For those of you who’ve read my Camino memoir, The Way, My Way, (which, by the way, now has 297 five star reviews on Amazon. Cheeky plug, I know!) – well, featured prominently in that book were two delightful larger-than-life pilgrims from Northern Italy, Ivan the Terrible and His Beautiful Wife Giovanna.
Ivan and Giovanna helped me greatly during my walk, and we shared many a laugh together. They are hilarious! After the Camino we kept in touch and when Jennifer and I visited Italy a few years back we spent time with them in their home in the glorious ancient city of Bergamo.
I started to worry about them when I heard that Bergamo, in particular, had been savagely devastated by the coronavirus. Here’s a recent news report:
The northern Italian city of Bergamo, which is the nation’s worst-hit by the coronavirus, received help from the military Thursday to transport bodies to nearby towns to be cremated.
A convoy of at least 10 military trucks arrived in Bergamo, which sits northeast of Milan in the Lombardy region, to pick up coffins from the city crematorium and several morgues overwhelmed by the recent spike of deaths.
Bergamo is the most heavily hit town in Italy by the coronavirus outbreak, recording at least 93 deaths and at least 4,305 cases in the city as of Wednesday.About 60 percent of Bergamo’s roughly 120,000 residents could be infected by the novel virus.
I tried to call Ivan but got no response. But then last night I got this email, replete with wonderful typos and grammaticals:
Hello dears Jennefer and Bill
The situation is really very very bad, moreover Bergamo is the centre of the problem but at the moment we are very well.
We are both retired now, so when we came back in Italy we stopped at our home at the Garda Lake. So after 18 days of absolute isolation we stay really well. In this period there are nobody around our home, once a week we go out to buy food at the supermarket.
Unfortunately only now the people has understand the gravity of the situation, so we hope it could be better. It is really a nightmare , every day we receive bad news from our relatives and friends about people who is ill or dead.
We followed your blog when the fire devastated your Country. How is the situation now? And about Coronavirus Covid 19?
Thank you very much for your thought . In this moment it is very important to fell the warm of our friends .
A big hug to Jennifer and you . Giovanna and Ivan
When Ivan’s email came through Jennifer and I breathed a big sigh of relief. They are two very special people, and I hope they stay fit and well.