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June 23, 2010
Day two: Cassano Spinola

Day 2:  June 8th, 2010                                      To Cassano Spinola

Last time I left you I was asleep under a dirty bridge in a small town called,  Busalla.  Well as you can assume in my state of mind sleep wasn't the easiest thing to come by.  But somehow I was able to catch enough winks to get me up and through the next day.  I washed my face, to wake me up a bit, at the little stream that ran along side of me.  It was quite refreshing.  I hope to one day live near a running river or stream.  When you are in my position natural running water is a wonderful gift that provides so much refreshment.  If I lived next to some natural running water I could enjoy that natural refreshment all the time.  How wonderful would that be.  Well back to the transcribing.

I walked a bit down the street from the bridge I slept under and found a nice café, so I stepped in and grabbed a croissant and a coffee.  Let me tell you the coffee's here are strong and small.  It is just basically a shot of espresso in a little cup.  That is a coffee here.  So when us Americans say oh lets grab a coffee together, to Italians that means you step into a bar/café, step up to the counter order a coffee, stand there and drink it, having small talk with the bar tender or your friend, and then in under three minutes you carry on.  It's so crazy.  Anyway I sat there enjoyed my 3 ounces of coffee and my croissant read and wrote a little, then decided to move on for day two of my journey.

I made it out of the town and went along the road for a good hour or so, but then my path was interrupted.  There seemed to be some confusion on my part with the road signs that pointed in way to Milano and the highway I was taking.  The highway I was on just sort of disappeared and once I noticed I realized I was on the interstate, where cars and huge trucks were wizzing by at 90 kilometers per hour.  I felt a bit scared, but what else could I do, I lost the highway so I needed to find it again and the only way to it I thought was on the interstate.  So I kept walking as people were honking and yelling for me to get off the road.  After about five minutes of courageous walking in spite of sheer danger a car that seemed to be a police or interstate control car pulled up beside me.   I look in and there is a man looking back at me with a frown on his face shaking his finger left to right basically saying, "no no, tisk tisk."  He told me to get in and that I couldn't keep walking here, it wasn't safe, or legal.  I get in the car and we talk.  His name was Augustino and he was such a wonderful man.  We laughed about it all and he told me he would take me to the road I was on earlier and my path to Milan.  He told me about his wife he had been married to for 42 years and how he thought my trip was beautiful.  It was so great.  We had such a joyful conversation.  It was really something I needed to keep me going.   He dropped me off at the SS 35 and also showed me on the map where I needed to go to get to Milano.
So I got back on the road and kept walking.  I stopped and had lunch in a lovely small town and then got back on the road.  After a while of walking it was getting to about quittin time for me, which is normally around 6 or 7 in the evening.  I was looking for a good place to set up my tent as I walked and then I spotted this great field of the road.  As I was walking through it to the other side I spotted this man watering his garden, he lived on the edge of the field.  So I walked up to him and asked if I could camp on there for the night.  He immediately said yes.  Oh it was such a blessing.  His name was Mimo.  So I began to set up my tent and after that sat down to read for a while.  As I was reading Mimo walked over to me with a chair.  He set it down next to me and said, "you, sit here, not on ground."  I was so grateful it was so nice.  So I sat in the chair and kept on reading, when here comes Mimo again, this time with a tray in his hands.  He walks over and says, "here you eat, dinner, for Tennessee."  Oh my goodness I was so grateful.  It was such a blessing from the Lord.  So I sat there and ate a nice meal and watched Mimo and his son waters the plants in his garden.  It was such a blessing from the Lord to go from one night of sheer fear and anxiety to another of pure joy and beauty.  I was so thankful for His provision in this.  So that concludes the second day.  That town I stayed in was called Cassano Spinola, the town of Mimo and his love for a traveler.

Here are some pictures from that day:

The dinner Mimo gave me

And the view I had of Mimos house, while I ate dinner:

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June 20, 2010
June 5-8th

Journal Number 2

June 11, 2010

Milan, Italy                          Almost 90 miles logged

As I sit in this mold smelling, but refreshingly cool basement in San Donato a neighborhood in Milan, Italy I have the great task of transcribing to you people what has happened in my life in the past five days.  Let me first try and give you a couple mental pictures to take with you as you read:  First, lets imagine a polar bear who has known his whole life in the arctic tundra of maybe the North or South pole (I can't seem to remember where those fellas are from) is somehow thrown in the middle of his life into the Mojave Desert or maybe some tropical island.  What would that bear think?  How would his body react?  How would he adapt? Also all of you can thank me for implementing a "Lost" reference into this journal.  Second,  let us think of a man, in his early twenties, handsome, blonde, big ole blue eyes (sorry I am getting carried away, back to the mental picture)  thrown all alone, with nothing  other than some fancy camping gear shoved into a backpack , into a foreign country that he has only visited for a mere moment in his life.  He now has to make his way by foot across said country, not knowing the language, not really mentally prepared for what lies ahead, and all alone (I mean since he doesn't speak the language, really all alone).  What would he think?  How would his body react?  How would he adapt?

Now the second of those two mental pictures lies a bit closer to what I am about to transcribe to you, butt they both give you a thought about what you need to consider when you would take something and place it in a environment it is not used to.  Alright let me get on with telling you the tale of what has happened in these last five days.  The danger, suspense, the romance (psyche), the adventure, and the pain.  We begin at day one (well day zero really) (I also realize that I have depicted this day on a video blog, but if you like reading and pictures here are those for you):

Day 0: June 7th, 2010

Last I left you I was hanging in the air next to Gino the Italian rocket scientist.  We land safe and sound from that long journey through the skies and I gather my things and exit the aircraft.  After meandering through the airport to customs, I see Gino for one last time.  He tells me in his broken English that it was beautiful to meet me and I say the same to me.  Then as a father would lightly punch his son at a baseball game, after hitting a homerun, on the chin, so Gino does to me.  It was this sort of "go get em' tiger" thought that started it all off for me.  Customs was a breeze.  I mean they didn't even think twice about who I was, or what I was doing in their country.  It was a bit strange, but I rolled with it.  I find my way to the luggage carousels and after a minute or two, there rolls around my life in a bundle for the next three months.  I collect my bag then out to the Italian world I go.  Man alive, there were so many people out there waiting on friends, family, and loved ones it was a disappointment no one was there for me, but alas I continue on.  I sit down and pull my stuff out of the duffel it was all crammed into.  I pull out that handy cell phone and come to my first and biggest difficulty.  I somehow cannot make any outgoing calls. The phone informs me that all outgoing calls are barred and I don't know the password to unlock the stupid thing so I sit lost and alone at the Italian airport. 

I get up my strength, completely flustered by the recent flaw in my plan and get some cash out of a bank automatic teller machine.  I buy a phone card thinking it would solve my problems, but I am too confused and flustered to figure it out.  So I sit down and send out a text message to the only person I know in all of Italy (and I barely know him) Sam Fiore.  You see Sam and his wife Joan came and spoke at the Bible school I attended a couple years ago.  So I emailed them a while back informing them of my visit and they provided me with their contact information.  In the text I just said I am in Milan, lost and need some help if he can offer it.  He immediately calls back.  My spirits were completely lifted.  I find out they are about to start church and his daughter Nina gives me directions to the church from the airport.  So after an hour or so of travel I make it to the metro station where the church is next to.  I send a message and wait, but no response.  I figure out how to use the calling card and make a couple calls, but no response.  So I venture out on the streets.  After a while of walking in the wrong direction, later to find out, and in the heat on top of that, I turn back to the cool shelter of the metro station.  After about forty-five minutes I was about to give up, when my cell phone rings, it was Sam.  What a blessing.  He said that church just got out, come walk to it and then join his family for lunch.  I walked in the right direction and met Sam and Joan.  Oh it was great to see them.  They were so kind and warm hearted.  Exactly what I needed in that time of mental peril.  Joan left to Nina's house, where we were having lunch, and Sam showed me around the church building.  It was all so lovely.  I met some lovely people  who were so kind, even if they couldn't speak a lick of English.  Then Sam and I carried on to Nina and Michael's house for lunch. 

On the ride there Sam tells me about the radio station they are working on putting back up in Milan, it all sounded wonderful.  Then we arrived at Michael and Nina's.  A soon as I entered I was greeted by this older fella who was as tall as me and bald headed, wearing glasses and another younger fella but older than me and he was cutting some chicken.  The bald headed fella was Walt Baker.  He was the guest speaker at Sam's church and the younger fella cutting chicken was Michael, Sam's son-in-law, married to Nina.  Walt and I talk for a bit and I tell him I am from Memphis, Tennessee.  He informs me of how he spoke at a church there, it ended up being the church I grew up in named First Evan.  What a small small world.  He also knew my grandmother, Mary Ann Frazier.  So small sometimes.  Walt and I talked for a good while about our mutual friends and family, while Michael cut away on that chicken.  Then it was time for lunch.  But lunch was not inside on the dinner table, but outside in the backyard on a table there.  I found out that this is a common practice in Italy, everyone, on a good day, eats with their family and friends outside.  I hope to bring this practice into use when I get back. 

 Daniel_1_Friends.jpgAt the table I met Michael and Nina's children: Glori, Jake, and Max.  Lovely kids.  There was a bit of tension, you know with a new person talking to them who they didn't know, but I soon lightened the mood for them and we carried on as good friends by the end of the day.  After a lovely meal and conversation, I helped with the dishes and then was able to use the computer and the internet for a while.  It was nice to connect with the world again.  Then I decided to attend the church Michael planted there in San Donato.  It was lovely even though I didn't understand a lick of what they were saying.  And then on the way back to the house Nina offered me a place to stay for the night.  You see I was just going to take a train that night to Genova, but I am glad I stayed instead.  So we got back and me and the boys all laid out beds in the basement and off to bed I went, for the last night with friends for the next five days. 

               

               

 

 

 

Day 1:  June 8th, 2010                                      The Journey Begins

Daniel_1_Square.jpgThis morning I awoke extra early.  You see Nina told me the night before that if I wanted to take a shower, which would be my last for a number of days I would have to get up really early, before the family gets up, to take it.  Man that shower was so refreshing.  I mean I really soaked it in, you know it being my last shower for what I thought was a while.  So I shoved all my things in my back pack and got ready to leave.  Not really having any complete inclination of what I was in for.  All the kiddos were headed off to school that morning so I hitched a ride with them to the train station.  Michael and I bade farewell and I boarded the metro to the central station then off to Genova.  Walking toward the ticket office in the central station I heard something familiar to my ears, English.  Some fella came up behind me and asked where I was off to.  I did look like a traveler and so was he.  His name was Greg, a fellow patsy, from Seattle, Washington.  He was travelling around Europe on a little vacation and then was off to teach English to some Italian kids.  It was just like a breath of fresh air to spend some time in conversation with him.  We found out we were on the same train so almost the entire way we spoke together.  It was delightful.  We bade each other safe travels as I finally got off to my stop in Genova.  I find it so funny that the train ride there took about and hour and a half and then walking the same journey took me five days.  Traveling by technology is much more convenient.  

Once at the station I found myself entranced by the architecture of the building around me.  It was this incredible dome shaped room.  I mean something else really to be just an ordinary train station.  Here take a look (that's the outside I guess I didn't snap a photo of the inside, still impressive though):

On my way out of the station my eyes caught sight of a newsstand with maps.  I darted over there and found myself a map combo package of a map of Italia and Europa, for a reasonable price as well.  Perfect.  As I was browsing through the maps this fella came up to me.  He asked if I spoke English and started talking with me.  His name was Vitaly and he was from Amsterdam, Holland, but he was not Dutch, he was Russian.  It was great to have an English speaking companion for most of the day.  Vitaly and I walked around the city a lot.  We saw the water, old buildings, and good ole Chris Columbus' house, you know the guy that sailed the ocean blue in 1492.  Here are some pictures of what we saw in Genova:

There I am standing by the Mediterranean Sea, or at least the bay into that sea. 

Daniel_1_Water.jpg


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Great old buildings in Genova.

Daniel_1_Pillars.jpg

Vitaly and I spent about half a day together wandering through the city before I had to leave his company.  We said farewell and fare travels to each other and then I was off on my way.  The first stop for the day was an outdoor supply store to look for fuel for my stove.  The weather outside was a bit rainy and really overcast so it was rather cool to walk in.  After a good while of walking I made it to the store but came to a road block.  The fuel that they sold doesn't fit my stove.  So I had to buckle down and buy a new stove and fuel.  The gathered my things and head off to the road, SS 35 that would be my close companion for the next five days.  It was right after lunch that I set off on the journey North.

The road was on the other side of the city so after navigating my way there I set off toward Milano.  After I got out of all the business of the traffic and cars from the city the walk was marvelous.  It was still quite foggy and a bit rainy, but I didn't mind one bit, I was just enjoying it all.  Along the way I said "ciao" to some people here and there.  Here are some pictures of the views that I saw along the way:

The trek was quite mountainous and I guess it was good to start off with a big challenge than start right on the flats.  You see right off the coast in Italy is a pretty big mountain range that follows the coast and breaks into the alps.  The mountains were about the size of maybe the Appalachians so it wasn't all that bad. Next week is the killer, the Swiss Alps. 

As the day was slowly winding down I began to look for a place to lay my head and sleep.  It was quite hard to find some wooded areas in the mountains that would be flat and good for a tent so I just kept searching.  I asked this fella that was riding his bicycle by me what I should do.  His name was Angelo and he told me of a town not to far down the mountain that had a big river going through and I could find shelter under a bridge there.  So I kept on searching with my eyes along the way for the river and bridge Angelo spoke of.  I finally get to a town and it ended up being much larger than I thought.  So I walked and walked through the city and find a fairly large stream running through it with a couple bridges.  I find a way to get under the bridge and sit down on a ledge.  That is when things started to turn sour for me, mentally. 

You see I was starting more and more to feel the lonliness of this journey but it doesn't hit you as bad while you are moving, but as soon as I sat down under a bridge in a strange town, where I could understand no one.  I had a mental break down of fear.  I suddenly felt the huge overwhelming punch in the face of fear.  It almost knocked me down it was so bad.  I started feeling uneasy, afraid of being robbed or stabbed and I could not contact the ones I loved back home.  It was a miserable time for me.  So I started on giving up with the sleeping under a bridge idea and decided to sleep in a local hotel.  I went to the first on looking for a room, full, the second one, full.  I didn't know what to do.  Night had now fallen upon the small town and I began feeling uneasy.  My courage was regained a little when the fellow at the second hotel told me that the town was extremely quiet and there in absolutely no crime there.  And then Daren, my director on this whole thing called.  I explained my situation and he told me that I must have courage, be brave, and the only thing that will get me though this is my faith in the Lord. 

Daniel_1_Bridge.jpgI don't know if I have ever talked with any of you about faith or my faith in the creator God, but at this moment of my life my faith was the only thing I had left to cling to.  No one on this planet knew what I was struggling with and no one could really help me. There was nothing that anyone could say at that moment to change how I felt.   It was the Lord who is sovereign over all that gave me the strength to sleep under that bridge that night, and it was Him that watched over me then.  For the next five days this simple faith that I have within me was the only thing that kept me alive and going.  I understand that talking about faith and spiritually is something people shy from, but if you plan on reading more about this journey of mine you will have to realize that this trust in the Lord is the only thing that has, is, and will keep me alive for the next  84 or so days left.  So keep reading, there is more to come. 


 

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June 12, 2010
Daniels Video Blog!
Daniel's Video Blog

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June 6, 2010
The 3rd Earth Expedition Hiker Launches!

June 5th, 2010

                I am sitting here on the flight over seas to Milan, Italy.  It is extremely crowded and I can't help but feel like I'm smashed into a sardine can flying over an ocean.  The food on the flight was alright.  To be accepted as terrible, but it filled me up.  Let me just take you back a little bit in time though and talk about  what happened today. 

                Well last night my head was full of thoughts all revolving around if I was forgetting anything and what all I needed to bring.  Lets just say it was stressful, extremely.  I had this idea of all these things I wanted to do on my last night in town and instead I just gave up on all of them and opted to just work on my packing.  And boy I am glad I did that.  It saved me a whole lot of headaches this morning.  I woke up today with a long list of things that needed to be done before I left.  It seems that every time I have left to go out of the country or travel anywhere I always seem to leave things til the last minute.  And that is what I did.  I got up and immediately began rushing around making sure everything was done.  You see I am quite a perfectionist.  Not the kind that has some sort of mental deal where I have to have everything a particular way, but the kind that just wants everything tucked away real nice.  Only when I want them to be.  So my slight perfectionism hit me big time this morning.   For example I had a bunch of close friends over for pancakes a few hours before I was to leave and the entire time I was working putting  stuff away or packing stuff up.  I was a mess.  Anyway thankfully I can calmly relax here on my long flight over water.  Psyche.  The entire time I have been on this plane I keep thinking of that TV show "lost" and how  the plane crashed and I am trying to figure out who is jack and who is kate and who would I be best friends with and who is crazy.  Anyway back to today.

Daniel_and_friends.jpg                                                                                                                                                       

                The pancake breakfast was great.  Here is a picture of some of my close friends back home in Nashville, Tennessee and there is also my great little house in the background.  I don't own it of course, but rent it with some other great fellows.  After the breakfast I went with my good buddy Casey and his woman, Liz, to get some last minute things, then off to the airport. 

                Got checked in all right at the airport and found out my bag weighed in at 30 pounds, not too bad.   I think I can manage that.  Got through all the security mess.  Boy some people just can't take their time.  I mean everything is rush, rush, rush.  I try and take it easy and they bite my head off.  Well I got down to the gate and before I board the flight I spot a familiar face.  It turned out to be this fella named Jon that plays in a band with a friend of mine called Relient K.  Well we chat for a little while and get on board our flight to Atlanta.  I take a great nap and when I get off the flight there he is waiting for me.  My goodness let me tell you it was great to have someone to talk to in person as I walk to my next flight gate.  His ended up being right down the row from mine so we just chatted away until then.  We bade farewell and I got on board the long haul to Italy. 

               

 And that is where I am right now.   The fella to my left is in the Navy on his way back to base and the fella to my right is an Italian guy named Gino who works for NASA.  Him and I had a great conversation , struggling a good deal because he barely speaks English, about what I was doing and what he does and he taught me some Italian and showed me video footage of the shuttle landing that he worked on.  It was great.  Although I would love to ask him some day how hard it is to work constantly in America with rocket scientists and not being able to communicate at all really.  I guess for another day.  Well I land in Milan tomorrow morning and find a train to Genova where the following day I will begin this whole journey. 

Also let me leave you with this.  I'm reading "The Hobbit" and then all of the Tolkien "Lord of the Rings" trilogy during this expedition and it is so ironic reading about ole Bilbo Baggins trying to avoid adventure at all costs and it just comes right to his door step without him asking and seeing something similar in my own life.  It feels like I was the opposite in a way.  Searching for adventure for almost a year after I returned from Europe, but then when I gave up on it all, it all just came right on through my front door throwing me all alone walking through a continent.  Keep reading , maybe I'll catch a dragon.   Over and out. 

Daniel Allen Frazier II

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Show/Hide Comments (2)

amie

Jun-6 10:54pm

Woo hoo!!!!! Go catch that dragon, Mister! So awesome to see you out there. It's really happening:) Go shake the world up a little bit! We're so proud of you:) :) :)

Mike Lenda

Jun-7 9:42pm

Hey Daniel - we are so excited for you. Know that you have been on our thoughts and minds and prayers this week. We are excited to follow your journey. Thank you for what you are doing for our neighbors and friends in Africa. Peace.




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