first days cycling italy..

And now for another day by day update from the past week. although we have just realised that;

1. today is our two month birthday of starting cycling!!! Time for a celebration I think.
2. we only have one week left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! nooooooooooooooooooooooo

saturday 25 august, after the the NO TAV camp general assembly, a big group of people tried to walk to the TAV construction site and were stopped by a police block which made us have to take a smaller path. We were heading to the Clarea protest site, where many tree houses and other resistance structures where some people try to mantain a permanent camp next to the contruction and military zone. On the way there we passed many ripe yummy fruits, blackberries, grapes and plums that everyone advised us not to eat because of the high amount of tear gas that is spread all over the land after recent protests. We managed to get to the area of the forest that has been bought by the movement over the last years to dificult the expropriation process. In the end of the day it started raining a LOT (the 3rd oficial rain day of this biketour!) and after a small theater show with locals we hitched back to the camp for the Radio Blackout party.

Construction site with military security

NOTAV Information point

sunday 26 august, after a wet day everyone felt like resting and during the day we prepared a nice presentation about this year’s biketour, some walked to the mountains and after amazing dinner on the camp we had a presentation of the biketour and some of the projects we already visited, lots of people came along and everyone enjoyed the few pictures we put together to show. Before going to bed, while some prepared midnight hummus for breakfast, others joined a group that assembled by the gate to the contruction site in order to disrupt police rest with noise and NO TAV chants.

monday 27 august, early action-breakfast in front of contruction site door to prevent the entrance of workers (meaning that they have to enter by the motorway instead of the easy way). We wrote and sang a new NO TAV song and had a tai-chi workshop in front of the gate with other NO TAV camp participants. After lunch there was a project workshop, where people shared their experiences in the projects they are involved with; Reclaim the Fields, OK Café, Abundance, Inflatables and Eclectic Electric Collective and Ciudad Ciclista. Some walked on the mountains to swim at a natural waterfall – the “waterfall-operation” on the military-contruction zone – while others rested and helped to cook dinner. After dinner Daniela and David (from csoa Ascatasuna) talked with us about the NO TAV strugle and history.

tuesday 28 august, we left the NO TAV camp just after breakfast and went down the Val di Susa as a NO TAV critical mass. We stopped for lunch on the way, then cycled the rest of the way to Mezcal squat where some old biketour friends were waiting to rejoin us. We ate dinner with our hosts. Mezcal is an old psichiatric hospital prison which was squatted 10 years ago. After food we had a presentation about a social center in Dijon, Tanneries, and a bit of the history of the occupation of Mezcal.

We are NO TAV - To stop us is impossible!

NO TAV graffiti

Our lives in exchange for progress? NO THANKS - NO TAV!

Mezcal Squat

wednesday 29 august, we left the Mezcal squat and cycled hard to Casa GAIA project, a techonology think tank that has repaired and made an old house (which the council had previously planned to demolish) into a high energy-efficent building and created spaces for energy-efficiency experimentation. We then continued to Moretta where we camped next to an abandoned train station and had a Carabinieri visit during the night. They were pretty amused with us and let us stay there anyway.

Giovanni explaining Casa GAIA

Casa GAIA permaculture garden

thursday 30 august, just before leaving a train conductor (keep in mind it was an ABANDONED train station with NO train lines left even!) and the mayor of the city came with police chief to welcome us and say that we could stay longer if we wanted :D. Italy is insane!!! The tall-bike got repaired after it’s first major problem after almost 2 months of the trip. We had a long, and gray, ride to Asti where we met Simona from La Noix de Kola who lead us to eX-Mutuo, a gigantic squat hosting 12 migrant families (around 75 people) and a social space on the ground floor.

friday 31 august, we packed-up early and some activists from coordinamento Asti-Est cycled with us to via Alende’s squat where they talked about the history of their group and the several squats they started with families that lost their house recently on the recent economical crisis (see Ben’s blog post for more). After a great breakfast with Moroccan mint tea and pancakes we cycled to Costa Vescovato, to arrive in Cooperativa Valli Unite where we made dinner and got introduction to our voluntary work for next days.

Critical Mass in Asti

saturday 1 september, we woke up early to help clean the barn full of strawbales and mount the tables, stage and decorations for the Festa della Vendemmia. We had an amazing lunch with every one from Valli Unite, all the volunteers on a huge table in their restaurant. The festival started at 19h, with (again) amazing food, pizzas and wine (all 100% from the farm) and a concert.

Preparing the barn for the festival

Lunch on Valli Unite

sunday 2 september, this was our second day of volunteering at the festival. People helped serving wine, cleaning tables, washing dishes with Antonella, making pizzas and cleaning common spaces. There was a screen printing workshop with Milano Bikeworkshop. In the night we had a pizza feast and a concert from Purple Lady.

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