The question “aren’t you lonely when your away”…often coupled with “don’t you have any friends?” (Charming I know) are so common I’m thinking I should come up with an amazingly witty set response which I can use to explain the truth of it to everyone who has obviously never travelled alone. It takes SO much effort to make traveling a lonely experience.
When it gets to the point that you can’t sit outside a supermarket making up a sandwich without being wished “Bon voyage” by a passing elderly lady. When you are constantly being quizzed by hordes of passing men as to the weight of your steed. Or can’t go for an evening snack in a small bar without ending up drunk with the barman (que photo)…
…and his rabble of teenage friends (the awesome group above – with a rather red faced version of myself) none of whom spoke a word of English – to say I spent most of my time indebted to the translate app on my iPhone is an understatement! But regardless, in the safety of Europe you are never really in a language barrier. Even when too inebriated to spell english correctly on my phone we resorted to easy topics! Bands, place names, big name brands, movies – American TV is deffinatly popular across Europe!
Then there is what I learned in Sicily… To both my pleasure and annoyance (the alone time on the bike had thoroughly ended) was the ease with which cyclists can chat! The roadies that came to cycle along side me didn’t want Indepth life conversations – they wanted distances traveled, climbed, where you were going, bike technical jargon that I don’t even understand in English! But it really did come easy… And when they got bored with either the conversation or speed, away they could go! Although shocked at the low numbers of female cyclists I encountered in Italy I must say all the blokes were the example of kindness, shouts asking if I needed help/a pump were frequent whenever I stopped for a breather!
This lovely bloke saw me struggling over the hill/mountain north of Messina, in torrential rain and gale force winds it felt slightly like god himself was against me that day. He didn’t speak a word of English but when he realised we were going the same way refused to leave my side, when the winds got so bad I could barely move the bike he physically put his hand on my back and pushed me up! Not even exaggerating the situation! It is a good job I’m not a proud individual or it might have been a touch soul destroying. But god I needed him! Salvadore you are the nicest man I’ve met in a long time! Amidst cheers at the top he attempted to give me detailed directions onwards before leaving for home. That man turned one of my worst mornings Into my best, hopefully one day I will return the favour!