It’s spring and time to bike

The days get longer, also the km the hours on the bike get longer.

Yesterday we biked around lake Orta, we saw new Leaves on the trees, primroses and violets colouring the meadows, flowering magnolias, mimosas and the first butterflies.

A show of nature.

Today another a nice bike ride, climbing up Trontano and then Montecrestese, to Ossola.

Enjoyed an ice cream in the beautiful square of the Domodossola historic center.

we returned along Lake Mergozzo and then Lake Maggiore.

It was an hot day, perhaps too much, but Tuesday spring arrives and next weekend there will be an extrahour.

Milena of mi&ti


Donation and kick off

The 29th of July we personally delivered a 2000€ check to Andrea Vigna di UILDM, from the Omegna section and the 24th of July we handed 1825€ to Don Fabrizio Fè in support of the volunteer Group of the church of Trobaso, as a contribution towards travelling expenses in regard of the trip to Gornja. Further 2500€ have reached the foundation “Il Giardino delle Rose Blu” in Gornja. We will send out 600 postcards for our donors in 2016 from Gornja Bistra – Croatia.

Our yearly trip will take place between 9th – 22nd August, we will hire a camper and will be riding his bike for the most part of the journey Verbania – Gornja for aobut 800km while I will be riding my bike for smaller segments, according to my body’s response following the incident of the 3rd July in which I broke my pelvis. Tiziano and I will be taking turns to drive the camper. Don Ermanno will welcome us in Gornja and honor us by engraving “mi&ti” and our names on the walls of his structure (which is being completed as we speak), and will eventually host volunteer groups. Combining this year and last year’s donation, mi&ti contributed with 4500€.

Milena di mi&timi&ti,-Enrico-Tedeschi-e-Andrea-Vigna_consegna-assegno-UILDM

Camper and bikes

We arrive in Mostar August the 18th, after a lot of up and down among open landscapes, mowed lawns and hawks, magpies and crows to accompany us from above. We park our bikes and take a couple hours stroll in the old city’s  cobblestoned narrow streets. We pass by colorful shop fronts, mosques with their characteristic incense scent and eventually reach the rebuild bridge that got destroyed during the War. Don’t forget!  Hundreds of tourists, chattering in different languages, magic.
There is plenty of wrecked buildings left there as constant reminder of the horror of the war.
We go back to our camper and head to Međugorje.
We discover a tiny city with a Church packed with believers and hear the microphones pronuncing the rosary in Serbian and in Italian and so forth for all languages. We visit the city on our bikes. Lots of souvenir shops with religious items, rosary necklaces, sacred pictures and statues of the Virgin Mary.
Come evening time, we find a spot in a camping.

August the 19th we are off to Dubrovnik, passing through mountains and villages.
Capljina, Svitava, Hutovo, Gradac, up and down among orchards, and fields with various crops, pepper, tomato, melon. We coast a swampy lake up to Svitava and find a great deal of garbage bags lying around. Over the course of the past few days I did notice a number of open dumpsters, which seemed to provide employment for a lot of locals, who were busy moving the litter with pitchorks and masks. We continue towards the sea in Neum and shortly after we reach Dubrovnik. Beautiful deep blue water, clear as crystal, with vertical cliffs, gulfs and islands. Once in Dubrovnik we jump on our bikes again to visit the old part of town within its fortified walls. It is a wonderful sight with its marble facades and both narrow and wide streets leading to numerous squares, mosques and monuments.
Just like Sarajevo and Mostar, Dubrovnik withstood a long siege during the war.
About 4 hours later, we make it back to our camper only to discover that we have been charger 20€ as a parking fee. Not too bad!
We proceed towards Sibenik, which Tiziano reaches cycling. We have been here before in 2004 with our friend Enzo, left from Verbania. A trip down memory lane!
Our trip continues to the islands, Pag, Creta, Krk, and back to the mainland in Kraljevic, followed by Rijeka. Right before reaching Rijeka, we meet up with our pals Gigi and his wife Lucia for a meal, since they are spending their holidays in Crikvenica with friends.

August the 20th we mail out the last 200 postcards in Stari Grad, where we have to convince the post office employee that we are really after 200 stamps. The communication is rather difficult since he doesn’t speak any English, but eventually we succeed. Tiziano ride the last 100km up to Senj, where again with Enzo had a wonderful fish feast. The sea front is really beautiful and crowded with cyclist enjoying a ride in the sun with their loaded bags. I can’t help myself and shed a tear of frustration, I wish I could be there too!
The irregular shape of the coast is a whole up and down and in and out of curvs, lagoons and gulfs. So incredibly beautiful! 

August the 21st we pass Materija and are back in Italy. We continue to Treviso, a quick ride through tidy and cozy city, just enough time time to visit its majestic square. Once in Bassano del Grappa we take the opportunity to meet up with an old classmate of Tiziano’s, Leopoldo Ceccon. We arrive there under the blackest sky and in the middle of a thunderstorm. We grab a quick pizza and by 10pm we are verso San Vigilio, where we actually get to meet Enzo and sleep a few hours outside his cafè.

The following day, August the 22nd, it’s the last day of our journey and it begins with breakfast with Enzo. We hugh each other goodbye and are ready to return the camper.

It was not the journey I wanted it to be but it was interesting anyway.
We visited the hospital, the school, have seen places and managed to gather a total donation of 6.250€ worth of postcards .

3.876km covered with the camper, a bunch of km on bycicle, met new friends and tried to bring relief to those suffering.

The hospital “Il Giardino delle Rose Blu”, was once known as the Castle of Horrors… luckily today thanks to the tireless work of don Ermanno and his volunteers it breaths new air, new colors, smiles and love for those less fortunate kids. Thousands of people give away for absolute free a great deal of their time there every year, all in the name of solidarity.

On our side, we are already planning our next trip. A personal thank you to our generous contributors of this 2016’s project where we attempted to donate a smile just as we want to keep doing. This is all possible also because of you all!

Milena di mi&ti


Tour 2016, departure postponed!

Here we are after months of meticolous preparations,  tracing itinerary and stops, looking for sponsor to support our charity projects, new postcard, presentation pamphlet, planning a few presentation events and doing everything in our power to consider each possible detail, with the ambition of exceeding 4000€ total donations from 2015 and 600 postcards sent out from Australia.

Mission partly accomplished in 2016: up to August, the 5th we reached 6325€ but still haven’t managed to exceed 600 postcards mailed out. We are indeed happy with our results and wish to take the chance to thank everyone between sponsors, friends, relatives, colleagues and every person who bought a postcard and helped us shipping them. Thanks to your effort, we managed to break our donation record from last year.
We aim to do more though, to keep giving away smiles.

Tiziano, are we ready? It’s June the 30th and we are almost good to go. Let’s put a few more kilometers under our belts before we take off.

July the 23rd, we will be off to a  3500km journey from Verbania, through Lubiana, Gornja Bistra, Zagabria, Belgrado, Sarajevo, up to Dubrovnik, then Medugorje, Rijeka, Gorizia, Trento and back to Verbania, with our bikes loaded with emotions to share on the road while pushing on the pedals.

Alright! It’s the 3rd of July and looks like any other sunday spent out on the bike. We decide to take on our tandem, fill our water bottles, blue sky and about 150/170km ahead of us, with laughter, ice cream and a lot to juggle in our minds.

15km in and the lights go off damn, this hurts! I find myself on the ground, a car breaks right on a pedestrian crossing and we end up right against it. I can’t move and it hurts so bad. Damn, it really hurts! Ambulance, smashed bike, but at least Tiziano is fine! With tears in my eyes, my first thought is “it’s just a bruise!”. Hospital, x-rays and the doctor at 15.00 steps into the room and says: “I am sorry, but we do have a broken pelvis and a 30 days ahead of complete rest. Do not use the legs for any heavy activity, we will check back later on.

No! No! No! I am sobbing like a little girl, can’t contain the tears, I am angry.

I am laying on my bed. My body lays still, motionless and my daughter Valentina is taking care of me in a strange exchange of roles.

“Mamma be careful! Mamma call me or text me at least! Wear your helmet!” And I get back: “Ok, ok, ok! Valentina, chill out!”
I share with my family my decision to leave right after the orthopedic check-in at the hospital.

Everybody rest assure, we will be riding our bikes only for a quarter of the total trip, but I do want to reach Gornja Bistra on my own legs!

Needless to tell about their reaction.

I am leaving! How? Well mostly it’s a matter of heart, then it’s all about the 800 postcards we must mail out once in Gornja Bistra and then I can always spend a couple days at “Il Giardino delle Rose Blu” hospital. How, you ask? We are evaluating he situation.

After a forceful rest lasted for 30 long days, the fracture literally just fixed, it’s kind of hard to consider covering long distances on the bike.

Alternatives: Electric bikeCamper + bikes in turns,Tiziano?

Let’s take at the right time, leaving date August the 9th… we’ll see how it goes!
We will keep you posted!

Milena, di mi&ti