If 1 million has 6 zero’s, 1 Billion has 9, 1 Trillion has 12, 1 Gazillion would have 15
how many zero’s would be there in 1 Brazilian ?
Read on and find out…….
I got up late, infact Sunny had to (literally) break open the door of my room to bring me back from my comatose existence - I had been so tired that it was literally like coming back from the dead. It was 9:30 AM already and we had miles to go. I remembered that I had woken up around 8 AM but had dozed off again and this was probably the best sleep I was having.
Today’s menu of destinations had quite a few choices, and we had to be careful in making a pick. I was still in a daze, still had tunnel vision and with this, I stumbled out of the bed to step outside the room.
I suddenly had a feeling of wind being sucked out of my lungs and literally fell down as in front of me was a sight to behold, I suddenly remembered I was in Castelluccio, a village first settled by the Romans in the 13 century BC.
In front of me, is was a vast valley, stretched as far as the eye could see and the valley was full of flowers – gazillions of them – under a clear blue sky.
It was as if angels had descended in the night and spread the brightest lavender, yellow, red, blue and white flowers in a mesmerizing pattern. If there is such a thing as heaven, then, this is it – this is really it since in our wildest dreams, I cannot imagine heaven to be any different. You might be thinking that I am going overboard, but folks, I am not kidding and am absolutely serious.
I could not think anymore about anything else and rushed to get ready. In precisely 30 minutes I was packed and ready to get out to go. We mounted our bikes and rode the short distance to the Castelluccio Taverna to have our breakfast for which we were late already. It was the best breakfast of all the trip yet and i will remember it for a long time. We sat outside looking at the spectacular scenery and eating and discussing.
We spoke with Barbara, the jovial, polite young Brazilian lady at the Taverna and she showed us the way to go to the valley where we wanted to spend time taking pictures.
She explained to us that the fields below were infact a mix of wild flowers and flowers from Lentils that are grown and harvested in the valley, the valley is an ancient dried up lake bed. This amazing mix was a blessing from nature and the countless flowers we saw below are a protected area to be tread upon carefully and included a fine if the police caught one walking on (in) it.
I finally deduced that the tasty lentil dish (similar to the black dal we have in India) we had had for dinner while watching the second semifinal the previous night was also the local produce and this village.
We mounted the Ducati’s and rode straight away to the fields and indulged ourself in every possible shot that we could think of.
We did not realize that the time was now 1:30 PM and we still had a lot of riding to do. We had taken the pick from the Lonely Planet for highly recommend, Pescocostanzo, a hidden gem in the Abruzzo region of Italy – far away from the tourist trail and we headed for it.
Sunny’s GPS was of course our chosen guide for this. We were not sure if we will be able to complete 250 odd Kilometers of mountain riding having started so late so we refrained from booking a hotel in advance.
The GPS took us through some great mountain scenery and we completely avoided the autostrada though we still had to go via some state highways which are equally good as the autostrada in terms of the available speed. The highway led us to la’ Aquila.
This place had had an earthquake last year and most of the city was under repair or construction. We slowed down and reached a street where the signs of the devastation were still visible. A house had the entire front wall torn away and we could still see stuff lying around in the rooms and the toilet was as if someone still uses it! – This, after 1 year of the quake!!!!!!
Most houses had broken walls and had reinforcements to stop further damage. A lot of buildings were covered from the front, a sure sign that they were being worked upon and resurrected.
We had prayer in our heart and we slowly moved out of la’ Aquila. We reached a regular Italian town called Sulmona. By now it was 5:30 PM and we had not eaten anything since breakfast. In addition, I was very conscious of the time since I wanted to wish Kavita,my wife a happy birthday precisely at 8:30 PM – which is midnight in India. I wanted to finish the ride and reach the destination by then.
Sunny was extremely hungry and his GPS was taking us around in a wild goose chase looking for a restaurant the GPS said was there but was not there. We must have taken some rounds of the town and tempers were beginning to flare. Finally we decided to move on and look on the way. The reason we were running late was also because I had taken atleast one hour at a fuel stop to browse the net using Sunny’s phone to order flower deliveries for Kavita.
Sunny had put a way point on the GPS to a place called Scano. Scano is a town up in the mountains and along the way there are many lakes all beautiful. We stopped at one of the most picturesque one and took shots and videos.
This particular lake had ducks and had an old bridge leading to some sort of a monastery. We took the bikes on this bridge and took some more pictures. The GPS took us all the way to Scano and then to our destination. While riding on, we realized that we had “definitely” seen this part! It turned out that the loop for Scano was not exactly a waypoint but a 20 kilometer loop which had brought us back all the way!!!
We soon arrived in a small village called Costanza. Here Sunny found the only restaurant in the courtyard opposite the church. There were an Australian family staying there and they were a big help in translating to the lady who owned the place that we wanted extra spicy pasta (Sunny) and Pizza (Me). It was already 8 PM and I set the alarm in my phone for 8:30. The Pizza arrived and it was the biggest spicy pizza that I have seen. While I ate, the alarm sounded and I called Kavita at the precisely midnight IST to wish her.
While we ate, Sunny was offered a room at the same place but, first it was too expensive, had no ventilation and was not our destination. We were determined to reach Pescocostanzo and it was still 2o odd Kilometers away. We set off and covered the Km’s in a jiffy. We arrived at a a sharp turn right towards Pescocostanzo and found that the road suddenly deteriorated. Actually there was no road left, only gravel with large rocks interspersed. Sunny told me to be careful on the Scala and I braked hard. The next 4 kilometers was a steep ascent and a battle with this gravel.
A building appeared but it seemed to be deserted. I was wondering where we had come and whether it was worth it. Sunny went further and asked me to follow as he found more signs of habitation. I followed and as we moved ahead, the habitation grew and we started looking for a hotel.
The first one we found was a B&B which had apparently no way to get in. The second one was full!! We moved on and were amazed.. It was another ancient Italian Village straight from Asterix!! Cobbled roads, beautiful buildings…
Soon we found Hotel San Franceso, a very beautiful boutique hotel in one of these streets and the owner offered a room to us. The hotel was really nice and cozy and the room was loaded with high quality teak woodwork. The beds were comfortable and Internet was good. We dumped our stuff and roamed the streets taking pictures.
At about mid-night, we returned to the room and worked on uploading the Day 4 blog, checking mails and completing a lot of pending work. We finally slept at 3 AM when we could not keep our eyes open any longer.