The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Month September 2018

Northern Italy

My company has sent me on a business trip to Milano. While I haven’t taken any time off for traveling like I did last time I came here for business, I’ve spent what little free time I have exploring as much as I can of northern Italy.

Milano

Last time I was in Milano I crossed the main tourist spots off the list. This time I was here with a different colleague so I ended up revisiting a few of them, and adding a few others.

The Milan cathedral, or Duomo as it is known in Italian, is of course … Read the rest

Grotta Cascata Varone, 10:37 am

The gorge is like a deep fissure in the ground, carved by the water over thousands of years. The walls are uneven, shaped by the flow of the water, with patches of moss growing here and there. In front of me is the waterfall, a stream of white water that comes crashing down into the creak below, throwing spray high into the air and filling the cave with mist that makes it nearly impossible to take a photo. I let my gaze follow the walls upwards to the small hole high above where the stream flows into the cavern. As the water tumbles over the edge it breaks into little droplets, forming clouds that billow in the air like smoke in time with the rush of air and whoosh of the water as it comes down.

Expressway No. 61, 5:59 pm

It's not a proper thunder shower yet, but the rain is still pretty heavy, big drops pelting me as I go along. Speed always amplifies the force of the drops, normally it starts to feel painful when you go above 60 kph and now I'm already doing a little over 90; every single drop hitting my chest or legs stings like a bullet from a BB gun - it's like riding through a barrage of machine gun fire. As if the pain wasn't enough, the thin rain jacket is woefully inadequate, I can feel myself becoming wetter with every second. For whatever reason - maybe it's because I've recently been reading a Finnish World War 2 novel -  I react to the deep feeling of misery by repeatedly swearing in Finnish: Saatana Perkele, Saatana Perkele

Tracing the river

A couple of weeks ago I was in a camping gear store looking for something when a man came up to me and asked something. I couldn’t really give him a proper answer but we started chatting and soon enough he had invited me to go river tracing. I’ve been interested in going for a while, but I’ve just never taken the time to arrange a tour, so when the opportunity came up like that, I happily agreed to join.

At first my wife was planning to join as well but she had some work to do so in the … Read the rest

Shuiyun Falls 11:20 am

The two fishermen on the beach warn us that the current is strong but I ignore them and follow my friend as he steps into the water. A few steps out the river bed drops away abruptly and I sink down to my chest, my watertight backpack floating up behind me like a cork. The water is cold and I can feel the current tugging at my body, wanting to pull me away and send me down stream. A feeling of trepidation flashes through my mind for a brief moment but disappears when I see my friend fearlessly continue forward, so I push on with determination. As we round the slight bend in the river I look up to the right where a smaller side stream comes cascading down the cliffs to join ours. Further along the little creak, the water flows over the edge of the high, jungle clad cliffs and comes crashing down into a small pool, sending spray high into the air. This place is imbued with a combined sense of danger and beauty and here and now, at this very moment, that is all I need.

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