24 november 2007


A picture of Capa della Famiglia having a Campari and looking at the map, at jazz-bar in Roma will have to do as a starting point for two weeks of commotion. My New Life, as opposed to my old one), was supposed to be free of these frantic periods with travel, appointments, obligations and stress. But, alas!, here we are, looking forward to dinner. The thing is, when our neighbor heard we were going to Roma, he cried out that if we went to Roma but failed to have dinner with his good friend Francesco, he, as our friend, would surely die. He grabbed a piece of paper and wrote that we were not only his friends, but (almost) his closest family and nothing would ever separate us, and that Francesco now had only one mission in life: Make us happy. We were a little skeptic to find the trattoria just a block from the Ministry of Finance (that is, not so far from Termini, and with a tourist-density above average for Roma). But Francesco did his job, made it clear that Stefano is best carpenter in the whole world, and served us loads of sea food.
Due to some luck, almost all of this year's travel could be done in one swoop: Montemagno - Roma - FCO - OSL - TOS - Disputas - OSL - Birthday party - STN - PSA - Montemagno - Roma - Montemagno. While I have been approaching Roma for quite some time, at the meta level. The problem is simply: How can one approach Roma? But now the time was right, and off we went. I've decided to go there a few times to to get an overview. Then, later, try to focus later. As we shall see, being cautious is indeed necessary.<We started with a visit to Santa Maria Maggiore. I walked around for a while, but I was unable to take any pictures. Even though I wasn't diagnosed withStendhal's Syndrome I couldn't find anywhere to aim my camera without regretting I didn't aim it somewhere else. In the end I gave up, left and settled for the smaller Basilica Santa Prassede nearby. At least I managed to take a photograph. The official ones are better, so I failed to capture "my" impression. I gave up on that one also. This was not going very well.We decided instead to visit The most crowded, deserted place on Earth, Forum Romanum. Walking slowly down via Cavour, we found it blocked by a demonstration (general strike in Roma today), and ventured into some small side streets. There we found M. Bonamici in his shop, restoring the frame of a painting. He had covered the frame with thin sheets of silver, and now he was making it shiny with what looked like a pen with a bony tip. He told us that he had inherited the tools from his father, but that none of his four children wanted to inherit them from him. As we were talking to him I realized that speaking some Italian might save the day. Buon giorno anche a lei, and we stroll on. We do not visit San Pietro in Vincolo as Moses might be too much. Instead we noticed something odd looking down a narrow street. It took a few seconds to realize what we saw; click on the narrom picture to the left to see what we saw.
At this point I must tell you that when Marine came to Nesodden (outside Oslo) for the first time, and saw a real tree (as opposed to trees in the Tromsø-scale of things) she said It looks like a tree, but it is so large. I looked at the Colloseum and said... yes, you get the idea.Again, it is worthwhile to be prepared, so we took lunch before descending. If you look at the picture of the street, on the left hand, yous ee part of a red table. Behind it there is a small trattoria. Of of the type that we like. With pictures of grand children on the walls. The menu was not in German and ragu was not denoted as Bolognese. What more can I ask? We're in Roma, after all.
Then I tried to take a picture of it, and failed. Not (only) because it is so beautiful, but because it is so huge. My 27mm wide angle (in 35mm parlance) didn't stand a chance against this colossal monster. I snapped one by Sissel instead; she is always there to make things less hard. Which reminds me that she and Karine just bought me a sing I can hang on the door to my office. It reads:
The opinions voiced by the man in this house is not necessarily those of the management.
Let me not dwell on this issue but instead get back to my story. We took a bus to Pantheon where I failed to capture anything of interest (but there is hope, read on!). We crossed via Corso and lingered for a while at the bottom of the Spanish Stairs. Again, no picture; I find some comfort in lunch. Again we are lucky, and find a small place that isn't too bad. It is actually quite good. And the waiter even noticed that Sissel didn't add oil on her salad.
- How can you disappoint me like this; there is oil in the world as good as the one from Lazio!
- I'm trying to keep my weight
- It's the salt that is the problem, not the oil. No-one has ever put on any weight by using a little oil on the salad! Stay away from that salt!
The ravioli con burro e salvie was exellent, even though he admitted without hesitation that fatta a mano was more correct that fatta a casa. I liked him! Then there was time for a pennicalla and we took the Metro back to Vittori Emanuele, and the hotel (which was a bed and breakfast).
The sun settles early at this time of the year, and Santa Maria Maggiore was stunning also after dark. But with a three-pod I might be able to capture what I saw. We'll return later to give it a try (after having bught a three-pod, that is). But then it was time for dinner. GISK and Anne Marie had found a small place we liked. The food was good, the wine was good, the gorgonzola was good, so we had a good time.
All in all, the first visit went well.

Next morning I flew FCO - OSL - TOS, and checked into Stuertveien Hotel. For dinner they served lutefisk, and my opinion is unaltered: Nice if you are used to it, but only once per year, please. Monday was Simone's. I offer you two pictures to get an idea.Readers residing in the New Colonies can rest assured that Simone appreciated the opportunity to visit a venue of the Fine Arts when he leaves the mess behind and relocates to the South. Done with that I flew TOS - OSL to take part in a family even, and then OSL - STN, where I spent the night. But before that I went to The George where I had Abbot ale. Although I prefer the Continental-style lager, drinking beer in a pub far out in the English countryside is nice. The food was good too. Next day: STN - PSA, and Home! I hate to travel.
Time to turn my attention to the things nearer to my hart. My BMW R1150GS makes a squeaking noise when I start it (not good at all!). I pull it apart, fix it, and feel good. Then I am asked how I did it, so I document it. If you ever need to deal with a squeaking starter on a BMW Oilhead, look no further, but grab a copy here.Just finished with the starter, and SAM arrives. We both enjoy good food and good wine; here he is shown together with a glass of ten years old Brunello which blended very, very well with Bistecca Fiorentina. The problem with Brunello is that it only goes well with things that I shouldn't eat: Red meat, gorgonzola and other heavy stuff. During one of these evenings we planned the Annual SiToscana Wine and Food fastival that takes place the week before Easter every year; stay tuned for more details.After a few days of lazy relaxing in Montemagno we popped down to Roma again. SAM hadn't been there, and I was ready to try again to snap a few photos. This time I managed to get Colloseum and the fountain at Trevi. Not bad for being me, and I felt much better. Eating well didn't hurt, either. The first day's success gave me courage to try to tackle to more of the all-time high: Santa Maria Maggiore and Pantheon. The first failed, again. I have no idea of how to capture anything interesting at all. I also failed at the Spanish Stairs (again).
As these things are so very large, the only way to get it all to to hire a helicopter; boring woudl be the title of such a picture. The challenge is to find an angle that captures a small but essential part. A detail that all will recognize, a detail that carries with it the experience all visitors share. As an example I offer a picture of Piazza Nationale at night. My image of the piazza is such that I believe that if you have ever been there you will remember two things: The buildings and the traffic. If I am right you'll feel at home with this one:Of course, you might also have noticed this statue on/in the wall of basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. As we know, the wall is Roman while the Church itself was designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Ah, how nice! I look forward to try to get an impression on "film" from the inside (although I will most certainly fail as the church is more than 90 meters long).
Next day we had our breakfast at Piazza del Popolo (and I failed to get a picture of Santa Maria del Popolo), we visited Ara Pacis, did not visit Augustus' Mausoleum, but we did indeed visit Pantheon. And this time I managed to find a way to remember it.

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02 august 2007


For some reason that I can not explain, I am drawn towards the old, antiquity, via Aurelia rather than Autostrade della Sole, and so on. But I am not alone: Mr. Thayer has a site with several thousand pages (hand edited HTML!) dealing with old "things". He writes:
I wonder what Professor Diller would say today, where the "tendency in some quarters" has expanded considerably: many people (and far more than in 1935, too) regard the works of antiquity not even so much as monuments of ignorance, but rather - the thought of whether something might be true or not apparently never crossing their horizon of concerns - as curiously quaint but inconsequential stuff; that comes in handy, however, for dressing up their speech or their writing. Thus theaters become amphitheaters because the word sounds neat, and an axiom of Vitruvius' cribbed from some tertiary source who got it from a 17c translation is used for its "quaintness", and after all none of this matters: in a world where the most serious news of our age is boiled down to entertainment, why should anything else be different?
I need a structured approach to learn about the vast number of old things that occupy every hilltop and every town that currently frames my life.
In particular, I need to understand if I should approach this task in space or time. That is, via Francigena and via Aurelia are both within a few kilometers from Origo but in time they are about 1.500 years apart. Should they be approached separately or together?

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22 juni 2007


Nå ble det som kjent ikke noen tur på kryss og tvers over Appeninnene på meg forrige helg. Tirsdag eftermiddag til fredag formiddag (i dag) har vi vært på årets sommerferie. Mye å si om den, men bildet er tatt utenfor byen Cosa. Bymuren er omlag 2.250 år gammel.
I morgen drar jeg til Arezzo for å hente sykkelen, og kanskje en liten tur over Appeninnene; toget går 06:58. Sukk.

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09 mars 2007

Helt ny

Selv om jeg alltid har prioritert anderledes så forstår jeg jo gleden ved å sette seg inn i en helt ny bil; det er ikke uten grunn at vi har ordet nybillukt. Men for mg har alltid andre ting vært viktigere. Selv om Transalp ikke er en A6 Avant så kan vi slå fast at selv en Transalp er så blank når den er ny at man kan speile seg i den.
Efter dagens to turer er det 350 km på telleren; det blir ikke noe problem å få de påkrevne tusen km i løpet av én uke. Som bildet av Marine skulle vise var det tradisjonell marmortur i eftermiddag. Til vårt tradisjonelle spisested ankom vi ikke før halv tre, men vertinnen var velvilligheten selv og fyrte opp kjelene på nytt. Godt og helt ferskt brød, pasta til oss begge, litt stekt svinekjøtt til meg og pecorino med stekte popter til henne, litt vin, litt vann, litt kaffe: 18 euro.
Eneste skåret i gleden var at tunnellen fra Arni til mitt marmorbrudd var stengt så vi måtte kjøre ned en annen vei. Greit nok, men ikke like spektakulært.

Rent bortsett fra den sorte prikken under eiketreet som er Marine (det er et meget stort tre) ser vi på det siste bildet en (gammel) vei som kommer opp på skrå mot venstre og opp til dagens vei ved skiltet. Den veien er romersk og av alle de tusner (millioner?) mennesker som har gått opp den bakken i løpet av de to tusen år den har eksistert er nok Sigeric (Sigurd på norsk, vil jeg tro), erkebiskop i Canterbury, den mest kjente. Han gikk ned denne bakken i år 990; som alltid kan du klikke på bildet for fler detaljer (så som å studere stedsnavnet).

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29 desember 2006


Det tok fire arbeidsdager, men muren ble da endelig ferdig. Bortsett fra erfaringen i murbygging (utgangspunktet er her) er det gøy med Marines erkjennelse av at de tusenvis av murer som er i området representerer en for oss ufattelig mengde arbeid. Og for å demonstrere at hennes bidrag ikke er uvesentlgi har jeg ringet det inn med rødt (fundamentet er det viktigste i enhver konstruksjon!).

I morgen skal jeg forsøke meg på en liten sykkeltur. Jeg skal besøke tettstedet Chiesina Uzzanese i den lille kommunen Chiesina Uzzanese. Tettstedet vokste opp rundt et herberge for reisende som lå her; det ble grunnlagt på 1200 tallet. Men det lå her fordi her var et veikryss hvor den Etruskiske veien fra fjellene møtte den Romerske veien fra Firenze til kysten. Det veikryset skal jeg fotografere! Ellers: Batteriet på BMWen var nesten tomt for vann; håper det nå er slutt på å være plaget med for lav spenning.

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10 desember 2006


La det være kjent at å kjøre motorsykkel i Italia uten å ha hatt den på EU-kontroll koster 143 euro i bot. Heldigvis, eller kanskje naturligvis, gjorde Hustruen så godt inntrykk på Polizzia at jeg slapp bot for å ha kjørt på rødt lys (jeg spøker ikke: Hun smilte og forklarte at å kjøre på rødt lys, det ville han aldri ha gjort med vilje, for han er en flink og trygg sjåfør. De trodde henne!). Videre, la det bli kjent at om man kjører med vognkortet med den forrige eierens navn på, da blir vognkortet inndratt og mengder byråkratiske vanskeligheter venter. Kanskje har man også bodd i Italia i årevis uten å bytte sitt norske førerkort til et italiensk slik man skal. Pålegg: Kjør hjem, sett fra Dem sykkelen, betal boten, skaff Dem nytt vognkort med riktig navn, skaff Dem italiensk førerkort, og få sykkelen på EU-kontroll. Buona giornata.

Til sammenligning: jeg ble stoppet på Stakkevollveien den lørdags kvelden jeg kom fra Italia, med bilen full av bagasje, uten å ha oblatene påklistret men med betalt veiavgift, da var det ingen bønn; at oblatene ikke sendes til utlandet og jeg derfor ikke kunne ha mottatt dem hadde ingenting med saken å gjøre. Kjøre videre uten oblatene påklistret? Er du gal! Avskilting på stedet! Gebyret for avskiltingen kostet 930 kroner. Få skiltene tilbake - nei; blir man avskiltet for ikke å ha oblater må man på ny EU-kontroll. Prøveskilter? Nei - bare for å kjøre til EU-kontroll. Står bilen med feriebagasjen på Stakkevollveien - det var synd, men reglene er til for å følges, å ikke ha oblater er en alvorlig forbrytelse! Prøveskiltene på tirsdag (ikke mandag, for jeg hadde jo ikke time til EU-kontroll før tirsdag!) kostet 300 kroner.

Bildet er ikke fra dagens tur, men viser hvordan jeg ser ut mens jeg ser på bilder fra en venns tur til Brasil, mens jeg nyter en sigar jeg har fått i gave fra en annen venn. Ingen mangel på stimuli, med andre ord. Dagens tur gikk forresten via Lucca til Montemagno (LU), ned til Viareggio hvor vi spiste på en herlig liten fiskerestaurant før det ulykksalige møtet med politiet, opp til romerbyen Camaiore (hvor det romerske sentrum har 11 ganger tre gater), videre opp til veis ende ved Casoli (kartet sa veien gikk videre, men lokalbefolkningen og asfalten sa nei), ned til Camaiore igjen, via Lucca og hjem.

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24 november 2006


The deal between me and me was that when I managed to wriggle myself out of the iron grip a fixed position is, I would spend much more time outdoors. That this implies on the BMW goes without saying. But, how have a fared? Not very well, I must say. Yesterday would have been the perfect day for a ride, but I had promised this and promised that. No go.
But today is the day; as the topmost picture shows, the weather was excellent also today; it is taken midway between Pisa and Grosseto. But where to ride? The thing is, I have obligations: As part of an experiment, I have promised to drink coffee on the anicent (for an Italian definition of the word!) town of Tuscania. The question is: When having coffee in a 3.000 years old city square, how strong is the feeling of the urbane versus the rural? I ride down to Tuscania to find out.
A small side note: Tuscania is not in Toscana (which unfortunately is spelled Tuscany in English); the former is derived from Cane (see Wikipedia for details) while the latter from Tusci (Etrucan).
Upon arrival I realise there are problems: Looking at the Roman road (if you have Google Earth installed, you can watch the road In Situ by clicking here.) leading up to the city walls surrounding Tuscania, and reading the signs, I realize that where Tuscania is today (just in front of me) is not where it was three thousand years ago. Then it was situated on a hill a few hundres meters away. Actually, the town used to occupy both hills, but the plauge in 1348 struck the town so hard that one hill, and the vally between them, was completely abandoned.Basilica San Pietro (VIII-XI-XIII)The picture on the left is taken from the current and shows Basilica San Pietro on the other hill. The building on the right is the church Santa Maria Maggiore, founded in the 7th centry. It used, a milennum ago, to be "downtown". Now it is situated in a forest at the bottom of the valley; there is a nice view from there up on the two hills.
Enough history; duty is calling so let's have coffee. I head over to the hill with the old town, but there is nothing there but Roman ruins, the Basilica, and quite a few Etrucan sarcophagues. This one is 2.700 years ord; in the background you see the present Tuscania.During high season it is actually possible to have coffee here, but the bar is closed now (No turists, no struggle, no pressure, no heat, no lines to stand in, but, alas, no coffee). So I head back to the first hill and locate the Duomo. There is a bar, I have my coffee, I sit, but even though I have come 300 km for this coffee, it doesn't feel right. There is something making me uncomfortable. I get up, and I leave.

I follow SS2 (the Imperial Roman road via Cassia that went from Roma, via Arezzo, to Firenze). I ride through Canino, Acquapendente, Montalcino, Siena, the outskirts of Firenze, and Fi-Pi-Li home. Between Lago de Bolsena and Siena the via Francigena follows tha same route:
The Via Francigena is a historical route, a major road once walked along by thousands of pilgrims on their way to Rome. History has that Sigeric, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on the way back from Rome, where he had been to visit Pope John XV in the year 900, wrote a detailed description of the itinerary, which was known as ?Via Francigena? and was to become one of the most important medieval pilgrim routes.
The site has detailed maps of the entire distance in case you want to take a stroll!

I don't get home until 19:30, well after sunset. I didn't find the tranquility I was searching for, I didn't have a GPS to mark my trail. Basically, I have to do it all again later. 645 km.

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