Tribute to Lorenzo…
We were very fortunate to have come across Lorenzo through watching an old episode of Escape to the Continent, about a British couple looking to buy a property in Liguria. Even before we arrived in Italy, he provided us with copious amounts of information through email. But we could not have imagined how much more he would contribute to our experience – and we’d now like to count him as a good friend.
Our walk to the summit of Mt Montjoie (https://mitchell.news/2017/09/19/le-montagne-the-mountains-part-1/) would not have been possible without his extensive knowledge and experience of climbing and walking in the area (especially as it had snowed overnight). Little did we know how much experience he did have, locally and overseas. He has completed the seven summits – which means he has climbed to the peak of the highest mountain on each continent / region (sadly he decided to do Puncak Jaya in Indonesia rather than Kosciusko). This is in addition to numerous other mountain summits, endurance challenges, and most recently (while we were in Liguria), the gruelling GR20 in Corsica. And whilst not revealing his age, suffice to say that he is a fair bit older than both of us. He is also very active in the Nepalese community, helping communities and schools, particularly following the earthquake in 2015.
In addition to our mountain walk, we joined Lorenzo and others in Mendatica (https://mitchell.news/2017/09/23/le-montagne-part-2/). We also had the privilege of being invited for apperitivos on the terrace of his home in Poggi, part of Imperia, Liguria.
One of the final days of our time at Colletta, Liguria, was a trip through the Argentina Valley, inland from Imperia. It is not named Argentina through any link to the country, but because of the colour of the mountains. Similarly to the Blue Mountains outside Sydney, the mountains are covered in a blue hue from the olive trees growing in the valley. We visited a family run, working olive oil producer, shop and museum. We also went into a village that had recently grown from 20 to 30 people – a group of young people has returned to revive it. One of them had a bakery in Newtown, Sydney, and we were able to buy a loaf of bread just out of the oven.
After a picnic lunch outside a restored village church, we happened upon a neighbouring artist from the Netherlands. After a chat and coffee, the guys helped him lift the slate for one of his sculptures before we headed off on the next leg of our journey – another lovely walk through the mountains. The day ended with apperitivos at a bar in Imperia that Lorenzo had passed as a child on his way to school.
One of the villages we visited Triora – is known as the village of the witches. In 1587, bad weather and pitiful crops led to a famine, and the desperate residents of Triora became convinced that only the work of witches could bring such misfortune. So began a witch hunt in which many woman were fingered and tortured to death. a dark period in Italy’s history which lasted 2 years and spread to other villages.
As I write this, Lorenzo is embarking on a massive 100km event near Montpellier, France. We wish him all the very best, but know he’ll do well. He’s an amazing athlete….and a truly nice person.