Day 2 – A Monday of heat and prosecco

Morning delight – Still too hot for cities

Waking up has not been hard, the sun could strike our tired eyes from the open window. Rest have not been great but Verona awaits us. The road is smooth and grey.

Breakfast in the city is tasteful, especially for G that opted for a ‘brioche al gianduia’ while M chose simplicity with a plain one. The toilet was nice enough to welcome our morning needs, but hot as the whole day. Exiting the bar we enjoy the presence of the Castello degli Scaligeri, and a few metres after, stroke by the morning sun, wide but not tall: the Arena – Verona’s masterpiece.

M’s tattoo – Is it sustainable to get one?

As we said, Verona is where we were supposed to meet a friend. This friend is Silvia, a tattoo artist… you cannot avoid getting a tattoo when you have a friend that makes great ones. M decided to get a willow tree leaf on her arm, that dream came true today. The leaf looks great, the only thing we are not sure of is if it is sustainable getting tattooed. Not really, there’s a disposable plastic film protecting the machine. A thin plastic cover over the tattooing bed and Silvia’s plastic gloves.

We definitely will pay attention to tattoo only a few times and to make more than a tattoo at the time if we want more than one. However, Silvia is an attentive person and separate her wastes in order to get them recycled.

Afternoon walk

We have a nice lunch with Silvia and her colleague before to continue our tour of the city. We discover that the other tattoo artist is originally from Moggio Udinese, which -as we find out talking to him- seems to be an amazing village between the mountains and the rivers in the last region of Italy, before the border with Slovenia and Austria. He sold us so well the place that we decide to stop by on our way to Slovenia.

During the afternoon we get lost in the streets of the ancient city, picture a man standing during mass with his black mask and a traditional white clock with on the side a red cross. We end up in a beautiful cluster on the side of the duomo and realise that wherever we look around us we can find mural paintings and statues. Verona is definitely full of history. Tourists pass posing for picture, shopping global brands and enjoying local wine. Ourself too we couldn’t resist the tasty ‘prosecco’ served in a cosy patio.

Another parking lot for the night-stay

Sleeping not far from cities reveals to be complicated. We finally find a place to park our van behind a supermarket which closure allow us for some peace. A black guy seeing our French plate approaches us asking for water. He happens to be from Cameroon looking for a something better.

Eating a bowl of the risotto G made he starts telling us how he got to a parking lot lost in the countryside outside Verona. He left Cameroon once 16 y.o. for Nigeria. His mother cried when he announced he was leaving because some Nigerians are known to eat people. He worked there until they started calling him ‘brother’ and ‘gentleman’, then he left to Niger. Here he managed to work and to rent a room. With some money on the side he passed through Libya, Algeria and Morocco to then go back to Libya. Here he sailed to Sicily and tried to work in Italy for a while. And then the agonised dream-land: France. Here Fabrice went to clubs and had girlfriends and felt that life could be nice. But with no documents it cannot last long. Even if Cameroon has been exploited by French for years, he has no right to a French passport. He headed back to Italy to fight bureaucracy and receive some documents allowing him to work.

For now he asks for money in front of the hospital, waiting for a piece of paper recognising him as a person. When he’s lucky he makes 30 euros in a day. He can eat, send money to Cameroon and he sleeps in a bungalow in an abandoned campsite.

After a day in Verona sightseeing, getting tattooed and drinking ‘prosecco’, no better way to recall to ourselves that there are millions of people living with less than 2 euros per day, the so called ‘extreme poverty’.

He left us only after midnight with the bottle of water we gave him. Despite his patriarchal mindset, we cannot avoid feeling sympathy and a huge amount of esteem for Fabrice.

With love, to Fabrice.

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