September 1-14, 2013: Our September visit to Sesto Calende coincided with the final two weeks of Chris’ course at AgustaWestland. This time around he was completing the two-week practical component on the AW-139 helicopter, necessary for European type certification.
Interestingly, all of his classmates were from the Servizio Aero Polizia di Stato (Italian State Police) and the instruction was provided in Italian. Not to worry, Chris had his own translator.
For our final week, we decided to rent a little FourTwo Smart car. Yay, we had wheels! It was gutless but fun. Chris was usually finished by two or three in the afternoon, so we had lots of time in the evenings to explore a little of the surrounding area. (More about those adventures in other posts shortly.)
While Chris spent his days in class, I checked out Sesto and nearby Castelletto sopra Ticino. I took advantage of the big warehouse grocery stores to stock up on a few things we haven’t been able to find in Subic. And of course, there were my daily walks along the river to the end of the pedestrian path and back again. Sometimes these ended at a gelato shop.
One morning I visited the nicely arranged Archeology Museum located in the town hall above the library. The entrance fee was only two Euros, but I had to ask the librarian for access. They opened it up just for me. Well lit glass cases set around the room housed a large collection (more than a thousand pieces) of late bronze age and iron age artifacts, some dating back to 300 B.C. Most had been collected from a variety of sites along the banks of the Ticino River.
The librarian took this opportunity to give one of her new assistants a lesson in the history of some of the pieces. The assistant spoke really good English and she in turn shared her new-found knowledge with me. I was surprised to see a number of obviously Celtic pieces. I didn’t realize the Celts had ranged over such a large swath of Europe at one time. Silly me, I thought they were primarily confined to Ireland and the British Isles.
On our last evening, Chris’ new polizia buddies invited us to meet them for dinner. They were all from the south of the country, from Sicily, Calabria and Puglia. We were also joined by the Pirelli motorcycle racing team, who were friends with one of the officers and had just arrived that evening for a race the next day. Conversation was a mishmash of broken Italian and English with a smattering of high school French thrown in for good measure as we all tried our best to communicate.
Chris was like a kid in a candy store when we got to check out some 2014 models of a new Aprillia racing bike and a Kawasaki offroad bike in the Pirelli team van. I could just see his mind whirling. We do miss riding.
Here’s hoping we get to visit our new friends again in the not too distant future.