Cork. The day was fine, sunny, and the morning got on quite quickly. I stopped to refuel, take a coffee. I arrived at the B&B in Cork at noon, perfectly on time: demonstration of my inner GPS. I left the luggage at the house, meeting my guest, and left for the airport were I returned the car. I then went to the city by bus, walked my usual 2/3 hours around, doing nothing particular, and headed home. I was feeling tired and worn, wishing only to got back home.

Sunday there were the idea to go and watch a hurling match, but there were none nearby. So I stayed in bed, watching Daredevil (nice series, by the way!), then went out, took a beer, ate something, took a coffee in a nice coffeeshop/library (not the Amsterdam/type coffeshop!) and went back home.

Monday it was time to go, but my flight was in the late afternoon/early evening so my guests (bless be you!) left me stay up until 3 pm in their home, so I went for a last walk in Cork, that is by the way a really nice city, I took another coffee (same place as the day before) and then packed, waited a bit and it was time to go home! Not much exciting the last three days... but I was done.

sabato, maggio 16, 2015

Ireland: days 13 - 15

And the day to leave Galway come, and it was a sad day! I spent the most of Tuesday thinking if it was worth leaving Galway... I would have loved to listen again to some more sessions! But the time came: Wednesday! The day was one of the finest, sunny and warm. And of course I have to drive! I decided to go swiftly to the south and then walk around somewhere. But go swiftly to the south means to use highways, which I despise. So I drove quickly as I could, but along the coastline. I encountered some nice town on the road, but the finest has been Milltown Malbay. Lovely, on a natural gulf, with surfers surfing the waves. I stopped for some photos in the sun, that promptly got covered. I head on. Arrived at Killmore, to take the ferry, and took it. Landed in Talbert, visited a nicely preserved five storey castle nearby, Carrigafoyle, in which it is still possible to understand the position of the rooms on every floor. Drove on, Tralee was on the way, I stopped looking for a map of the south, and found a burrito, and a nice smile. But we got no time for that, it was time to look for a spot in which pass the night, since it was camp night!
I visited some promising beaches, arrived in Dingle and went on. I was at the end of the west civilization, and coast and isles messed themselves with the seas. I found a cosy beach, looking west. That was the spot! But that was too the night for Real Madrid - Juventus, and Dingle had the perfect pub for that! FINALS!! I headed to the beach, it was still clear, but heavy clouds were on the east and the radio said: tonight heavy rains and storms in the west. Lucky me, I decided to sleep in the car and it was a clever idea.

Thursday come, after a windy night in which the car was rolled by the gusts of Eolo, but also a comfy one, in my sleeping bag. I woke up at eight, took a long look at the beach and a long pee session too. Headed back to Dingle, had breakfast and a compliment by a fine lady (around 65 springs fine...) and asked to the local information centre: what shall I do for 5 hours? You look fit, climb Mount Brandon, she said.
And I did! It was sunny, it was warm, it soon became foggy and chill. But I enjoyed the walk, as not the view. And found quartz crystals all around. When I came down the day was finally clouded. I headed east along the coast, looking for a nice spot on which sleep a bit. I fancied a nice sandy beach, and some sun. Found neither of them. I finally rested in some sandy dunes. Had my daily apple and then headed to Killarney. Visited the Torc Waterfalls and strolled along a circular walk of around 1 hour. Entered the outskirts of Killarney National Park: the County in real life! Then headed for the B&B, found it, took a shower and had dinner in Laurens Pub, one of the finest, tourist wise, of the city.

Friday, the end of the Ireland 2015 May Tour is getting nearer and nearer. I start to feel the limbs tired, and waking up is a bit more difficult every day. And, clearly, it's cloudy and rainy. I had no idea for the day, so I checked my newly bought map and looked for spots to... spot. And I saw a Stone Circle just south of Kenmare: I'll go there! I pass a nice and high pass, in rain and clouds, after driving through part of the beautiful landscapes of Killarney National Park, reached Kenmare and the Stone Circle of Bonane. Quick tour of the site and head back up to the north, in which I decided to pass the Moll Gap pass and head through a small route, in the midst of the Black Valley, to reach north of Killarney and get back to the city. Wise idea, I must admit, as I got through thunderous valleys, lakes, mountains and forests. Loved it! I stopped at a bar to eat a salmon sandwich and write a bit, than headed back to Killarney and the Torc Waterfall parking spot.
I left the car there and walk around the Muckross Lake, about 15 km in the woods, gardens and flowers of the park. I did it as it was a run, because it was already late, around 5 pm, when I started. Back at Killarney I headed for a different pub, in which a man was playing traditional songs, a bunch of men were playing darts and I met the USA girl again.

venerdì, maggio 15, 2015

Ireland: days 10 - 12

Sunday started with heavy rain and a fun breakfast with a nice serving lady-man, sir-girl. Heavy, blonde, extremely kind and thus scary. But again: kind, really kind.
After breakfast it was time to decide where to go, what to do, who to be. And it was a though decision: rain all around! So, lets go to Connemara National Park and see what's there. There are wild goats, this is what's there, and heavy rain. So I visited the Visitor's Center, enjoyed a nice exposition on Ireland's history, and a nice coffee (with scone...). Then headed east, and then south into a fine pass valley, with strong rain all around. And floodings of the roads, too. Arrived in the happy Oughterard town, and had lunch. And relaxed, have a beer, wait for the rain to pass. It didn't. I visited the nearby castle, really nice, and then headed to the Galway City, famous in the world. Visited the center, had a Guinness in a pub and to the B&B we go. Nice and clean, and wonderful landlady. At night little walk in the centre and then... then the revelation: Crane Pub! And music, music, music.

Monday was still cloudy, but at least it wasn't rainy. So I decided to take a step ahead and go to the Cliffs of Moher.
Arrived there and payed the 6 euros entrance: you have to pay if you want to see something nature has done!! Wonderful. Took a little stroll to the south along the cliffs, wonderful skylines, beautiful, beautiful gerl and a lot of wind. And then a drive around the Burren, looking for archeological sites and nice landscapes. Found both, a stone fort, a wedge tomb, some disrupted churches. And some rain, to be happier.
Back at Galway I had fish and chips at Hooked, a nice and little restaurant, and then headed to Crane again. It's amazing how musicians get there, sit down and start to play. They rarely sings, usually with no instruments accompanying them, and they seldom smile while playing. This is the only drawback I see in the sessions. But they are absolutely lovely. During the morning, talking with Caroline, the landlady, I decided to remain a night more, so also Tuesday night I'll be staying in Galway.

And Tuesday comes. I decided to visit a bit more deeply Galway. But the truth is that in this voyage I am not interested too much in cities. So I strolled around, looking for some hidden spot. The day was cloudy and rainy, nothing interesting around. I went back to the B&B and slept until 2 PM. Then headed West along the coast. The more I went, the more barren the landscape became. A bit of depression fell over me, of having squandered a day. I kept heading west and at the end I arrived to a rocky bay, almost at the end of the of the world. I parked the car and decided to walk along the rocky coast, the Aran Island visible at the horizon, fogged by the strong wind. In the pools left by the retreating tide I found anemons, prawns and sealife: finally a sense to the day! Took some photos and, when I decided to head back to the car, I found a nicely horse hanging around. We became quickly friends, thanks to my lunch: an apple that I barely eaten, since I decided it was more worth to him. And it was time to go back, have my evening session at Crane and go to sleep. This, of course, not before having seen the Bayern - Barcelona match, in which Bayern decided to kill themselves forgetting how to defend.

domenica, maggio 10, 2015

Ireland: days 7 - 9

So comes Thursday. Early hours, it's just before 3 am, I am at Mullaghmore and I cannot sleep anymore. What to do? Took the car, headed for the north side of the peninsula, peed and started my way to Belmullet, that from now on we will call Béal an Mhuilhead, in it's Gaelic form. Before passing Sligo I went to Rosses Point, to check one of the places were I thinking of actually spend the night before. I tried to sleep a bit more in front of the sea, but indeed I was out of sleep. So I went on, passed Sligo and went on the Wild Atlantic road, that easy roads are no fun to me. I passed Easky when the sun was almost getting up, then a bunch of other villages lost on the Atlantic Coast. My idea was to have breakfast at Ballina (Béal an Áthal), the capital of wild salmon. I arrived there... and it was 6 am! I thought it was 7 at least... nothing to do, everything's closed. Let's go on to Crossmolina, che the Lough Conn and go on to Ballycroy National Park for a early start on my daily walk. At Lough Conn I actually stopped, took some photos and slept... it was too a nice place.

Anyway... Ballycroy was a delusion, no path to follow there, so it was time to go to Achill Island, so near, so easy. And so a good idea! I saw a Sea Otter, I slept on the Golden Beach, I visited a megalithic tomb, climbed the highest peak of the isle, saw another beautiful beach.
And it was time to head to Béal an Mhuilhead to check the B&B. On the evening I went to a local pub and eaten salmon... mmm... salmon!!

Friday I was supposed to camp somewhere in the area around. But quickly decided that it was better to simply ask for a second night there. Good idea, again. I headed to the north of the Mullet peninsula, walked along a loop path to visit some cliffs, than headed to other, higher, cliffs and walk there... and fell into a bog. Or better, step into a bog with my right leg up until just below the knee. And rain, rain everywhere.
I then went back to the car, headed to a nearby prehistoric site, arrived late, decided to went back to the B&B. Dinner and bed.
Saturday was the day to move south into Connemara. The morning started with sun, I headed south, passed the turn to go back to Achill Island... I was tempted, but I hoped Connemara was awaiting me with all it's beauty. Visited the Castle of Gráinne O'Malley, the pirate-queen!!
By accident... I saw the sign, turned the car and had the nice surprise. Continued south, arrived next to the Connemara National Park, continued, visited some beaches, arrived at Clifden, looked for a cap and a small backpack (I lost my hat... I lost my hat... I lost my hat... shit), bought them and then... rain, wind... a found a B&B for 20€ and fuck it the camping. And what a good idea again... I headed west to check the place were I wanted to camp and it was simply frightening cold, windy and rainy.
Get back to Clifden and dinner and bed.

venerdì, maggio 08, 2015

Ireland: days 4 - 6

Monday I woke up from  my first camping night into a delightful day of bright
sun and clear sky. The same valley in which I slept got a completely different look. A wonderful one. I packed everything, the rain of the night before almost completely dried up on the tent and poncho, and headed for the B&B.

At the house I had a nice and sturdy Irish breakfast, and luckily my room was to be ready at 11 am. Since It was not so far away, I simply awaited on the bench outside the house in the nice sun. Once I got my room (number 5) I took a shower. The most amazing, wonderful shower I have ever had. Probably beaten only by a shower I took in Stockholm... but that was with a lot of funny optionals like waterfall effect, side jets and things like that.

After the shower I decided to do a 5 hours walk: up the hill, up to another hill, and back again. The hills happened to be around 600 metres high, so not too much. But I have to say that the excursion took its toll. At the end I was really tired. The weather got worse and worse, the temperature fell (not that it had ever been really high...) and the climbing was in some point quite steady. I saw 2 deer, a huge waterfall on another valley, and a flattop mountain... Amon Sûl?

Walking uphill and downhill was constantly hindered by bogs, little pool, marshes, adding to the toll. And the wind, did I mentioned the wind? But finally I got to the top (700 metres) and begun the descent... and the last 4 km of tarmac from village to village. At home I took a shower and awaited for dinner, served at the B&B by my favourite landlady: goat cheese cooked in the oven, chicken and potatoes and a delightful cake.

Tuesday I woke up in heavy rain. Had breakfast and decided to go to Bray, a coastal town, and walk a coastal path to Greystones. Nice and easy. I drove there, found a park next to the train station, since the plan was to come back from the 10 km or so walk by train,  and headed south. Bray is a small tourist town, with a long beach and a side walk.
The path to Greystones follows the train trails over scenic cliffs and gulfs. It is not a difficult walk, the path is used as a evening walk by locals, but there are for sure nice views and a lot of sea birds. Arrived at Greystones my idea was to taste some local beer and then take the train back. But a strong rain shower come down... and wet and sad (not so sad...) I decided to head back altogether. The train ride was quick. I went directly back to the B&B, with a quick stop in Roundwood, the town nearby, to select the pub for the night.
Gotten home I took the second shower of the day (and God! I would have taken a thousand!) and finally booked the lodgings for the next 10 days or so... what a relief. Around 7 pm I headed to Roundwood: Juventus - Real Madrid was awaiting. I had dinner in a nice pub, a tasty roast beaf, and Juventus won, so a special day it has been.

Wednesday was no difference from tuesday: heavy rain in the morning.I packed everything and headed north: Sligo is the aim of the day. I crossed the Wicklow mountains without going back to Dublin, so the trip was a bit slower, but more interesting. I navigated from town to town, sometimes coming back, sometimes guessing right. Finally I managed to gain some terrain and arrived near Sligo when I saw a historic sign post indicating a prehistoric tomb: Carrowkeel! I hesitated just a second and then visited the site. Amazing, simply amazing. I could enter one of the tombs and stand in the chamber (I know... I am not that tall...), a chamber built 5000 years ago. Also 2 of the other 3 tombs had a passage were one could enter... but it was too tight for my mind to fell comfortable. I just took pictures from the outside.
I then continued towards Sligo, and since it was early when I arrived, I decided to go on to Mullaghmore and see the beach there, and then further north to Rossnowlagh... and then go to Donegal, and then continue and visit St. Johns Point... I finally went back to Donegal, had dinner watching Barça - Bayern and then... and then had to decide were to sleep. It was too cold to camp, just above 0 degrees... I headed back to Mullaghmore and slept in the car in front of the beach.

lunedì, maggio 04, 2015

Ireland: day 1 - 3

So, after a lot of planning... ehm... not that lot. After some days of planning, here I land in Dublin a Friday night, at 9 PM, heading to a B&B in Malahide.

This is how I started this 18 days holidays: getting left by a taxi driver on the wrong Malahide Road... some 10 km away from my B&B. This is how carefully I planned my holiday. Luckily, after some walking, a second taxi collected me and so I managed to arrive were I would have spent the night. Rockstar!

I've been thinking of visiting Ireland since I was 18 and I first heard the songs from Clannad (I know, too commercial kind of music... no?!?). I've been wanting to visit this country so bad that I never talk about it with anybody and never planned it. But here I am (still I haven't planned it, but this is a different story).

So, Friday night at Malahide, Pebble Bed&Breakfast. I spent the night watching TV (it's a novelty for me! I have no TV in Amsterdam!): The Hurt Locker. Liked.

Saturday morning I was planning to visit Malahide Castle and then take a train to Dublin, but the weather helped me in opening the skies and letting fall the national amount of rain due in a year. So, the B&B owner drove me to the Train Station and I took a train to Dublin, Tara Street (that happens to be few hundreds of meters away of my hotel: Arlington Hotel. The hotel is conveniently located near to the Temple Bar area, so I know that I will at least see it from across the river.

Gotten there, below rain, and missed it twice. I was, obviously, complaining that the hotel was not correctly advertised on the street, but the hard truth is that there is the entrance, a statue on the outside and a huge window saying: "Arlington Hotel". I was simply forgetting to look around while I was walking. It's 11 AM, so my room is not ready (should I complain?), so I left my luggage and headed to see the wonderful surroundings. The surroundings are soaking wet. I decided that the Archeological Museum of Ireland would have been a nice stop. I stopped there 3 hours.

Time for a coffee and a muffin and my room is ready (in the meanwhile I also checked where the car rental is for the next day). I unpacked, checked the bed and fell asleep. I woke up at 7, in time to stroll around Temple Bar and then chose a pub 2 kilometres from there to have my dinner: Lombard Pub. A stew cooked with Guinness. Good Idea.

I went back "home", watched some snooker and got to sleep.

Sunday started renting the car, and then getting out of Dublin (driving on the right, no, the left, no rig... LEFT!). No real plan. Simply go south, reach Wicklow and have breakfast/lunch there, and then head towards Glendalough and my other B&B: Lough Dan House. That, obviously, I didn't knew precisely were it was.

Getting out of Dublin was easy, driving to Wicklow too, finding a place to eat... well... took some time. But at the end, after having visited the local Castle (on a cliff on the sea...) I ate scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.

And it was time to finally head to Glendalough. It took some time that too. I had no detailed map, only a generic map of Ireland, and so I went to Arklow and then it was time to improvise.
I eventually got to Glendalough, discovered that it wasn't the right place (thanks to HERE maps on my mobile... that you can download!! I downloaded Scotland... ehm, Ireland when I was back home) and got to Roundwood, than to Oldbridge and the to Lough Dan House.
I was supposed to be camping next to the house, but I took the afternoon to walk around, through the thickness of a wood in which I got lost, down to the lake, and find a different spot. 

The surroundings are amazing, there are fields, woods, and then the lake. It wasn't a clear day, but the sun would appear sometimes and the place it's beautiful.

So... time to pack everything, finally putting the tent, sleeping bag, mattress and everything needed for a night's camping in the backpack and head to the lake. By the time I got there the sky was covered in clouds, so I simply decided to quickly build camp and then eventually explore the valley.

I chose the spot wisely, but it wasn't a difficult choice. There were the ruins of a village and one of the buildings happened to have a wonderful grass mantle inside, a door, walls 1 metres high and be high enough that even a small flood would have not bothered me. I found a thorny branch from a fir to "close" the door, and avoid any sheep to check-in and visit me coming night time.

I added a little "porch" with my poncho (I had to procure a long stick to keep it high enough to provide some room for me sitting outside) and the camp was settled.
I then explored the valley, navigating the bogs, ponds and creeks around, reaching John's Oaks, a spot so renown to earn a signpost on the local map. It's worth it. The river hurling down rocks, oaks around in a little clear of the firs, the light slowly getting darker.
It was time to go home, read something while eating "dinner" (apples, carrots and orange...) and the rain started to fall. At some point I retired inside the tent, crawled inside my sleeping bag and read some more. And the slept, fearing the cold, that eventually got me around 4 in the morning, but I simply covered myself with my jersey and it was enough. Other notable thing: at 1 I woke up... to pee... and there were light all around: strong light! The full moon, a clear sky, the whole valley lit up. Amazing.

martedì, marzo 24, 2015

Eire 2015: - 37 days

So, a month more or less is what is missing for the start of my trip to Ireland. Landing at Dublin, leaving from Cork 18 day later.

Some nights in Hotel/Hostel/Private apartment, some nights trekking and sleeping in a tent. And today... I bought the tent! And some other things like pots and sleeping bag and stuff (shirts, trousers, an inflatable mattress...).

 But something is missing... (please check below a close up).

You see that blank space? Do you see it?!? It's the sleeping bag. It's missing: I bought it, it's missing. The sucker decided to fall down from my bike while I was singing out loud a punk song, so I didn't noticed it. The bastard.

Sometime I miss it so much it hurts... (mainly because I'll have to buy it again...)

On a lighter note: I was thinking that maybe, but just maybe, I will rent a motorbike instead of a car... I know I will not do it... but just thinking about it make my smile grow bigger and bigger...