7.26.2016

Tour de France 2016 Reportage 1 At the finish in Bern

Traveling by train is a disused pleasure. I own a car but just use it to bring around bikes. When I plan a travel I first check if I can reach my aim by train and walk from there. Plane is an option when I have little time.  Now Bern is a big rail node, direcly linked to Milano by a very confortable - expensive - fast train. I know it very well because I used to take it in my frequent travels to Luxembourg. It's a Swiss train, it leaves the urban surrounding of Milano, runs by the Lago Maggiore - intense blue pupil of a soft green eye - and crosses the border with Switzerland. When the the long tunnel ends, the mountains are high and white of snow on the top. Little tidy modern houses are scattered in the valley, now and then there is a big factory. In Bern the train gets by an high rail bridge and you can glimpse the cathedral's elaborated steeple.
I had prepared again my backpack: it was expected to be hot but maybe cold by the dam in Emosson. I'm used to travelling light, here I had put in my hiking boots, a t-shirt, shorts and long jeans trousers, a long sleeves shirt, a dress, a sweater and a raincoat. I was wearing a t-shirt, long fresh trousers, a hat and hiking sandals. There is no need to bring around a lot of stuff but the right stuff is essetial. Also it's important to bring water, because you don't know where you'll find water again and how much it'll cost (and traveling to Switzerland this is especially true) so my son and I were bringing a full bottle each one. We left at 8 from Florence, switched train in Milano and arrived to Bern around 2 pm. 
The finish of the stage was supposed to be arround 4 pm but at the barrier there was already a big crowd. We found a splendid place in a bend on the last paved climb: it was awfully hot and it was in full sun. It was a long waiting... I was checking the race on twitter, they were almost in the city and the crowd had grown bigger, coloured and noisy. The break was over, Rui Costa attacked but was quickly caught, it wasn't easy to understand what was going on, but you don't go to races to understand. Honestly it wasn't that fun waiting in the heat, people pushing, seeing nothing... 
And then the race arrived: the Caravan first, kitch and crazy, then the police, the team cars, the organisation cars... it's a whole world traveling... eventually the riders, pretty slow on that last tricky urban climb. I started shooting, my camera firm in my hands. No breathing, no thinking, no moving, while the crowd all around was getting mad. My camera isn't a very expensive good one but it has got good lens and it's light. It's a bit a challenge: how good my pictures can be using such a camera? in such conditions?  I'm not a photographer but the challenge I like.
Up they go. Faster the first ones, slower the rest: they are bringing the bike to the finish while the first ones are fighting for glory, on the green hill, up there. Peter Sagan will win. As far as me, my bottle is empty and it was warm water. The crowd has moved, I spotted a minimarked and there I go. I want an icecream but first of all an icy Fanta: no beverage has ever been so good!

MORE TO COME!

No comments: