This Coronavirus and its consequent lockdown projects me back to my grandfather’s tales about the second world war. His tragic mission in Russia and most of his fellow soldiers who never came back. I could see his desperation and fear screaming in the darkness of a nonsense war. The strength of surviving was the tone-setting every time. He was passionate and rich in detail. Very impressive for an old man, especially after over 50 years from the facts. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to experience that through his tales. Thank you, Nonno. Very much.
The stories of their lives in Calabria after the war living in desperate poverty were a real picture of a difficult time everywhere, particularly in the south of Italy. They were 4, my grandparents, my dad, and my uncle running a very simple farm in the middle of the countryside with some goats and pigs. To go to school, my father and my uncle had to walk seven kilometers one way to catch a train to Reggio Calabria. Same story back. Every day, all year round! This would be unreal now. Yet somehow through this difficult time, they managed to go on pretty well. They moved to Milan and started a new chapter. The rest is history.
Of course, comparing these times to nowadays may sound jarring, as we have no bombs over our heads and we don’t live in poverty anymore. Let’s be honest, today most of us fight the invisible enemy while sitting on the couch, watching Netflix, cooking healthy food, reading books. Sure, we are all locked in while many others are deeply suffering out there. The only way not to feel guilty is to be responsible. Respect the rules and the others. Stay at home. Damm simple to say it, very challenging to do it, especially if you are an outdoor enthusiast like us.
Nowadays Italy is a wealthy country, the 3rd largest national economy in the European Union, the 8th in the world. This thanks to the strong manufacturing industry, the agriculture, the fashion&design, and the tourism industry. The “made in Italy” is a brand, stronger than ever. That's for sure.
All this talk to say that today I have feelings in common with my grandfather. We all have, not only me. The fear of the future, the feeling of emptiness and the reasons behind all that is scaring, yes. The world seems to be lost. However, as happened to my grandfather, there will be a new beginning and we have to focus on that. The future is bright!
Sure, the tourism business got hit by this whole thing like a tsunami. Boom! Destroyed. Of course, we are drowning too. It goes without saying that you can’t control what you can’t control, even without mistakes everything can collapse. No matter how much effort you put, or if you were good or bad. Someone calls it destiny, I call it incident; the mystery of life. Now, the greatest virtue lies in knowing how to wait. In other words: enjoy the present.
We are still here now and very much alive. There’s no need to complain. Let’s climb this mountain together.
Like everybody else, our routine has slightly changed. We both work from home, so this was not a big change. Up until a couple of weeks ago, we could walk outside, officially we still could as we live in a remote area surrounded by the woods. Well, we kind of decided to live this way before Coronavirus arrived. Isolated, away from the crowd, immersed in nature. This was for a reason. Since we started our Tour Operator in Umbria our goal has always been to connect people from all over the world to our traditions and territory, our history and culture. This through our bike tours, food and wine experiences and hiking tours. It might sound obvious if we talk about traveling, but it's not an easy process to turn it into an authentic "local experience". That's why we invest so much in selecting the right partners, all small family-owned businesses.
Now more than ever we realize how awesome is to share all this with the others, and it's so cool to connect us all together as human beings. No matter where you from. The laughs, fun and jokes, the wine and the incredible food we share with people is a real passion for us, not just a job. This is priceless, therefore without people, we pretty much don't exist. Food for thoughts.
What we really miss most is physical contact with the others, friends, and family particularly. Again, it’s a matter of time and this will be over too.
So, during this quarantine time and as authentic Italians we dedicate ourselves to cooking as well, and of course, Pizza is our weakness. So we might publish some food blog posts from now. Buon appetito!
Stay safe and respect the rules!