“No…” I answered, after a brief thought.
“Mm… Good, now we do.”
“So, what are we doing?” I asked with my eyes glittering with enthusiasm.
Saturday came. The only thing I knew when the alarm got off at 7.30 AM was that we were going to travel north for about two hours. As I got dressed, a thought crossed my mind, so I gave him a call to share my idea with him. “Two hours is a long time, we will probably travel longer than 20 miles, so why don’t we take the chance to do one more thing from the list?” “Fine! Charge your IPod; I’ll be there in 20!” I enjoy a lot when he says yes to my proposals, usually pretty unusual. However, it was only about singing, after all. I asked myself if for once I would have been able to sing with a volume loud enough to get heard, at least from him, sitting next to me. So I prepared the necessary: IPod, reflex, backpack. So that I was ready when he got there, so I reached him filled with enthusiasm and, most of all, curiosity. Since I did not want to annoy him with many questions on where we were going, I started focusing on songs, and between laughs and many false notes, we made it: Singing in your car for at least 20 miles, about 40 kilometres. Obviously, everything was to be documented on our usual videos, and I asked myself if I would have found the wits to get it published on YouTube… Maybe, without hearing, I could. I would have mounted it on mute, and then published it without ever hearing it.
I drove the whole way, because he did forget his licence at home, so I forced myself on not trying to guess the destination. I did not actually have to force me a lot, because when I was already sure we were going to Arezzo, even if I had no idea on the reason, the GPS navigation system told me to deviate to a little village next to that city: Piergine Valdarno.
I felt disoriented; I wondered why we were there, and which the surprise was. The answer would have come a few minutes later, when I saw a big banner on a wall saying: “Toscana Quad” and he told me to enter through that gate. I could not believe it; I opened my eyes wide and my face enlightened: it was years that I wished to ride a Quad!
The only thing that worried me was that the weather was freezing, and I, having no idea on what we were going to do, was dressed for an average temperature… also I was wearing my favourite coat, pretty elegant. I did not dishearten myself, though, and smiled when the person welcoming us looked to us a little astonished, noticing our apparel, too casual for that experience. After a few cordialities, though, we were talking to each other as long course friends. His name was Alberico and he told us that his job, which he loved, was a full-time whole-year job. A fun and easy-going Tuscan, around his 30. Easily explained us Quad basics and riding techniques, He also lent us gloves, and I will never stop thanking him for that, because that saved our fingers from freezing (almost literally).
To make me this kind of surprise, Nunzio decided to use one of his Christmas’ gifts, a Smart-box, which only included one quad for both of us. I was glad of that, in fact, the grey sky seemed to be promising rain, and I would have gladly avoided bogging down in mud, therefore I gladly dropped any responsibility on him, who was really happy of me doing that. After all the gift was for him, I would have never denied him the whole experience.
Therefore, we left, Alberico on front and us following.
really enjoyed riding the Quad, I closed my eyes and I imagined being a passenger on his Harley-Davidson… Even if, you know, I would like to have my own Harley. However, at that moment, hugging on to him while the cold wind lashed our faces, I felt safe, and free.
Troubles came when we got off-road, to hit the true quad trails. Still today, I ask myself how he could manage to suffer me, and not throwing me down blaming ditches or bumps. I was an ongoing of “Go slow, stop, easy, don’t turn that way, slow down…” I was panicking, I felt like we were going to roll over any second, while he was smiling and, unlike me, enjoying those paths and sensations, pretty adrenalinic. In a few occasions I had a hard time, in one of these, even Alberico got stuck… So I thought, “If even he got stuck, how can we even think to get by, rookies as we are?” Luckily, Nunzio was driving, whom, without panicking, followed carefully Alberico directions, and we managed to pass unharmed… unlike our clothes and boots, full of mud and grass marks, sign of the roads we just conquered.
Hitches too, though, made it a wonderful experience… what makes beautiful and unforgettable every adventure: the thrill of the unknown, the danger sensation, adrenaline, the pure enjoyment when everything is done and the fact that everything went good: emotions true and alive.
We made it back to camp dirty and satisfied, and Alberico recommended us a restaurant where we could had lunch and rest: “L’Osteria dei Vignaroli”. He also described us the menu: typical Tuscan entry, pappardelle al cinghiale (pasta with hog cream), Tuscan dessert, all accompanied with Chianti wine. Nunzio and I looked at each other, and our glances told all who looked at us that, after such a menu, the answer could not be different from yes. Smiling, maybe because he seen it coming, Alberico showed us the way to the restaurant, where he too stopped to eat with other people he knew. We had a great lunch, also trying fegatini ragù (liver and tomato sauce); us who never managed to bear liver’s taste, which, on the contrary, we surprisingly found incredibly delighting, spread on those slices of roasted bread…
We left reluctantly, cherishing the memory of an amazing experience.