I was in Calcio only a couple of weeks earlier and had experienced the best part of my whole adventure. Throughout the past six weeks I had met lots of people, cycled over 1500 miles and had gotten myself lost on many occasions. I had slept in a wood full of nettles, muddy fields, a car wash, a railway platform, a roundabout, on several benches and a picnic table. I had cycled through sun, wind and rain. I experienced only warm generosity from the people I met and had not been hassled, robbed or discovered an axe murderer in the woods. I had learnt some valuable and life changing lessons. Although budgeting is important I learnt money and possessions aren’t! Life is about experiences and not the latest gadget or a flashy car. I was a little surprised to discover more about myself and what I want out of my life. I also discovered you can make yourself comfortable almost anywhere.

MudI cycled slowly along Calcio’s main street a road which is the heart of a community, passing the huge church at which I arrived at only 2 weeks previous at the start of the fiesta of the white knight. I was too early to meet up with Davide and Daniela so cycled around the town. I came across the cemetery an immaculately kept place with headstones of all styles, all of them had photographs of the deceased. What a poignant way of remembering. I stopped at Casa de Gelate and went in for 2 scoops of delicious ice cream. The Galeteria was busy with families having what seemed like their compulsory after school ice cream. I sat on a stool outside and enjoyed my Armerena and Stactacella and the atmosphere, it was a warm sunny evening in Calcio.

13-September-2014-(5)Almost opposite the ice cream parlour was a small door with beads hanging down and above the door a picture of some scissors, I decided to wander across and get a haircut and a shave. The barber’s shop was very narrow almost as if it used to be someones hallway, perhaps it still was. I sat and waited on the homemade red leather couch whilst the female barber finished styling a young italians hair. This was serious business as the young man obviously wanted to look his best, not a hair out-of-place and exactly the correct quantity of hair cream. An older woman arrived said hello to me, in Italian of course, she took off her cardigan grabbed the brush which was propped up against the wall and started to sweep the hairs off the floor. After sweeping she continued to adjust things around the barber’s shop, straightening mirrors and chatting with the female barber and her young customer. I could only assume she was the young ladies mother.

13-September-2014-(7)This narrow barbers shop was very old-fashioned with a small red leather sofa against the wall opposite another homemade bench which had been varnished to give it an antique look, there were several mirrors on the wall on both sides of the hall giving the impression the room was wider than it actually was. In front of me was a Blues Brothers movie poster. Once the young Italian man was immaculately presented, I was directed to the first chair in a row of three. The older woman immediately started sweeping the hair off the floor from where the young man had sat.

I joked that I would like to leave as handsome and young as her last client but settled for not looking like a hobo. I chatted with my hairdresser as if we were life long friends but she didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Italian however we managed perfectly. She knew the Belotti family and even knew who I was such a wonderful community spirit. I left the barbers in Calcio feeling transformed. Next to the ice cream parlour was a small coffee shop so I grabbed a coffee before using their facilities to clean my teeth, I then headed to the Belotti household.

14-September-2014-(4)I cycled into the street were Davide, Daniela and Matteo lived. Matteo was outside on his skateboard and Daniela was with a friend who had recently moved house and was borrowing a vacuum cleaner. Matteo ran to greet me, I handed him the keys to the bike lock and told him the bike was now his. We put the bike in the garage and Matteo sat on the seat, the bike was a little too big but Davide could use it until Matteo was tall enough. I chatted with Daniela and went into Davide’s office we greeted each other but he was still working so I followed Matteo, he was getting his RC Car. We went outside and I sat watching Matteo, I had an idea to attach the GoPro to the RC Car and film some POV stunts.

Davide suggested we go out for a drink after dinner which seemed like a tradition. Calcio was a friendly community and everyone seemed to know everyone. Dinner consisted of delicious Italian pasta followed by chicken, pancetta, cheese all washed down with preseco, delicious. We went to the bar which was the same one I had the BBQ at the fiesta of the white knight, it looked completely different inside and was busy. We enjoyed a couple of beers from two different breweries, Martin and Brooklyn the Brooklyn tasted the best but both were good and refreshing. On the way home we called into the ice cream parlour I had frequented earlier for a chat and to pick out some profiteroles. Once back at the house we visited a neighbour to get my camp bed, then watched some TV. The Belotti family were amazing as Davide turned an English channel on although we did watch formula 1 for electric racing cars in Italian. That night I slept like a log.


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About John Holt

John Holt has worked in the travel industry for over 14 years and comes highly recommended by Trip Advisor for his practical and candid talks on travel destinations. Spending 18 months as a "Local Interest Specialist" for a leading tour operator John has become known as having more practical information than Google.

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