Sunday 8th September
What a beautiful morning in a beautiful place.
A stroll down the mountain for breakfast and coffee which should have been labelled ďcharging to 200. Clear
A day to go to church
A day to worship.
We decided to give the nuns a miss and go straight to the two wheeled high altar to see if our prayers would be answered.
This man was very proud that he had worked at the factory and wanted to tell us about it. My brother translated for me (he claims to speak Italian, he may have been making it up). Itís nice that the company still has such loyalty.
I canít remember now if he was riding the derny on the magazine cover. It was of course a Guzzi, a Galletto.
Someone else who had come to worship - the nuns only let you light candles.
People were bringing various historic bikes (Guzzi of course) and parking them along one side of the square. One by one they were brought over and put on the rollers to start them up, then wheeled off the rollers and warmed up, and, well, you know the form. The assembled throng were there to hear sweet combustion music.
But of course, lovely as these were, everybody wanted to hear one of them in particular. Otto.
I know what this particular beast sounds like because many years ago at what I think might have been the first Goodwood Festival of Speed I was standing in the pits admiring Otto (it might have been a reproduction) and a Mr. Surtees came along, fired it up and rode off on it. Two greats in one place.
Because of this knowledge I made sure that I was standing in front of it and had earplugs in. It was still loud but at least my eyes didnít bleed this time.
The mic on the camera doesnít convey the volume. Turn it up until your eyeballs rattle and youíre getting there.
Iím told that in previous years itís been ridden round the town. That must be a wonderful audio treat to hear that engine note echoing through the streets towards you.
Before we, temporarily, depart the square let me show you something.
Imagine trying to stop in the wet with that as your front brake. Even in the dry it must be terrifying on any kind of slope or mountain.
After looking at the bikes and chatting with people it was getting towards lunchtime so we wandered round to the school and joined the queue again.
My brother was happy because they let him have the menu as a souvenir. Iím sure they were going to be throwing them away later anyway. Still, simple things and all that.
Iím not sure who started this.
We couldnít leave there without buying some souvenir t-shirts and a pile of raffle tickets - all for a good cause. First prize was a V85TT, but I havenít heard anything yet. Itís a pity, I was looking forward to going and collecting it.
We went back to the
square, which was pretty deserted apart from a couple of bikes.
Carlo Guzzi gazing towards two of his greatest creations.
I have to comment on something at this point. The ďkeepersĒ of these bikes had parked them there earlier and then gone off, no doubt to have lunch with friends. Nobody was keeping watch over them. Everybody who was interested came and looked and took pictures but nobody touched them.
I know from being involved with events in the UK that had it been here then without people present to stop them, children and adults would have been sitting on them, fiddling with the controls, posing for pictures. Climbing all over them. But there, people showed respect.
Weíd met some lovely folks from Northern Ireland, and they said to us that we should go with them to see where it all startedÖ
No, not Bethlehem, Iíve finished with the religious analogies now.
Here, Carlo Guzziís first workshop
That was a pretty special place to look around. There were things there that he had made.
Thatís it for Sunday. We did nothing more interesting than going down to the lake and enjoying the views as dusk fell, then filling our faces.
Tomorrow we bid farewell to Mandello del Lario.