486.The Man in Blue – San Bonifacio (Verona) – Montecchia di Crosara (Verona) – Sint-Truiden (Limburg)

I came back to San Bonifacio from Pegognaga on Sunday evening 31 July and was booked to leave by train from Verona to Sint-Truiden on the evening of 5 August.

I stayed three nights in the Gurdwara, the second night disturbed by the heat, the mosquitoes and the 3 am arrival of the 10 young men strong Jatha of Duisburg (Germany) based Bhai Ranjit Singh. The third night I slept even less as there was a short-circuit in the system and the fuses kept tripping : no electricity, no fan !

The rooms in the front part of the Gurdwara are underneath a flat roof on which the hot summer sun shines all day, so you can imagine that nights without the cooling effect of a fan are tough. Opening the windows more mosquitoes enter, and these got to my feet and arms even when the fan was on.

So on Wednesday I made an emergency phone call to Montecchia and asked Harpal Singh and Gurminder Kaur if I could come back to their apartment for the last two nights. Gurminder Kaur told me that their house was my house.

On Thursday I went to the Gurdwara from early afternoon to early evening and on Friday I stayed in Montecchia till 4 pm. Bhai Manjit Singh came to visit us and we returned him home before I went for my last visit to the San Bonifacio Gurdwara.

It was good to see Bhai Manjit Singh before going back to Belgium, as it was on his invitation that I came to Italy in the first place. It was also good to say goodbye to many of the friends I made in the gurdwara since arriving on the 18th of July.

Another resident of the Piazza Umberto in Montecchia together with my tabla playing friend brought me to the station.

The train from Venezia to Paris Bercy arrived 25 minutes late in Verona and 2 hours late in Paris. I missed my connection but the Thalys staff at the Gare du Nord booked me on a train to Brussel that had spare seats. I arrived in Sint-Truiden at 15.43, three hour later than expected.

On the way out I shared the Paris – Verona ‘train-a-couchettes’ with a French couple, two Korean girls (or Japanese or Chinese ?) and an Italian girl.

On the return the ‘crew’ was made up of a young Italian woman who was going to walk from the French side of the Roncesvalles pass to Santiago de Compostella, one older Italian woman who was going to cycle in Bretagne (Brittany), one French men of African descent who also spoke Italian and an Italian father and son from Alto Adige/Südtirol. Südtirol is an autonomous German speaking part of Italy between Bolzano (Bozen) and the Brenner Pass.

This just goes to show how interesting it is to travel slowly, in spite of the minor delays ! In my next column, which will be less of a travel log, I will look back on my Italian experiences from the Sikh point of view.