|03-05-2013, 07:54 PM||#1037|
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Atlanta GA
I too, am missing one of the more diverse and intelligent ride reports on the interwebz. In the meantime I have had to amuse myself by actually riding. The ride report "Coast to Coast on an Italian Supermodel" has also provided some intellectual stimulation but I miss Tage and his Tuscan wisdom.
Valve springs?! We don't need no stinkin' valve springs!
|06-17-2013, 02:16 AM||#1038|
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Tuscany, Italy
Sardinia 2013 - Preludium
This is the first in a series of eight. List of all the parts at the
end of this post.
The text discussing a picture is always below the picture itself.
In an effort to try something new, all images are "clickable" in this
Finally, I've updated the very first post in Riding in Tuscany to hold
links to the most interesting reports.
There is something with self portraits. When I look at a this one--for
example--it is obvious that the picture shows what I look like. But
more importantly, it shows how I want to be seen. Together, the two
might capture who I am. We see a mature man who not only with great
care have avoided buying a Canon or Nikon, but who also have used
black tape so that no one can see which camera he has. A man who uses
a mechanical instrument called watch (rarely seen outside Italy,
these days), sitting in a bar in Roma, finding it convenient to show
who he thinks he is. The picture is, at best, a reflection of the
self rather than of reality. If your belly is is too large, it is
hardly natural (at least not for me) to let it show (too much) on
self portraits. No matter how much your belly is part of "reality".
After my near-death experience a few years back, I spend quite some
time thinking about Life, Universe, and Everything. I think about the
difference between who I am and who I want to be, and similarly
I watched the picture when I took it and I looked at it again in the
privacy of my office. Do I see the man I feel I am? Is this the man
I want to see? Who is he? The problem is that I have faith in man's
ability to change himself. So, if I don't like what I see I need to
do something. But what is "something"?
What does a man think, when he sitting next to a woman on a bench on
the Metro in Roma, when the woman is a nun and she is sending an SMS?
Nuns are not supposed to send SMS. What about men not accustomed to
nuns (like me)?
A bench at the Gemelli station in Roma is no different than a bench at
Jernbanetorget in Oslo. A public place with thousands of people
passing by, but still a little private universe. The man does not look
at the nun, but he knows she is there. Ans it is a she, not a thing.
I look at the empty bench here on my side of the platform, and try to
feel that I would have though if she was here on this side. What fills
your mind, waiting for the train, next to a woman on a bench in a
train station? The man has chosen to divide his part of the bench in
two equal parts. Would I have done the same? Or further away because
nuns is a foreign concept for me, religion on that level in general in
I try to learn more about myself.
Nuns are strange, but in Roma there are many other things you can be
fascinated by. Marble, for example. Here, then, is the question: Are leaves
made in marble beautiful? Leaves out in Nature must surely be better?
Or is it the dedication and effort behind it all, that gives rise to
this feeling of beauty? The smooth, cool, but yet hard surface.
Roma is a good place to ponder on all this. No, thatis not correct.
Roma is a good place to harvest impressions, perspectives and points
of view. But there is simply too much noise in Roma to think. Mulling
over Life and Death, Love, Universe, and Everything, that is what I do
when I ride my motorcycle. This time, I am riding on Sardinia.
The report is in eight parts; they are
Capa Superiore della Famiglia has arranged everything that need to be
arranged. Not only is she far better than me in those affairs, she
also feels the need to do them. So I let her.
I prepare by going to Roma and looking at marble.
In short: We rode the 270 km down to Civitavecchia, took the ferry to
Cagliari south on Sardinia, rode 2.300 km, too the ferry back to
Civitavecchia from Olbia in the north, and then rode home.
Our SPOT tracked the whole trip (in real time). You can study the log
Thank you for your attention; I hope you will not be left with the feeling that
your time has been wasted.
tagesk screwed with this post 06-26-2013 at 11:40 AM
|06-17-2013, 05:05 AM||#1040|
Distant Spot on a Sandbar
Joined: Feb 2004
Location: Cape Cod
The man sits as though half the bench is his space. The nun sits as though the entire bench is her space. Did the nun sit first? How much space does a human require?
Welcome back! Looking forward to your report!
I'm not afraid of dying; I just don't want to be there when it happens. -Woody Allen
|06-17-2013, 06:02 AM||#1041|
Canadian living in exile
Joined: Jul 2004
the camera is a good choice.. it seems able to convey your view of the world very well
|06-17-2013, 07:12 AM||#1042|
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Atlanta GA
Welcome back Tage. Having ridden in Sardegna twice, I am looking forward to your report. You seem to have gone to many places I did not go so all the better. Looking at your Spot tracks I was rather shocked that you skipped Orgosolo. I would have welcomed your take on the murals. Another day...
Valve springs?! We don't need no stinkin' valve springs!
|06-17-2013, 07:26 AM||#1043|
Joined: Jul 2012
Tage has returned! The long wait is over! No one tells it like you do my friend. Hooray!
"neque illic mortuus" indeed.......
Blader54 screwed with this post 06-17-2013 at 08:38 AM
|06-17-2013, 09:24 AM||#1044|
Joined: Apr 2011
Tage, great to see you're back in business. I can't wait to reed you're report.
BMW GS, Adventure touring since 1939
|06-17-2013, 09:43 AM||#1045|
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Tuscany, Italy
A little gem put in for my own pleasure.
When standing in front of that outstanding work in marble, in Santa Maria del Popolo, in Roma obviously, and
reading "Not living here - Not dead there", while making mental preparations for a week-long ride where
I will try to think hard about my life -- was it possible for me not to include it in the Preludium of the report?
It simply had to be there.
But you, Sir, cut through the fog I put in place by not discussing it. To the core of the issue.
If I am not living here, but not dead there, where am I?
I laud you!
The only way I can show my appreciation is to make sure the dinner I hope I can serve you
here in my garden will be larger, better and with wines that surpass your expectations.
Thank you, Sir, for looking very, very carefully at my pictures.
|06-17-2013, 11:06 AM||#1046|
Joined: Jul 2007
'02 Aprilia Caponord / '06 KTM 640 Adventure / '04 Aprilia Futura
|06-17-2013, 11:54 AM||#1047|
Joined: Jul 2012
I must demur. My success in penetrating the details is only possible because they are there to be investigated. Thank you! And thank you for the invitation to dinner. One day we will sit down together to dine at your Tuscan home, I am sure.
It is my understanding that some noted photographers of the past used black tape on their cameras....you are in good company. Ride on!
|06-18-2013, 02:57 AM||#1049|
Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Jo.burg, South Africa
|06-20-2013, 03:45 AM||#1050|
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Tuscany, Italy
Sardegna 2013 - Part 1
This is part 2 of 8. You are adviced to start with the
first part. Words in Italian are set cosi.
We have many years of experience riding our motorcycle together,
Capa Superiore della Famiglia and myself. It's Sunday 19th of
May and everything is ready. But then it turns out that not everything
was set after all. The goal was to take off at 12 but it is almost one
before we (finally) manage to depart.
Capa, Tryggve and me are one our way, the sun is shining, we're in
Tuscany, I filled 20-50 in the Tryggves engine, the intercom works
great, he has no more than 83.000 km on the odo and we have Metzler
Tourance. Can you ask for more?
Yes, you can. Lunch, for example.
This trip needs be coordinated with others. My mother and Edel fly in
to Sardegna from Norway, landing in Cagliari (in the very south of the
island). They land in the morning on Monday. That is why we take the
ferry to Sardegna today Sunday.
Tomorrow morning, we'll meet up with the ladies at the airport in
Cagliari, pick up a rented car, and then drive to Putzu Idu and
Riva dal Mare where
we will stay for a week. Map later.
Unfortunately I don't have any need for a vacation, and I'll discuss
this at length later. Thus, my role in all this is to bring Capa
Superiore to Cagliari so that she can drive to Oristano along with the
other ladies, then keep a low profile about a week, picking her up in
Cagliari again, take her to Olbia on the north-east coast where we
ferry back to the mainland.
My interpretation of "keep a low profile" is not to protest when
the ladies are discussing what to do during the day, and generally not
be in the way. That means, I think, that Tryggve and I shall ride
around on Sardegna while the ladies do whatever women do when left to
their own device. I refrain from asking what that might be.
We are catching a ferry, the day is well underway, so instead of
slowly winding our way down to Civitavecchia through the rolling hills
of Chianti, we instead steer Tryggve out on the Autostrada and we zip
Five years ago, give or take, we had lunch at a bar at an intersection
not far from Grosseto. We remember the bar, and no better reason
exists; we need to visit again. We have some idea where it might be,
and after some searching we find it. They place is called
La Bottega della Cura in the
"center" of the tiny hamlet Cura Nuova. It's not too late and we
enjoy warm lunch. Just primo for us today. Very good food!
They have a substantial selection of wines, offer accommodation and
run a trattoria. Here is my take on this: Most likely I could spend a
pleasant evening and night here. First, the morning with Tryggve and a
woman in Chianti, then the afternoon in Maremma, before we with great
care attended to all the nagging needs of the body. For reservations
We almost always go through a social process as we embark on a ride.
First, let us say the first hour, we talk about current events, the
electricity has become so expensive, Lucia did a swell job with the
garden, and so on.
Then silence dawns upon us. We are thinking about more important
things. Like Life, Universe and Everything. Then, slowly, important
discusstions come to the surface. The things that are said, in this
phase, they are the things that carry with them the effects of having
been married for about 30 years. In essence: No beating about the
bush. We talk about (our) children, money, business, and dreams in
the honest way we do when we are not disturbed, when no-one else are
around, but, at the same, time we can not see each others.
It is easier to say difficult things in the phone than face to face.
The reason is simple: You don't need to look at the surprised face.
Inside my helmet, at 110 km/h on the via Aurelia, is about the same.
I really, really value these hours with Capa Superiore.
Everything in the world can be separated in three classes: What is
alive, what "we" have made, and the rest. The difference between me
and a butterfly or a flower is smaller than between me and a lake, a
mountain or a star. For the record: I don't consider myself to be a
For me it is obvious that we have made are more beautiful than we
are, and even more so than the things that just "are" such as
mountains. Yes, a sunset is nice, but when you visit the Basilica
di San Pietro in Vaticano in Roma and stare in awe at the cieling,
then you know that a sunset is in a different leauge all together.
Anyway, when I look at something that is so beautiful that it makes my
hart hurt, then I experience an important aspect of being human. I
understand how, technically speaking, you design the roof in such a
way that the light from windows you can not see fall on the paintings
done a fresco 50 meters above me, and I understand, technically
speaking, how colours can be used to give a real and lasting
impression of looking up towards Heaven. But only in theory.
I both understand how it is done and, at the same time, how I am
utterly unable to do so myself. As a human I share the ability to
create such stunning design, but as individual I am separated from it
by an ocean of (missing) talent. The grandness and the hopelessness
of being human, both at the same time.
The same feeling of both being able to create. and not being able,
comes to me when I read a passage that captures essence of life. For
example, Bernhard Ellefsen wrote in Morgenbladet (in Norwegian)
discussing the novel Liknelsesboken by Per Olov Enquist (I have no
clue if it has beentranslated to foreign languages, such as English):
He is only fifteen years old when he realises that freedom isEven though I am sure the struggle between freedom and safety can be
described better than this, I can not do it. And I am sure there are
better ways to offer the translation from Norwegian. But the point is
this: When I read this passage I was again overwhelmed by the feeling
of beinh human. I could have written that, but at the same time, I
could not. Beauty is not only to be found in Roma, but also in the
writing of masters. Or, in other words (no pun intended): I must
read, I must read, I must read.
Tryggve, our twelve year old BMW R1150GS, he is healthy. All those
illnesses that children have to deal with are gone. All those recalls
and "fixes". Everything has settled, and as we cruice along on the
highway, listning to the humming of his engine, all is well.
If we were to get a new bike it would have to be 2008-9 model BMW
R1200GS Adventure. Of all the model in play, this seems to be the
most reliable. Here in Italy the price is about 10.000 euro for a
low-mileage bike. We paid 9500 euro for Bamsefar more than a decade
ago, 4500 for Tryggve in 2011. We are talking about 1500 euro/year.
There are many ways to spend 1500 euro that does give less value to
life return. But, then again, it assumes you have 1500 euro/year to
spend. I am not blind for that last point.
With Bamsefar and Tryggve we have covered about 210.000 km in a
decade. Mostly in Toscana, but we have also visited Sicilia, Spain,
Greece, Portugal, France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark,
Sweden, Finland, and, naturally, Norway.
A new bike would be swell. But having read
Thinking,Fast and Slow
I know full and well that I would in fact be even happier after
investing heavily in a new bike. The problem is, naturally, that it
is the investment Per Se that makes you happy, not only the new bike. It
was electrical gremlins that finally took out Bamsefar, and Tryggve is
not at all younger even though he has 100.000 km less on the odometer.
On the other hand, it is relaxing to have a bike looking so tired that
no-one will ever try to steal it.
After lunch our journey continues. I am Frist Officer on board. My
responsibilities are navigation and Public Relations. That is, The
Captain decides where we go, and I get us there with the minimum amout
of fuzz. And, since She is occupied with whatever occupies Captains
onboard a motorbike, I have to salute all other bikers we meet. We
don't meet many bikers this sunday.
My life is the most important in, well, life. But happiness is not
just a salary (which I don't have, by he way) and that there are no
waves and disturbances. Happiness is to feel that your life is not
wasted. Life is wasted if the main purpose is to pass the time.
Happiness, I think, arise from experimenting with your life. But then
comes children (and grand children!), wife, morgage, and all those
things that anchers you to your destiny of watching the time pass by.
"How could I have known that all those days that passed by, were Life
Life, family and all that are so precious that we refrain from lofty
experiments. But life is also too important to refrain from living
it. If you don't do something, your life is a leaf beging carried
down the stream of time. A lot of things happens, and interesting
scenery is offered, but you are never the less doing no more than
floating along. Your feeling of living a full life is fed by
interesting images on the outside of the wind shield and thrilling
hours watching National Geographic TV.
If you don't want to leave your wife to try a new life with a new
woman, sell everything to stay some years watching the Ganges in
India, become a munk to experience longing, if nothing of this suites
you, then you must read. An author is one who enables you to
understand how experiments with your life could be, without you
actually having to risk your own.
For example, if you get to choose between two women you can most
likely only have one of them. But then you can not have the other.
It is simple, at least to understand. How to experience the agony
of choise without creating havoc in your own family? Well, reading
about it. To that end, Anna Gavalda wrote Je l'Aimais (translated to
English as Someone I Loved (I think)). If you don't get the
opporunity to choose between the life you know and value, and a new
one, you can read about it and feel the pain. Is it really true that
freedom is more important than safety?
In those hours between the talk about everytday issues, and the
important things that slowly emerge after a while, in those hours I
try to think about my own reading. There is one author that puzzles
me: Shakespeare. Besides having heard the quote To Be, or Not to Be
more times than I care to remember, why have we all heard about him?
What did he write four hundred years ago that was so fantastic? Or is
it with Shakespeare as with Don Quijote; the novel all thosw in the
know says is the best novel ever written, but one that no-one ever
reads? Is Hamlet in the same leauge as Crime and Punishment, Moby
Dick, Dante's Inferno and, good grief, In search of Lost Time? There
is, I guess, only one way to find out.
Our ride today ends at the parking, waiting to board the ferry.
As is customary here in Italy, we are asked to pass all the cars and
park up front. In my world, this small gesture is enough to make my
day. A small thing with no great meaning, but as I ride past the line
of cars, I smile. This has been a good day, and I don't need to be
saved from myself. Never the less, small gestures like this makes me
happy. Collect happiness; life can turn to the worse before you now
We carry far to much luggage inside, and fill our very stern and
no-frills cabin to the rim. The ferry to Sardegna will set you back
about 200 euro if you want a cabin. You can travel with
Moby, Tirrenia or Sardinia Ferries. We chose Tirrenia for no good reason.
After a refreshing shower we're all set to prepare for dinner. Capa
goes to the bar to procure our Martinis. After a loooong time she
return with two beers.
First, Dry Martini was interpreted as Drei Martini (three Martinis, in
German). But who wants three glases of Vermuth? Her efforts to
explain that Dry is not Drei, that we are talking, you know, James
Bond here, all her efforts fail. But they knew of Mr Bond and the
lady behind the bar decides to be Sean Connery. The man says he from
now on will respond only when titulated as 007. Lots of fun, but,
alas, no Dry Martinis. Capa can see both gin and vermuth, but trying
to explain what she wants, what we need in fact, is to no avail. We
will learn why next week.
We drink our beer and listen to the heated discussion whether Moore
was the ultimate Bond, or if Connery was better. This turns to a
discussion about whether it is worth the effort to go to London
(no-one in favour, it seems), Et Cetera, Et Alibi. It is something
very Italian in the way they live their lives behind the bar.
Customers are not serviced, they are instead taking part in the
discssion. If your approach to a bar (or any other commersial
enterprise for that matter) is a place to get what YOU want with
minimal fuss and interaction with other humans, Italy is not the place
This is the first time this year I don't bring Shakespeare along. It
all started with Shakespeare:
A very short introduction. To be honest: I didn't understand
anything. I concluded that Hamlet most likely was like Inferno.
Fortunately I didn't give up, and may I offer some advice: Greer's
"short" introduction assumes you already have a master's degree in
I savour another beer.
My next approach was to order a copy if his collected works. That, too,
failed. Reading Shakespeare in original is not an easy task. There
have been quite some changes in the English language since his time.
Here, for example, is a crusial passage from Hamlet (scene 3.3); we
learn something very important about the Prince of Denmark, and
it is here that Shakespeare offers you, the reader, to make up your
mind of what is good and what is bad.
My command of English is simply not good enough to fully grasp what
just took place. The small details that are the difference that makes
No go, as they say.
I surf and try to construct an approach. Finally I settle the simple
play The Taming of the Shrew.
I order three different editions:
happens, then I read the intro in RSC, then the original play in Arden
with notes, and finally the introduction in Arden.
A lot of effort, but finally I manage. I feel very intellectual when
I sit on the train with my reading glasses, studying Shakepseare while
listning til Bach (BWV 825). My true self?
After two bottles of beer we head of for dinner. As we almost always
do, we want to select the menu del giorno. The waiter is a
lady who we come to believe have not had a good day. The main course
is Tonno Algherone (Alghero is a town on Sardegna). When we
ask what that migth be, she replies that they don't have it. Instead
we will get pesce spada.
We ask for the house white and she says they don't have a house wine.
OK, we select a white from the menu, which she reports they don't
have. We select another white, which arrives in a cooler. When we
try it, it turns out to be red! We get hold of her again, she takes
the wine and cooler away, and return with a white but with no cooler.
The antipasto is not worth discussing and the primo was
average. The tonno that turned into pesce spada turns
out to be salmone.
Then something very Italia happens. An experienced, smiling and very
professional waiter makes his entré. He isn't invisble, as one might
want waiters to be. He comes to our table to talk. When he after
some chatting realizes the very strong hierarchical order we have in
our family, and that I am at the bottom, he demands that Capa take our
photo. He is also at the bottom in his familty, he says, and as
brothers in arms we must unite. Notice the white wine, with no
cooler; the bottle is empty.
We want Italian waiters, no doubt about it!
We have lots of fun, which draws the attention of antoher waiter. He
is at the very top of the hierarchi in his family, he says, so he
wants to sit next to Capa.
All's well that ends well (no pun intended), and after paying a bill
that feels like extortion we retreat again to the Bond-bar where Sean
Connery still reigns.
Before I started on more serious plays, I god hold of a copy of Shakespeare
-- The invention of the Human by Harold Bloom. He carefully
presents all 38 plays and decides 24 of them to masterworks.
Generally speaking, even a lay man as myself can understand what he
wants to convey.
After The Taming of the Shew, The Comdy of Errors, and As You Like It,
I am ready for the heavyweights and I read Henry IV and Hamlet.
Finally I muse my way through The Sonnets.
The result of it all: I know why he has not forgotten, I know why he
was part in a great change of direction for society, and I have at my
disposal a large set of quotes for every aspect of life. I have
gotten to know Rosalyn, Falstaff, Hal, Hotspur, and, the Prince of
Denmark. I have read about revenge, love, desire (both for power and
more bodily ones), and many other aspects of being human.
My judgements isn't as good as it should have been, and I think I
really need and deserve another large grappa. Capa Superiore gets it,
she is recognised as the Bond-women, Sean Connery waves, and life is
But Capa returns with red wine. Connery and 007 convinced her there
is absolutely required that we taste this Sardegian red. Two big
glases, in fact.
I simply can't end the day with red wine, never could. Assisted by
ever reduced will power and lack of common sense I instead draw the
evening to an end with two bottles of good, German beer.
If truth is to be told, I drank too much.
As I endure a comatose sleep we are transported from Civitacecchia on
the main land to Cagliary on Sardegna. We rtode 270 km today, mostly
tagesk screwed with this post 06-20-2013 at 03:51 AM
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