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Old 06-22-2009, 03:25 PM   #421
tagesk OP
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Eek Holy Cow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooltours
I bet he's somehow going not only to find that village, but much more I'm pretty sure Tage will
take a picture from the farm where they did hide the man and, if he had a good day, I'm positive he also made up
one or two of the guy's (or there cousins) who was helping back than.... Huh!
That's the stuff Hollywood movie's are made of! Put me down for the filmrights!





Here is the guys who could tell us that my estimate of where the plane had crashed was wrong.
He vividly remembered the aircraft, as it was left there for some time after the war.



Let me introduce you to the lady who not only gave us photos to send to the US, but directed us to the farm.



And let us not forget the three men who works for Carlo, the son of the man who helped our brave pilot.
As Capa Superiore took this picture I was showing them the 1943 escape-map to convince them to let me roam around.
I succeeded.

I'm working on the Ride Report, I promise.
But there is, as you can understand, a complicated story to tell.

[TaSK]
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Old 06-22-2009, 03:47 PM   #422
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Thumb The cellar



And I will get to the cellar where he was hidden. Shown here.

But Mr. Cooltours, are you allowed to surf on the Internet?
Aren't you supposed to spend your time looking at a little girl?

[TaSK]
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:38 PM   #423
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagesk
...Aren't you supposed to spend your time looking at a little girl? [TaSK]
Humm, it took me one full day to read this last part now...., but that's annother story;-)
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:55 PM   #424
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cooltours
I bet he's somehow going not only to find that village, but much more I'm pretty sure Tage will take a picture from the farm where they did hide the man and, if he had a good day, I'm positive he also made up one or two of the guy's (or there cousins) who was helping back than.... Huh! That's the stuff Hollywood movie's are made of! Put me down for the filmrights!
aw.... you have been sneaking a peek at the script!

tagesk, great story... yet again!
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:33 PM   #425
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Hey Task

LOVING this new tangent!!!

Yeehaa!



Shane
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:05 PM   #426
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Thumb Soon, soon, soon

Yesterday I didn't get to write anything because we were invited for dinner.
They served risotto with the fungi porcini they had picked the day before.
Then cinghiale.
With this a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino Riserva from 1983 (!). Not much get's done then.
Today I have been riding with Capa. We will arrange Toscana for Friends in October (or May), and we're researching places to ride, and eat.
We're not doing it for our own pleasure, but for our friends!

Anyway, I am in fact done with the Norwegian version, here (which has to come first for technical reasons).
I show you this for the simpel reason to prove that I am not ONLY singing "wine me, dine me, sixty-nine me".
I'll translate it, and fill in with more text to explain things, in the morning.

I am very grateful that you care!

[TaSK]
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:08 PM   #427
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:39 AM   #428
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Thumb Puglia - Day 2 (part 1)

The map is here. It holds more information than you find here. You can trace our trip by referring to the map.

The text belonging to a picture is always below the picture. Thus you should be able to understand which picture I am discussing
(or, if you believe the text is more important than the pictures: Which paragraph a picture is illustrating).



Let me introduce you to Doug. Here he is, in his P-38E. The other two persons involved in this is his son, the Honorable GN,
and Doug's wife. The raison d'entree for this whole thing is that his wife is writing a book and wanted pictures to go with the
story of his crash and escape.



After an interesting and fulfilling night we are ready to depart from Poggio Imperiale where we have spent the night.
We did 666 km yesterday so we're a little stiff, but not more so than usual.
We find a small bar, and althugh the dolce isn't up to Tuscan standards, the coffee isn't bad. We're feeling even better.
I fetch Bamsefar from the garage, and we fill up with all the luggage we have.
It seems that we pull along more and more for every trip we go. After all, here we are on a two-night trip and both
side cases, and the Givi is filed to the brim. That is about 150 liters of luggage for you.

As you can see, I have a slightly yellow first-aid bag strapped to the bike. Admittedly it destroys all pictures of the bike, and
She makes me put in the Givi.

We're a little slower this morning than usual. We've had a hard week, and a very good and long ride yesterday. So we need the
extra time to get ready. Mentally speaking.


Finally, a quarter to ten, we're ready to roll. It is already 25蚓 (77F) in the shadow.and we're glad we have summer gear.
It is also worth noting that He claims to have done 695 km yesterday, while the GSP claims 666.
That is how it is to get old - you think you have done a lot, but the young ones tell you you haven't.



Here is a detail from Doug's 1943 escape map. North of Foggia you see a black dot, and a line drawn East-South-East.
That is his indication of the crash site. And that's where we're going.



Here is my estimate, in Google maps, of the crash site. The estimate, with comments, can be found here.
By looking carefully on the map he drew on, the railroads (the red Autostrada wasn't there), and smaller roads,
taking into consideration that Foggia has grown a lot the last 60 years, and so on, you can verify my estimate yourself.
Notice he has marked as the crash site a spot outside Masseria San Nicola d'Arpi. That place is ancient
(in the European meaning of the word ) and is a good point of reference.

It is a 20 km ride from Poggio Imperiale to the estimated crash site.



We pass through Apricena. The town sports a rather cheesy monument.



According to my main reference, the Cocchiaio d'Argento , the Pugliese menus are basically made up of grain, potatoes,
and grapes. We see endless fields of grain, potatoes, and grapes. What other reference do you need, than the famous
book of recipes?





Finally, after having followed small roads in less than optimal condition for a long time, we arrive at the estimated crash site.
Today it is a large field, with a single olive tree. The tree is probably more than 60 years old.
It isn't much to see - a large plain with a small gravel road, a nice bike, and us.

Then something unexpected happens.



A car drives by (in a cloud of dust). Slows down, stops, and back up. Two men exit the vehicle.
They don't look happy, and it doesn't help that Capa Superiore photographs them.

The conversation goes like this (translated for your convenience):

- What are you doing here?
- Photographing.
- What? Looking around, not seeing anything.
- Well, in September 1943..GN..wife...book.. [I leave this part out]....



They look a little less hostile. And then.......



- But the plane didn't crash here. You are at the wrong place. I remember it well, it was left there for some time after the
war. You return under the Autostrada, to the field with carciofi on your right hand side. It was there the plane crashed.


We can't believe out luck! It is very hot, but we chat with them for a while, thank them, and ride over the the actual crash site.



Here you are - the actual crash site
Properly marked on the Google map (which still is here).



Bamsefar, me, and a farmhouse much more than 60 years old. That house was probably the first thing Doug saw after exiting the aircraft.



Also here there is a single olive tree. He probably hid under it, looking worried towards the buildings.



When he started moving away from the aircraft he saw Masseria San Nicola d'Arpi.



Assuming you have just survived a crash. But you know full and well that if you're caught, your dead. Here on the plain,
there is nowhere to hide. In the distance you see some hills and some forest (which will offer both hiding and shadow!).



On the plain he probably stayed in hiding during the day, and walked during the night. Maybe he stayed here one of those days?
Resting in the heat, waiting for darkness to come.



Here is the full map of the first part of the escape. Crash side on upper-right, and a small village named Celle di San Vito in lower left.
What we know is that in, or near, Celle di San Vito he met some Italian farmers. They hid him, gave him clothing turning him into an
Italian peasant. In this disguise he managed to get across the front lines, and be saved.

We know that the farm is called Chiesetta di San Vito. It is supposed to be somewhere outside the village proper.
We ride there.



Obviously dual-lungual here for some reason.



We turn and look back to where we came from. We have gone up the valley from the plain below.



We're in Italy so we park the bike at some convinient spot.

We need to find Chiesetta di San Vito. We start looking for help.



It doesn't take long before we have befriended an old lady. Signora Tecla explains that Celle di San Vito, and the neighboring village Fateo,
is a tiny island of French-speaking people here in Puglia. The reason is that two companies of French soldiers were given land on
these two hills three centuries ago. Or, in other words: They preferred to stay here rather than returning to France.
Probably a good decision
She says that they speak a very old-fashion French, and French is an official language in this tiny Comune.
Anyway, her Italian is excellent, and she speaks slowly for us to understand.

We explain why we are here (you know the drill by now - "In settembre nuvecento quarantatre, un piloto americano.....").
She listens with attentions. And she says:

- The church Chiesetta di San Vito das crumbled to ruins. But the Taverna is still there.

She explains that along the Roman Road from Roma to Brindisi, just on a hill behind us, there is a fabulous spring. About a thousand years ago
they built a church next to the spring. This small church was called Chiesetta di San Vito. Next to it, there is a taverna.
A taverna is a place where you stayed the night while your horses rested.

The Taverna, she says, has been int he hands of the Noble Maresca family for a few hundred years. They came originally from Napoli but
were given land here by the king. The main building was the living quarters of the Maresca family.

We go with her to her home. She gives us three gifts, to be sent to the Honorable GN in USA.
The first is a large photo of Taverna di San Vito. That is the one I am holding in the picture above.
Then we get a large photo of the statue of San Vito that they have in the church here in San Vito.
Finally, we get a postcard showing the two French villages Faeto and Celle di San Vito. I promise to send it all to GN so that he can
give them to his mother.
She gives us her address, and I promise the Honorable GN will write her a letter (in English) thanking her for her services and gifts.
She says she has a friend that will translate for her. I dont' speak any languages (besides Italian and French) she apologies.

Signora Tecla explains how to find the Taverna, and wishes us a good journey.
Capa Superiore asks if she can take a pcture of her, but Signora Tecal declines firmly.
But Capa is good at these things.



Let me introduce you to the welcoming and friendly Signora Tecla of Celle di San Vito.

The ultra-slim man in the background in a sub-100 kg Tuscan Rider. First time below 100 kg since 1996!



We follow the directions, and ride for a while. The landscape is now dominated by windmills.
I like windmills. Windmills are like cities: Evidence of human activity on its best!

But we find it odd that Doug fled over these barren hills. We'll look into that.



Then, suddenly, we arrive at Taverna di San Vito. We recognize the main building. We park Bamsefar outside, and stand a
while i awe. We have arrived!

Thank you for taking part this far. Next part is here (just below).

[TaSK]
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Old 06-25-2009, 03:38 PM   #429
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Thumb Puglia - Day 2 (part 2)



How came Doug made it here over those barren hills?
Well, he probably didn't. A carefully study of the maps shows that he probably followed the valley, while we drove over the hill. On the map shown here, again from Google Maps, the blue line is where we rode while the red is a (much!) more likely escape path. Notice how he probably passed between the two villages Faeto and Celle di San Vito.



The cote of arms of the Maresca family still hangs on the walls of the Taverna.



This are the ruins of Chiesetta di San Vito. This little church is known in a Papal letter from 10. November 1100.



Here we see the Chiasetta together with the Taverna.

Now, the church is at least a thousand years old. But that isn't old, around here (we're in Italy, remember ). You see, a road passes by. An old road. And that road has a name: via Traiana. The road was built by Emperor Trajan to shorten the route between Roma and Brindisi. This was important because Brindisi was the harbor from which you took the boat to (what is now) Greece. From there you took the via Ignazia to Constantinopel.


That fountain just there, is in fact mentioned in a Roman text that dates from 213 AD.
I find that cool (in more than one sense of the word).



I notice an open door. Three men are heving their lunch inside. I boldly introduce myself. They are not amused. I tell my story. They are not amused. I tell them about Signora Tecla from Celle di San Vito that directed us here. They are not amused.

Then I decise I need to wield my secret weapon. You see, the owners, the Maresca's, that saved Doug's life, they had two sons: Luigi and Carlo. Luigi lives in the US, while Carlo manages the farm (of which the Taverna is part). GN has introduced me to Luigi, and I have recived an email from Luigi telling me what I just told you. But, more importantly, it says: I have informed Carlo about your visit.
So I say without hesitation: I have been invited here by Carlo Maresca. I dont; say it in English, but rather in Italian. But you understood that, didn't you?



One of the men comes out. He doesn't appreciate Capa with her Olympus. I show him the 1943 map. He is not impressed. He asks if I really have been invited by Carlo Maresca. I say that indeed I have. If he could please look at the map with me to make sure we're at the right place, I would be very happy.



The two other men omes out in the light as well. And Capa promptly makes sure we'll remember them. I tell the story again, and show them on the map where we are, and I make sure they understand we are talking about a mother (a sacret term here in Italy). That helps a little.



Then I offers to show them the email from Luigi and Carlo Maresca. If they, for the sake of my fellow ADVriders, would be so kind as to step out on via Traiana and stand next to the bike.
The email is, to my great sorrow, in English. But they see that both Luigi and Carlo is explicitly mentioned. That helps.



And it enables me to take the photo of the cellar in the Taverna.
Where Doug stayed.

Next installment (PArt 3) is here.

[TaSK]


PS: I hope the gentlemen Luigi and Carlo forgive me that I slightly overstreched the authority given to me.
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Old 06-26-2009, 02:31 AM   #430
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Thumb Bulgarians



How cool it is to hear a R1150GS outside and to see a pair of strangers in the driveway.
It turned out to be Vicky and Ivan from Bulgaria.
They are on vacation in Italy, and wanted to drop by a fellow ADVrider to say hello.
Next time I hope you will stay for dinner!

ADVrider is a fantastic place!

[TaSK]
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Old 06-28-2009, 02:00 AM   #431
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Eek Struck by lighting



Meet MB. I'm his guide, and we ride in Tuscany together this week. This day he didn't bring his rain gear. He must be forgiven: Rain in Toscana in June?
Anyway, to say that he is soaked is not an exaggeration.

However, most of his frustration is because the shot is taken a few minutes after we were stuck by lightning.

We were riding on the Fi-Pi-Li (a highway) and we were on a bridge when four events took place simultaneously
  1. A flash
  2. An unbelievable loud thunder
  3. Someone struck my helmet with a big hammer
  4. I got my fingers in a live wall socket
Each of these would have gotten my full attention. The combination was, well, strong.

I don't know about you in 110V-land, but here in 220V-land, touching a live wire is not something you forget.
It was like that.

The speed was moderate due to the rain, no curves, no other cars, so no accident.

The current probably passed on the (wet) outside of the helmet, followed the wet gear, then through my (wet) hands and gloves into the bike.
From there into the ground.

Good for me that I had a Metzler Tourance between the bike and the ground. The current was still more than I appreciated.
My hands were numb for several hours afterward.

No, we didn't ride in a thunder storm. This was the first one!

[TaSK]
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Old 06-28-2009, 03:09 AM   #432
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Thumb Puglia - Day 2 (part 3)

The map is still here.



The three men depart. They promise to give my regards to Carlo. And I promise to send their regards to Luigi.
We sit for a while. The only sound is the wind and the splashing of the water from the spring.
I don't know what Capa thinks about (me, I hope) but I think about the thousands (millions) of prople that was passed this
place the last two thousand years.

Yous see, if you were to travel from Roma to Constantinopel --- and we are talking about the two most important cities in this
part of the world! --- then you could take the old and famous via Appia. However, between Roma and Brindisi, you can save a
full day of travel if you took the via Traiana. And who would not like to save a full day of travel? And then you would let your
horses rest here at the Taverna di San Vito. And you would drink the crystal clear water that comes from the spring.

So we drink some more water from the spring as well.



But it is time to move on.
We don't know how long Doug stayed here at this tranquil place. But, regardless, in the end he moved on.
This was still on German hands, and he was risking the lives of both himself and his saviours by staying.
They dressed him up as an Italian peasant, and he moved on.

The escape map shows that he moved east until he came to the mountains. Then, from San Vito, he moved south-east.
Presumably he b y now new where he would find the front, and thus Allied forces.


If you examine the escape map (above) you'll see that the line he has drawn goes directly from San Vito (upper left)
to the town of Lacedonia. From there streight down to where the two rivers Fiume di Atella and Fiume Ofanto meets.
The terrain feature of Google Maps tells us that this is mountainous terrain. The plan is to ride on small roads (as if there
are any major roads here ) along the escape route. We ride from San Vito to Lancedonia, and then down to where the two rivers meet.



Here is the route we rode. The three red circles are the same ones at on the escape map. Please join us.





The whole area is "empty". In the sense that there are occasional hilltop villages, but the rest is farmland. Also in Greci
they seem to be bilingual. The story is that the village was a Greek colony. It is known to have been here at abotu 500 AD.
But the Greek influence had ended by then, so the village is probably many hundred years older.
The village was completely destroyed in 908 but because of it's strategic position rebuilt in1039. Between 1461 and 1464
the Albanian general (and national hero there) Skanderbeg settled scores of Albanians in the village.
The idea was that with the two French villages San Vito and Faeto further north, an Albanian outpost was needed here.
The Greek still held sway, and religion was Greek-Orthodox until 1690 when it became illegal.



The road from Greci is quite steep.



In the valley below Greci we find a trattoria. The owners probably live from their pension, and run it of old habit.
I don't think the economy is blooming here. The whole place was gloomy.

I had pasta with bietula while Capa Superiore has ragu. Both were average.



The the insatata mista was from the garden, and very nice indeed.




In the bar there is a large rack of wines. They are all from 1972
It seems the mood was different that year, and investments were made. But then noone came, and noone drank the Brunello and the Barolo.
So if you want a good deal on 30 years old wines stored in the Puglian heat, you'll know where to go.
Make that: Where to ride!



There is an east-to-west railroad track down here. Doug must have crossed it. Maybe here?



We continue towards Lacedonia. The same farmland, with an occasional building. Doug must have seen this church.



We're approaching Lancedonia. You can see it on the hill in the background. Maybe Doug slept in that old building?



It is not likely that much has changed in Lacedonia since 1943. The old men still sit on the piazza and talk while playing cards.
We don't know that to look for in Lacedonia, as we don't know why Doug marked the town on the map.
But it looks like any other old Italian village on the top of a hill.



But we find that there is an old road from Lacedonia to where the rivers meet. We follow it along the hills.
Did I say that I love wind mills?



We stop now and then to absorb the landscape, as it were.
Which reminds me: All interesting photos has been taken by Capa Superiore della Famiglia. Here she has captured me as I try to
figure out how to turn on a Nikon D80. The purpose of the photo, however, is to show the landscape.



Did Doug stay the night here? An old house along the road.

When we get down to the rivers, we ride up and down looking for something.
What is "something"? Well, you don;t know before you see it. But then we see it.



There is an old rail-road bridge just here. That is why this point is marked on the map!
He crossed the river here, saw the bridge, and later marked the spot on the map where he saw the railroad crossed the river.

From here, he went straight east.



The road isn't streight at all, as there is a small mountain just there. So we don't know how he walked.



We ride to Rionero, where we arrived at dusk.

Doug used 17 days on his escape. We spent a full day tracing his steps on a motorbike.




Thank you for following us this far.

[TaSK]
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:26 AM   #433
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Coming this fall

Tagesk,

I have heard many times how beautiful Tuscany is, and your pictures are the best that I have seen. I am coming this fall finally and your pictures have got me excited about the trip.

Would love to rent a GS while there. Know of anywhere to rent one?

Will try to visit many of the places you show in your pictures.

Ciao!
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:58 AM   #434
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Thumb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Krupa
Tagesk,
Would love to rent a GS while there. Know of anywhere to rent one?
Ciao!
No, sorry I don't.

But I can supply you with a Transalp.

Ragrdless: Thank you for reading!

[TaSK]
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:31 AM   #435
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This thread just keeps getting better and better!
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