Let’s face it: we are all amateurs… At least when it comes to travelling around the world. Why do I say so? Well, try typing the name “Giorgio Bettinelli” on Google Images. The photo below is probably the first one that will show up:
It is, for sure, a very small motorcycle, that Vespa. Isn’t it? Smaller than a Harley Davidson, smaller than the trains, buses, and Ryanair aircrafts we use to go from point A to point B over this peculiar and interesting sphere. But this Vespa was all Giorgio Bettinelli needed to travel to these places:
No, I didn’t find out about him by typing random names on Google… Actually I was yesterday on a used-book store near Fontana di Trevi, here inRome. I love going there and talking to Franco, the old man who owns the place and deserves a post only about himself, some time soon… Looking for some book of the “Universale Economica Feltrinelli” collection, to learn a bit more of Italian, I suddenly saw this title: BRUM BRUM. It couldn’t be something normal. Either something very stupid written by someone trying to sound cool… or something naturally cool and different. You know it is the case for the second option, when you read the subtitle: “254.000 chilometri in Vespa”. I bought the book, of course!
I got so excited already with the first pages, that I thought: may be I could meet this guy here inItaly, if he is back here! To my great sadness, though, I learned he died in 2008 inChina, where he was living with his wife. Bettinelli had an intense life. He was also into music, and wrote an Italian song which went famous in the late 70’s (for the Brazilians here: this song is about a guy broken-hearted who gets drunk and talks to the barman… Does’t it remind you of Reginaldo Rossi?)
Researching a bit more about him, I found this interesting website, where there’s a beautiful video with a nice tribute to this amazing traveler. The site is in Italian, but there is a quote by Bettinelli which I will try to translate. It reads something like:
“… I felt for a few seconds, without a cause, absolutely happy, while the hairs of my skin got winced… Only a few seconds, for which it is really worth LIVING.”
I like this idea of a burst of deep happiness striking by surprise for only some seconds. Some very special seconds.
To see the video, click here: