Bergamo and its surroundings 5 months ago

Something bizarre happened today – I saw a picture of Bergamo illustrating a specific place I had visited with Marcel and I burst into tears. No fanfaronade, just tears.
I had conflicting thoughts throughout the week and yes, the pressure is there, I can feel it in my case and I can feel it in other people around me, too. It is a serious matter and I am not going to say that people are exaggerating. I am very sorry for all those who died and I have a lot of respect for all those who expose themselves and care for our well-being.
I will, however, say that people let fear rule instead of common sense.
I once read that being courageous does not mean not being afraid, but overcoming fear.
Fear… I did feel it so many times throughout my life; still, I went on and I did things. One of the last times I was scared and went ahead anyway was in Chile, mid-January, rafting Futaleufú River – one of the hardest stretches of whitewater of my life. I got lucky – the entire team did – and we did what we were told.
Actually, I would have still flown to Cape Verde in April had there been no restrictions and had Cabo Verde Airlines not cancelled one of our internal flights [opodo can’t be reached, so getting our money back is one tricky affair right now].
This virus [I still can’t write its name down] hysteria affects us in different ways.

5 months ago, I could barely find a stretch of empty sidewalk to climb to Bergamo’s Città Alta – and it was a rainy October day!
In Bergamo’s Città Alta, Italy
It is now deserted.
Bergamo, Italy
Marcel and I enjoyed the streets, tried to find surprises around the corner, had a quick lunch in a lovely place that’s closed now.
La Piadella; Bergamo, Italy

I miss those times and I keep thinking back to last year – although it was a very difficult one for me –, to the freedom that we all had… to roam, to laugh, to LIVE. Some of us didn’t take advantage of those past circumstances and don’t even realise what they’re missing because they stick to their comfort zones.

Yes, I agree. We should protect ourselves, we should have stricter hygiene and be more considerate towards one another, but I was one of the persons doing all these things also before this whole story started.
It’s not all about our health. The economy will be hit hard, all over the world – the travel industry is already down, hotels are closing, small companies will become bankrupt. It will be even harder for many people to support themselves. The planet is taking a break, yes, but… in the absence of people not implementing eco policies and fighting for the environment, this pause will have been in vain. People are suffering… because they cannot get surgery or cannot see their dear ones.

5 months ago, at one point, we left Bergamo and headed to Roncola. We changed 2 buses and were helped by the locals (even a fellow Romanian who couldn’t believe that we were not there for work, but preparing to fly to Africa the next morning). Marcel and I had both fallen in love with a place to stay in this cute village in the Prealps. When we got to Roncola, we didn’t even have reception, so we were a little bewildered at first. But we then went to buy some food because we didn’t know how far our home for the night actually was. 
It was raining, the road kept going down – and we realised that we were supposed to climb back at 5am, to take the bus to Bergamo and then the shuttle to Milan Malpensa. We went on. I was laughing my heart out. 
Roaming the streets of Roncola, Italy
And then, we did reach our destination and our host (the owner’s mother – still my favourite person of that trip) treated us like dear friends, explained everything there was regarding the house and shared stories from her childhood, memories of war, and thoughts on the new challenges posed by immigration.
Stunning Ca' Baetti - l'Antica Corte in Roncola, Italy
We were so happy to be staying there; an hour later, the owner arrived, we talked a lot and she promised to pick us up in the morning and take us straight to our shuttle stop, on her way to work.

I feel that we used to help each other more before the virus, that we were more human, that we bought only the things that we could eat over a certain time frame. 
That we were less selfish. That we were kinder.
Was it only pretence?

This global crisis should first and foremost unite us.
Maybe we’ve reached a point where human relationships, pollution, and all bad things have become too much.
Maybe it’s our wake-up call.

Then again, we can choose.
Choose not to give ourselves even the small joys that keep us sane or give in to the depression that the pressure of the hysteria nowadays brings. It’s full of narcissism around anyway, but… too few care.
Silly things... they matter - in Bergamo, Italy

I believe that this is only the beginning and that we should prepare for all these events to become our normality. Maybe work from home and virtual activities will become a big part of our new ultra-modern reality.
We should just try not to lose ourselves on the way.   

We did make it to our flight to Ghana the next day and we had clear skies 80% of the way, some of the clearest I’ve seen. As an eternal optimist, I feel that in the end, things will turn out alright and humankind will heal… after re-learning some of the basic human values: not to lie, not to cheat, not to harm…
Clear skies at our take-off from Italy


P.S. ‘Nearly everyone wants to do good for himself and for others, yet in their blindness many forge evil.’ (Joseph J. Weed – ‘Wisdom of the Mystic Masters’) 

P.S. 2. What’s the worst-case scenario?
What do we actually fear most?
Death?
Then, we’ve clearly not lived enough.

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