My backpack was a sailor

After a few days in the busy and vibrant Milano I set off on my road to the north. It would have been an interesting experience to hitchhike out of that concrete jungle, there are entire blog posts dedicated to the art of escaping for free of this mammoth.

While it’s true that I like challenge I didn’t feel like facing police and stone-faced drivers, hopped in a train and lost the combination that was leading to Como. I was not alone in the empty platform, a fancy dressed guy with small luggage.

Milano train station

We were both alone there, so the conversation was a must. He had a good sense of humour, his colorful clothes were a precise description of his mood, he was from Nigeria and as many others he was fighting for a better future. He had been living in the streets and in a student house alternatively, now going to Switzerland with not much more than hope on his pockets.

The next train arrived, with it’s strong presence was hard to keep the conversation, I felt that all that metalic noise was unnecessary. A strange animal in need of attention. “Look at me, it’s late, come in” the grey snake was saying while we stepped in it. Maybe long time ago this beasts were god-like creatures, they were respected and admired; but now they were just a tool for the former worshippers. From master to slave: we set off to the north.

He was sitting opposite to me, while we shared some cookies, I gazed at the floor and I realized that between us there was crack. Between the seats and parallel to our shoulders a silent and sharp line dividing us, I rubbed the line with my right foot, nothing seemed to happen, tried harder but it was impossible to erase. He didn’t seem to notice what I was trying to do, he just smiled and hugged the hope while we stopped in nameless stations. He mentioned God many times.

The speaker announced the next station, mine. As soon as the train started to slow down I stood up, the line was still there, it was the witness of what can’t be understood, those of who can’t get what’s happening next to them. Those who see it are, for sure, blinder than anyone else. With a strange urgency I gave him my crucifix, shook his hand and jumped out of the train.

Como, another city from Europe, clean, neat and quite organized. The lake had his charm, so the tree lined streets. It was not a big city but it was not a village, where to sleep? Roamed the streets and sent requests via Couchsurfing, around two hours later a man from a village nearby had accepted my request.


While asking how to get to the village a young boy felt sorry for not being able to let me in, was a moving gesture. In the bus to the village I met a lady from Ecuador, she was wearing a hijab.

When I arrived to Mario’s place it was dark and we shared some talks and mate over dinner. “Nice beggining”, I thought. Didn’t know that the following day was one of discovery on the nature of my gear.

In the morning Mario took me to the center and walked in north direction by the shore of the lake, I stumbled upon with the ecuatorian woman and we had a small chat about the tense atmosphere against muslims in the country and she warned me that Switzerland was full of psychos.. She gave a small Tupperware bowl with some past inside.

I kept walking past fancy villas until I saw a staircase going down to the lake, followed it, next to the water the sign was clear: “No Swimming”. Came back and found a hidden terrace under the stairs, was clear and couldn’t be seen from the street. Nice place to have a nap.

Como Lake
The fancy Villas

I put my mattress and relaxed for have an hour or so, the morning was warm and the air pure, I could hear the small waves against the cliff and the cars passing by. “Why are you going so fast? Don’t you see the beauty around?”, I asked to the drivers. I dozed and woke up suddenly (don’t know the reason), my electrified right arm hit the small backpack that rolled like a rock down to the cliff. “The trees will stop it”, I said while trying to understand what had happened.

My faith didn’t meet despair until the backpack hit the water. No, that’s no possible. Yes, it was, run to see where was it, five meters below my backpack floating in the green water.

Sailing backpack

Run downstairs to catch, when I came to water level the backpack started to navigate offshore, in direction of the empty and expensive boats around. Undressed as fast as possible and pondered if it was worth to interrupt such a nice sailing, what’s inside? Jacket, toothbrush, charger, map, and sandwiches; the last was deeply felt.

While thinking the brand new sailor was way far off the boats, still floating and going further. The detachment itself, never better pictured out. So it sailed, I kept looking to it in its graceful trip across the calm water, bon voyage my friend. “You too”, a distant voice said.

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