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World March Blog
12 November 2009

Vicenza – Marching in the Rain

As I write this it’s Thursday and Vicenza was last Sunday, so I’m sorry for the lateness but there’s just been no time to write before now!

Sunday was a long and intense day.

Vicenza is a beautiful city (although we’ve been through many on this trip) and a UNESCO world heritage site.  We met the Mayor who is a great guy and he said many nice things about the World March and the importance of Vicenza as a city fighting against the military machine.  Vicenza is the nearest town for the US base at Caserma Ederle which the locals and most of the Italian population desperately want to see closed.  It started life as a base on the front line with the Warsaw Pact, but with the geo-political changes at the end of the 1980s the Warsaw Pact disappeared and now far from being a front line base, it’s in the middle of nowhere politically speaking, but right next to this beautiful and priceless UNESCO heritage site.  You’d think that in order to protect the world’s heritage from possible accidental bombing or terrorism in the case of future military threats that the US might have thought of closing this base, but no!  In fact they want to expand it and incorporate the disused civilian airpot at Dal Molin, roughly 2 miles from the air base.  The expansion would lead to the total number of troops stationed in Vicenza to 5000 according to Wikipedia and make it a prime target.

This is why the World March was there.

Local organisers prepared an event whereby 7 teams would take 7 banners, each with a different colour of the rainbow, through the town in search of an item which symbolises what we are fighting against.

It was a great idea, and on any other day you can imagine that ten’s of thousands of people would have come along, because this is not unusual in this town, but sadly the weather was absolutely terrible and it was cold and raining heavily and this cut the numbers down to about 1000, which even so, was still admirable.

The World March banner led the marchers up the hill (Monte Berico) where apparently the Madonna (Mother of Jesus, not the singer) has appeared twice before in history.  I think it was too wet for her today though and she failed to show up to give her support to the World March which is a shame because it would have been one of our better endorsements.

By 4:30 we were trying to leave,  all soaked to the skin and desperate to get in the warm bus.  Of course I managed to find a gelateria and eat a nice ice-cream anyway because it would be last one in Italy for a while.

Then we headed for the Border where we were expecting some trouble with border control.  The problem with private hire buses is that international law expects that all the people who get on the bus at the beginning will all be there at the end.  Our final destination was Geneva and a number of Italians didn’t plan to go to the end and the bus drivers were very tense about the whole situation of crossing the border with missing people.  So we got a friendly doctor to write notes to give good reasons why these people couldn’t make it to Switzerland (a small plague of swine-flu) and hoped that the border guards would be ok.  You have to realise that this saga was going on for days before we reached Switzerland and the drivers were very worried!  Also we had 2 people who stayed on the bus until the border and a car followed us to the border with the aim of picking them up the other side and driving them back to Milan.

We arrived at the border at about 11pm and can you guess what happened next?

All the border check points and offices were closed, everyone had gone home to bed and left the border open so we could just drive in without anyone checking anything!

I wonder if drug-traffickers and terrorists know about this…

On the other side of the border, we ascended and ascended through the lovely alps and the rain turned to snow and then back to rain again as we went down into the next valley.  It was quite beautiful to watch from the seat next to the driver.

Here’s a video from Vicenza and a few photos below

with a big hug

Tony

3 comments to Vicenza – Marching in the Rain

  • Matias

    Hi Tony, can picture the alpine valleys right now and smell the perfume of the winter wind! hahaha…
    I’m still thinking about all these “borders” non-sense issue and I get more and more convinced about the reason of this World March!

    Best regards and many luck in Switzerland for all!
    Matias

  • Hola,¿cómo van?… espero que la lluvia ya haya pasado y se encuentren en otro sitio igual de bello, tomando fuerzas para continuar. Hace muy poco,me uní a uds y quiero enviarles mis ganas y deseos que logren su meta, que igual es nuestra meta, así nos encontremos a millas de distancia y en actividades distintas, pero nuestro entusiasmo apunta a lo mismo.Gracias por esos “relatos de viaje”son magníficos, me encantó el de Praga, muy sentido.Abrazos en la distancia.

  • Rosi

    Tony! esperemos que los narcos y los terroristas no se hayan percatado de las fronteras abiertas!!
    Lo que me hiciste reir con tu comentario de la Virgen… que buena prensa seria que se presentara y adhiriendo a la Marcha!!!