monday 3 september, we planned to leave early and got up on time, but the rain (that had been falling already for 3 days) was strong. We decided to delay our departure and got invited to join the lunch with the Valli Unite family :D. After lunch, with a grey, but dry, sky, everyone on the farm warmly waved us goodbye and we had a fresh afternoon cycling to Castel San Giovanni where we camped on a field with a small shed that ended up being our kitchen and dinner room when the rain started again.
tuesday 4 september, after another rainy night, and with our wet tents packed up, we left the field just before it started raining again and had a depressing cycling day in a very industrial area, following big roads, full of trucks and under an extremely grey sky, the mood got better when Ben and Camille found a great camping spot under a house near the Po river where we could cook and sleep protected from the heavy storm.
wednesday 5 september, most of the day we followed the cycle-route of the Po, with almost no cars but huge clouds of flying ants!! We arrived to Cooperativa La Collina at around 17hoo and, after a deserved warm shower, we had a visit to their bio-dinamic and organic farm and a presentation about the cooperative and their social project that deals with drug addictions and also had a children’s environmental summer-school. We got the chance to visit their fields and vineyards and taste different types of wine-grapes. For dinner we got offered some wine from the farm and some of them came to eat with us and share an amazing pannacotta desert. We all felt tired and had a circle before bed where we decided to change next day plan and delay our arrival to Bologna as response to the last long and wet days.
thursday 6 september, in the morning some of us helped planting lettuce sprouts in a greenhouse while other cooked another amazing meal. We left after lunch in direction Modena to meet Fuzzy, who had contacted us some time ago and offered to host us. In Modena, while cycling into the centre we had an encounter with another tall-bike, it was strange to meet someone at my eye level for a change! The kid on the fellow tall bike invited us to visit their community bicycle workshop, Ciclofficina Popolare “Rimessa in Movimento”, some of us went there to get to know them and talk about the Ecotopia Biketour. Mysteriously that night, the tail was the first to arrive and the scouts the last. They arrived late and together with Aneil and the trailer full of tomatoes, so we mainly had dry pasta for dinner.
friday 7 september, after breakfast Danielo Fuzzy talked with us about his different projects and how he works as a hemp promoter, promoting hemp production with farmers and trying to expose oil companies and pharmaceutical (since 1932) lobbies against hemp use. He also showed us many of the materials and products made out of hemp fibers, seeds and oil. We decided to buy some seeds and oil for a Omega 3 boost on the biketour. We then cycled to Casalecchio di Reno where people from Ciclofficina AmpioRaggio were waiting for us and we made a weird “critical mass on the bicycle path” till bologna where we finally reclaimed the streets in a proper critical mass till the old vegetable market and now squatted eX-Mercato 24. As we missed the non-certified Organic Market on thursday, two farmers from Campi Aperti and Genuino Clandestino came to talk to us about their network and offer us some fresh vegetables (check ben’s post and radio piece soon online). We ended the day meeting Yuri who kindly brought us 15 litres of artisan white wine.