Home > Uncategorized > Part Cinque – Frattelli d’Italia

Part Cinque – Frattelli d’Italia

The Alps proved a phenomenal experience. The walk is unrelenting for two days from Montreaux to the summit, with sheer passes up mud and shale paths, the obligatory field of cows and a summit which never seems to arrive. We walked above snow, damns and gaggles of French pensioners who had taken a coach up to do some sitting. Bloody hard, but worth it for the stunning view of the Alps from the monastery at the top.

I cannot think of anything I have done which has given quite the same feeling of achievement. Although intellectual pursuits are imagined to have greater value than the physical act of walking up something, there is something to be said for having to face up to and conquer your own softness. So much of what gets us into trouble comes from an inability of the mind to control the body. This climb was something which at many points on this journey, you would have received long odds against me managing, so I feel a mixture of pride and gratitude that I managed it. Most of all, one feels humbled in the mountains, both by the enormity of the scale of ones surroundings in comparison to ones self and moreover the tinniness of ones place in time, given the marks of the many thousands who have trekked over the pass since pre-Roman times.

How Dad did it, I shall never know, given that he was fresh of the plane and then route marched vertically upwards for four days from Lausanne. In any event, his aptitude for finding and befriending the village drunk was soon to the fore, with an impressive opening day performance involving a man with a glass eye, an enormous stomach, a string vest and most of the gold jewellery in Switzerland who spoke neither French or Italian with any consistency, but instead a form of gibberish that only Dad, well versed in such things, understood. On finding out that I was walking from England, he produced a rousing series of “Bravissimo! Bravissimo!”, slapping the waitress at the cafe firmly on the behind for emphasis, after which he confided that he himself cycled six kilometers a week – which presumably accounted for his thirst – which had the pleasing effect of not only shrinking his stomach but producing a great extension in a neighbouring organ – demonstrated with engagingly lurid sign language. Dad managed to find someone like that most days for the fortnight he was here – a phenomenal achievement, as I have seen almost no public drunkenness since leaving England. A fine achievement, and it was great to have him out, excellent company.

I am now in Genoa, owing to a disagreement with the Via Francigenia, which thought it would be fun to spend a week or so visiting the mosquito colonies of northern Italy, whereas I thought it would be fun to visit the sea side. Genoa is remarkably like home – decorated with used syringes, condoms and drunk South East Asian gentlemen. The rest of Italy is uncompromisingly lovely, a wonderful place, beautiful people, beautiful scenery, beautiful towns.

To Rapallo, to try and look old money in a sweat stained lycra shirt and crotchless rugby shorts – challenging, but not impossible… Salve!

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Moulinator
    August 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Glad to hear you made it. I was worried you’d been seduced by a St Bernard.

  2. Harrison
    August 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    There’s a St Bernard walking around the Alps with 3 legs. Apparently it woke up next to you the morning after and you were lying on its leg. It had to chew its own leg off so it could beat a hasty, albeit wobbly, retreat before you woke up.

    Awrabest as per. Keep on keeping on, Pascoe.


    PS: Get yer trousers on – you’re nicked!

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