More amazing strangers

Post for 23 June 18

Writing about the same topic is boring, for you and me, but I hope you’ll tolerate yet another post about amazing strangers, adding to the long list on that topic in this blog.

On June 23, I woke up in a cozy campground near a bunch of Italian beaches, but it’s worth mentioning that finding that campsite was initially discouraging, the previous evening on June 22. On that evening, I was tired and sweaty after a full day of cycling in Italy’s humid summer days. The first two campgrounds I found had locked gates and nobody answered my calls. But then, I asked a stranger for suggestions about a campground. He smiled and suggested I follow him, in Italian.

That led to a very nice campsite, where I woke up at on June 23. The strangers I met there were great, but the best stranger-story happened later, in the afternoon of June 23. Cycling in the morning was also nice, as the pictures show.

In the afternoon, I cycled away from the beach and onto quiet country roads.

A few miles later, I was hot and stopped by a big, decorated gate. Those gates show up around here in front of nice houses. During my break, the gate surprised me. It creaked, slowly opened, and people in the house about 50 yards away waived at me to join them. They gave me cold water, watermelon, and in standard Italian fashion, they also gave me a nice espresso. We had a nice visit with the English they knew and with translator apps.

For anyone whose read this blog for a while, you’ve heard several versions of this story. “Steven goes on another long bike ride, and strangers treat him in surprising and wonderful ways.” It’s entirely predictable.

Sadly, it’s also predictable that every major news source enthusiastically emphasizes the opposite—emphasizes bad people and barely mentions the better ones. That’s sad, even revolting. Of course, there are bad people in the world. How is that new? How is that so much of our news?

The world has a lot of people, and some are going to be bad, of course, but focusing on the bad makes us forget about all the good people—and they deserve equal time. I talk about them a lot here, and I hope you talk about them sometimes.

You could talk about this humble blog or, even better, try some simple travel yourself. With that, you’ll meet generous strangers on your own. I mention simple travel because more complex, and expensive, travel tends to insulate travelers from amazing strangers, as Rick Steves describes so well. Rolf Potts has a similar message and recommends even simpler travel than Rick Steves.

It’s special stuff, hope you try it. If you’re new to simple travel, Rick Steves gives has great ideas for you. If you’ve already done some simple travel, Rolf Potts gives suggestions for even simpler travel, like my bike rides.

June 23 also had a happy ending. I found a campsite on the beach, swam in the ocean, and enjoyed the most amazing pizza in my life. On the picture of that pizza, the white blog in the middle is the softest and tastiest mozzarella cheese I’ve ever had. After a small slice into that cheese, the tasty mozzarella oozed over the rest of the pizza. Yummy!

3 thoughts on “More amazing strangers

  1. My paternal Grandparents came to the USA from Calabria. Until your blogs on this ride, I’ve never wanted to visit Italy. You have changed that for me.

    Thanks, keep posting please.

  2. Another great chapter in your book of adventures. Please keep them coming. 🙂


  3. Awesome post, Dr. Malikowski! YES! 95% of the people and daily events in this world are positive and inspiring! I guess we don’t get the same adrenaline rush from nice stories (i.e., can’t sell ads if folks don’t obsess over the “news articles”).

    Your blog should be advertised more! I love that you linked to Rick Steves. I love his videos. I will check out the other dude.

    Stay well! Don’t lose your swim suit! (Or, better yet, lose it!)

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