From Catalonia to Turin
We started the week early in the morning because we had a long trip ahead of us. At quarter past nine we met at a café in the Catalan Village.It was a nice day everyone was happy. We travelled through the valleys and mountains across south-eastern France till we reached Grenoble, the gate of the Alps. There our friend Bruno was waiting for us. Some of us took a walk around Grenoble. But soon we continued our trip together. High mountains and green valleys accompanied us and we hardly realized we had come through the longest tunnel, the Frejùs tunnel. At the end of its 13 km stretch we were in a new country.
We would no longer say “Bon jour” but had to start saying “Buona sera”. Now the road was downhill and everything was written in Italian. The exit was correct and all the signs seemed right but we couldn’t read them
properly so we took a left turn instead of a right turn. In the end the GPS, speaking French, helped us to find the
right way. Finally we reached the sign with the clearly written name “Le Betulle”, our destina-tion. Since it had
gotten late they were waiting for us at the dinner table. Of course, we were in Italy now and just had to have pasta. It was raining softly. We started to introduce ourselves and got to know each other through conversation, as Enrico said, in a cordial Castilian-Catalan-Italian which was amusing but we made ourselves understood
perfectly. After dinner some of us occupied the bungalows while others put up tents. We all wanted to relax.
The next day they were already anxious to get on the road and drove the car to a lake. I rested assured that they would tell us about their experience. The others made friends with the Italians and in the afternoon took a walk to the town which was charming with its San Lorenzo Parish and an ice cream parlor that everyone loved. Now it was Wednesday and time for the big competition.
We Catalonians could not wait to start playing. The Italians were well equipped and the game of bowls was a fight between brothers. It would be right to say that the result was what we expected: those who play at home
obviously are the ones who win, but a few partial triumphs salvaged the honor of the visitors. After that was the award ceremony that opened the most important event of our trip and our meeting…something we had been waiting for so long. Thirty years is a long time, but since things were always done right it did not really seem like a long time. And at the place where the two pioneers, Tom Operti and Oriol Avila, made a pact, today new
followers are signing that pact again amidst impassioned words and the exchange of gifts. The pact was being
made not only in our name but on behalf of all the people who have belonged to the two clubs in the past. Nonetheless, you really had to be there to enjoy the clear and impassioned view of someone who had experienced a singular moment among true brothers and sisters, children of the Sun and Nature, who share the same ideals.","Then came the magnificent food offered by our hosts. The party continued on into the night with a special dinner and the participation of many people. Right after that the music started, thanks to Luisa, a great disc-jockey. Some people danced a lot, others just a bit. We kept on dancing without stopping. The dancing
made us perspire and that was a reason for some of us to have a shared shower before going to bed. Thursday we went to visit Turin, a great city that we visited in good company. Gianfranco drove us to the bus stop and left us in the hands of the three Virtues: the Enchantment of Rosita, the Knowledge of Luca and the Enthusiasm of Skizzo.
All three of them allowed us to spend an unforgettable day in a city full of porticoes; 80,000 km long altogether, said the driver of the tourist bus that drove us all around the city. We started our tour on foot with a cappuccino taken at a historical café – and a story about an episode that happened there – very near the headquarters of the Italian Federation of Naturism. Later we would see the building of the first headquarters of the Italian Broadcasting Company, RAI. Now we broke up into two groups. Some
of us went with Luca and Skizzo to visit the surroundings of the Royal Palace (needless to say Turin used to be the capital of Italy) and the others went with Rosita to the Egyptian Museum – we pointed out to them that it was one of the largest collections in the world – then we met up again for lunch a little later.
To give you an idea: we sat on the square with porticoes and a monument of a military man, in an outdoor café with sun umbrellas and tables for four with pizzas, beers. Live music on the street kept us company. For dessert meal we had Italian ice creams and coffee, a total joy for our senses. After lunch we went to
see the Mole Antonelliana, a slender building that was built as a synagogue but which today is the tourist symbol of the city. It is 167 m high and shaped like a bell. It houses the National Cinema Museum (Mueso Nazionale del Cinema) which is very interesting and extensive. Inside the dome is the panoramic elevator with only a few steel cables to hold it up and move it. It lifted us to a height of over 100 m and from there we could see the whole city.
Friday came and we went on another excursion. This time we went to the Mandria Regional Park (Parco Regionale La Mandria) which has 6540 hectares and owes most of its splendor to King Victor Emmanuel II, called the Hunter. We took a guided tour of the royal apartments that this monarch occupied with his lover and their guests. Here we had lunch in one of the courtyards of the palace, equipped with rustic tables under the shade of trees. Later the more enthusiastic members of our group, under the guidance of Skizzo,
rented bicycles to ride through the park. In the evening we headed back to the campsite and stopped on the way at a mall to buy some typical Italian products.
When we arrived at the campsite we had an appointment with our friends Angela and Andrea. They prepared a reception for us. A group of people from the two clubs had come together to enjoy excellent dishes, cocktails such as Bellini di Venezia, prosecco with peach pulp. There was so an abundance of
food that we had a lot of work to make it into a dinner. That night words we started our words of farewell and planned our new shared goals. We ended our farewells the next morning with hugs and handshakes.
Our friendship is constantly held in our memories and will live on in our hearts along with the steadfast promise to meet again.
The next time at our house, they will be the guests and we want to match their level of hospitality.
One thing is sure: we don’t want to wait for another 30 years to pass by before we meet again.
Quim Plana, another brother.