Asahikawa to Furano – Haikus

Today we had to options for riding from Asahikawa to Furano.
One group the focus was on flower watching: Hana-mi 花見
(花 – Hana -flower, and 見 – mi – see)
And the other one the focus was hard Pedaling in the mountains.

I chose to be a 花見 today.
And on the way I heard several Haikus:


Colorful flowers on the side of the road
Came out to say Hi!
Lifting spirits high.

Being the mind in the here and now,
The Haiku brought a flower,
Now the Haiku, the flower and I are Pedaling together.


The sagging bird’s thoughts about togetherness

O sagging bird
Who flies high
and from above
every thing can see.
Your bird’s eye panoramic view
Allows you to see
The old as new
as you fly over the sea.
How can you stay with the flock
If you fly at your own pace?

The old and wise sagging bird said:
Togetherness does not require
Constant physical proximity
What does this mean?
You may inquire.
This is simple,
The flock and I
See with the same eye.
In Chinese and Japanese,
Together means , 一道, ー島

一道 – one path, yīdào in Chinese, ichido in Japanese
ー島 – one island, yi Shima

We fly in the same path,
We perch on the same island,
But some in the flock
Flap energetically their wings,
Propelled to the night’s 島 (perching island)
They want to arrive fast,
And none wants to be the last…

As I fly and everything under the sun I see,
People pressed by time I have seen,

As I fly and the beauty and wisdom of nature behold,
The Japanese expression 幽玄 – Yugen – flies together with me…

幽玄 – Yugen – subtle grace; hidden beauty; yugen; mysterious profundity; elegant simplicity; the subtle and profound.
An awareness of the Universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words.



As I fly I contemplate the clouds in heaven and Earth:


As I fly, I stop and make a pause…


I perch on top of a tree,


And immerse myself in 森林浴 – Shin Rin yoku – Forest bathing


I stop and talk with people, they do not see many multicolored birds flying over these parts, and are curious to know on which islands I’m perching…
But I only chirp and quack, and they speak Japanese but neither chirp not quack, but somehow we understand each other and share a smile…


I briefly land by a waterfall…
And then continue my flight towards tonight’s perching Island, where together with the rest of the flock we perch and dine…


Toyako to Onuma – Pedaling together as a group

Six birds high in the air,
Were requested to stay together as a group,
But what does it mean to stay together?
The answer my friend is flying with the birds.

One bird is laggnig slightly behind,
What do you do to fly as a group?
We ask the sagging bird…

Chirp Chirp, Quack Quack, here I come!
He said…

Enjoying the beautiful view as I fly, he added…

In the midst of beautiful surroundings,
Shall we bypass Wonder
By speedily pedaling yonder?

Haikus: Hamatombetsu to Nayoro

In the carless road
 A  poem without words,
Silence speaks…
In a carless road
A riderless bicycle,
Pedaling through the Gateless Gate
In a carless road
Green mountains in the background
Flowers watch bicyclist go by…
In a carless road
The forest’s sweet scent
Lungs overjoyed…

Gran Finale

Today is our journey’s culmination as we ride from Lecce to Santa Maria di Leuca.




Lunch with a view…


We had lunch in the outskirts of this Village known for its thermes.


After lunch we went in our way towards Santa Maria di Leuca, often spelled simply Leuca (Greek: Λευκή, from Leukos, “white”), is a frazione of the comune of Castrignano del Capo, in the province of Lecce (Apulia), southern Italy. A part of the town once belonged to the comune of Gagliano del Capo.

Santa Maria di Leuca is famous for the iconic lighthouse (picture below). With its height of 47 metres, and position at 102 metres above sea level, is the second most important lighthouse in Italy, after Genova. Next to the lighthouse is the large Sanctuary, or Basilica, De Finibus Terrae (“End of the Land”, 1720-1755), built to commemorate the passage of St. Peter here during his travel to Italy. It is devoted to Saint Mary (from whom the town gets the name Santa Maria di Leuca). It lies on the former site of a Roman temple dedicated to Minerva. The edifice has a fortified structure, and during its existence it sustained several assault by Algerian pirates. In the same site, a Corinthian column was erected in 1939 to celebrate the construction of the Apulian Aqueduct (Acquedotto Pugliese). The basilica is connected to the port through a 284-step staircase.






Epilogue: We concluded our journey but the experience, the dream and memories traveled with us back home… The trip was an antipasto, an appetizer, opening the appetite for more… Other dreams will follow this one…


Albero Bello to Lecce

Famous for its unusual trulli homes, Alberobello is a pleasant place to stay or to visit while touring Puglia

About Alberobello


Alberobello, in the region of Puglia in southern Italy, is a strange and picturesque destination which is becoming an important fixture on the travel itineraries of tour operators as well as independent travellers. The small town has been made a UNESCO World Heritage site for its unusual districts of trulli, the characteristic white-washed conical-roofed houses of the area. It makes an interesting day-trip destination or a pleasant base for a few days – especially if you stay in a trullo of your very own.

What is a trullo?

A trullo is a small dwelling built from the local limestone, with dry-stone walls and a characteristic conical roof. It is a traditional and simple type of structure which you’ll see dotted around this part of Puglia, sometimes in its most basic form used as a kind of shed among the olive groves. The story behind Alberobello, once a town of trulli alone, is a typically Italian one: its design was to fiddle taxes and fool the authorities. The local feudal lord, Count Acquaviva, moved his peasant workers here to clear woodland and cultivate the land. To wriggle around laws and taxes, it was important that Alberobello didn’t class as an inhabited settlement. So until 1797, when Alberobello was finally given ‘town’ status, the people had to live in trulli, which could be dismantled in a hurry when necessary.

The buildings are usually square and have very thick stone walls, constructed without mortar. The thickness strengthens the structure and also helps regulate the internal temperature. The roof is actually a dome, as you can see when you enter one of the buildings, but is almost invariably built up on top into a cone shape, topped with a spire. There is generally a central room, with additional living spaces in arched alcoves. Residential trulli are smartly whitewashed, and their roofs are often decorated with fanciful painted symbols supposed to have religious or superstitious significance. The fanciness of the spire decoration was something of a status symbol: it showed the builders’ skill and thus the spending power of the owners. Frequently the houses consist of more than one trullo roof: they are more like trullo complexes crowned with several roof-cones.


It was raining all the night and it was raining as we woke up. Near 11:00 am the rain stopped and half of the group decided to ride to Lecce while the other half decided to ride in the Van. I opted to ride in the Van and there were no more pictures for today’s route.

The Masseria Coccioli (Coccioli farm) where we stayed was an extremely beautiful, peaceful and interesting place as you can see from the pictures below:


Fiona, Douglas and Bill..


Our three guides: Giussepe, Guali and Lieven…


The picture below is of the Masseria owners, a Swedish couple who had a dream. Looking and dreaming about an adventure they decided to move to the Mediterranean and were looking for a place to buy and make a Bed and Breakfast style of place… They searched through France, Spain and Italy and an acquaintance told them about an abandoned Masseira in ruins that was for sale. They bought the Masseria, restored and renovated it and we had a very pleasant stay over there. and enjoyed a very delicious dinner and breakfast.


They enjoy the Masseria and their fulfilled dream in the company of their cat below and several dogs that bark when a vehicle arrives.


There are many Masseiras in this region and most of them have been transformed into restaurants and lodgings. The book below had many pictures of Fortified and Villa style Masserias…