Saturday, May 26, 2018

This ghost have a sad story to tell... The Wandering Writer

Here I am once again to tell you about ghosts, the real ghosts. Differently, than those narrated in my latest novel, those have once been living in this Earth, and they died. Nevertheless, they refused to leave for the eternal peace, believing to have still something left undone in this world.

The story I am going to tell you in this weekly post is the one of Guendalina Malatesta, born as the daughter of Ugolinuccio di Montebello and Costanza Malatesta.
The tale says that little Guendalina was born albino around the year 1370. At that time, albinos were considered having the mark of Satan. Fearing the superstition, and the reaction of the people, not to mention the risk for the very lives of those people, they were kept hidden for their whole life. The same happened to Guendalina Malatesta, whose parents tried to keep her away from everyone outside the castle.
The story goes on telling that she was regularly followed by two guards, to avoid that anything happened to her. Despite this, during the summer solstice, the 21st of June 1375, Guendalina was playing with a rag ball together with her two guards. During their play, the ball rolled away, down the stairs that lead to the 'nevaio,' which was an underground storage where the ice was kept to preserve food that was easy to decay (a sort of nowadays fridge).
She followed the ball down to the storage door and disappeared. The guards followed her, but she was never found, not alive or dead. She simply disappeared.
Now, one thing to be noted is that by the popular folklore, the day of the solstice has a powerful magic meaning. It is the day where the doors between the underworld and the real world might be opened and by sacrificing an albino virgin to one or another deity would have granted the members of the sect unusual powers. One of the many superstitions available within humanity...
The most accredited theory is that she might have been abducted with the help of the two guards and sacrificed during one rite.
Some rumors say that she can be heard playing or calling her mother for help, every five years during the summer solstice, but this is something I cannot guarantee.
What I can guarantee is how worthwhile is to pay a visit to the castle of Montebello.
Located close by San Marino between the Marecchia and Uso River in the region of Emilia Romagna in Italy, represent one of the best preserved medieval castles.
Likewise all the fortresses it has a very long and exciting history (ghosts apart). The first construction of the castle is from the Roman age, and it was a square base tower that is nowadays included inside the structure of the castle.
The first documented owner was of the year 1186 when the castle was sold by the family Mataldone to the family of Malatesta.
After this, the castle went through an intense rebuilding particularly concerning the building of the fortified walls, as it was neighbored by the Montefeltro family, ancient enemies of the Malatesta.
In the year 1393, the castle was conquered by the Montefeltro family, but in 1438, Pandolfo Malatesta was able to get it back and owned it until 1464, when the fortress thanks to the intervention of the Pontifical Army, was conquered by the actual owners the counts Guidi di Bagno.
Just like for many other destinations, I cannot tell you how enjoyable is the place and the nature surrounding it. If you are going to visit Italy, you might take your chance and pay a visit to the many castles and particularly to those who have a ghost in it!!
As usual, I wish you an awesome weekend, Stay tuned for new adventures of the Wandering Writer.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ghost hunting, would you dare? You're safe with the Wandering Writer


Hello Everybody! Yes, as the title already says, we are going for a short trip to the most haunted castles in Italy. I know you are wondering already why in Italy, and the reason lies in my best knowledge of the places and the history behind those castles and the ghosts who still seem to haunt those places.
We are starting our journey to one of the most interesting pieces of history, the Fortress of San Leo,a castle located between the two Central Italys regions Romagna and Marche. 
However, the most important fact bond to this place, besides being one of the residences of Duke Federico da Montefeltro, was the fact that its dungeons hosted the final years of the life of Alessandro Count of Cagliostro (born Giuseppe Balsamo on June 2nd, 1743).

Now, everyone interested in occultism and mysticism might have heard at least once in the life of the Count of Cagliostro, alchemist, traveler, adventurer, freethinker, and heretic.
For those who dont, the Count of Cagliostro, after a life spent traveling around Europe, being hosted by dignitaries and kings, returns in Italy and founds a secret Freemasons lodge, for which during the years of the Inquisition in Italy he will be accused of heresy. At those times heresy was sentenced to death, however, thanks to the intervention of the pope Pio IV, the death sentence is transformed into life imprisonment.
Now at this time, I am not sure it would have been better being sentenced to death rather than to life imprisonment. Particularly because of the inhumane conditions the prisoners were kept at those times
In fact, the cell where he was detained was the most secure and isolated, but also the darkest and moist. He was not allowed to talk with anyone, not even with the guards. If this was not considered enough also books, paper and pen (and inkwell) were forbidden to him. Like this was not enough to make anyone wish for death, he was then transferred to another cell, called Il pozzetto (the little well). Already the name doesnt promise anything good, and in fact, it wasnt, and the little well was really a well. It was a very small cell accessed only by a cavity on its roof. Nowadays, there is a door opened to allow visitors to enter the place.
This is a brief note just to understand the dark history of the Fortress of San Leo. Lets talk about the ghost of Cagliostro that is said to haunt the place. I am the most skeptical person in this world, and I do not easily believe in occultism, but since I have been living for most of my life in a house that could convince everybody about the existence of ghosts, I decided to have a visit to that Fortress too.
It is said that the ghost of the Count, being used to the solitude, doesnt appreciate the presence of people, and particularly doesnt appreciate the fact that visitors are bringing with them their cameras. Many people said that their batteries got progressively down as they approach the room.
You dont get to see any ghosts in the way horror movies suggest, but you are suddenly grabbed by a sense of anguish that grabs your heart. You feel as it would be something that saturates the air, like hands that grab your lungs restricting the breathing. Looking at the small window, you feel something about that man sitting for five years in that room looking at the sky, wishing for freedom or even death. People, generally bring some flowers in honor of the poor prisoner, as regardless his heresy, no one deserves this kind of fate.
Incredible to say, that feeling seems to disappear immediately as soon as one leaves the cell, but dont look back; those feeling will grab you one more time.
Something else you want to see is the town of San Leo. It is a very small town of a bit less than 3000 inhabitants in the municipality of Rimini, and it is dated pre-roman without any certain date about the time of its foundation. As you can see from the pictures, walking might be challenging, being built for strategic reasons, on a cliff, but its beauty and history will be well worth some physical stress.
Moreover, if you go during the summer, this can be a great reason to have a tasty gelato observing the valley and enjoying its sweet beauty.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Observing and observing... the Wandering Writer gets a bit lost.



Oh, I should have known that since the beginning. Last week threat wasnt really followed by many people like generally it happened for other blog posts.
The reason is not that the post was not good enough or interesting enough. Instead, I think it was quite a funny adventure I had, the problem was that there werent pictures. People werent intrigued to click the link to go and read my blog because it was just text. Of course, this is something that even children know if you want some engagement to offer something visual, dont just shout out the fact that a new issue is out, please go and check.
NOTE TO SELF: always put pictures on your blog. If it happens as the last time, and you dont have any pictures, get the permission to use others people pictures.
So today topic is something curious which some of you might have the curiosity to try to experience what is the most incredible life cycle in the world.  
The life cycle of a butterfly.
So, we all know that the butterflies make eggs during the summer, from which a caterpillar is born and lives its life for the whole summer as a caterpillar feeding itself, trying not to become a tasty snack for the birds. In Fall, the caterpillar will search for a place where to pupate in a chrysalis. It takes an entire winter for the pupa to transform into a butterfly, and in spring it will get out of the chrysalis in its beauty, spending some time to spread the wings, dry them and fly away towards new adventures.
It is not unusual that in September I gather one caterpillar, put it in a large glass container with a lot of food and soil.
With the time she will dig a hole and pupate. Last September I gathered the caterpillar of an Elephant Hawk-moth.
The whole winter I have been kept it at a temperature between -1 and -10 Celsius. As soon as the weather started to be milder and the flowers started to bloom, I took her to a warmer place, just to let her understand that the time to wake up has arrived and she might want to speed up the final stages of the transformation.
A few weeks ago, on a nice morning, this beauty decided that it arrived the time to open the zipper of the chrysalis, spread the wings and fly to new adventures.
I have done it before, but every time it gives me a very intense feeling, fills my heart with joy and makes me long for the fall to come to gather a new one. In the meanwhile, I continue to observe the nature behind the lens of my camera, trying to get new content for my album and for my memories.
Hope you enjoyed this interesting experience.
Have a lovely weekend wherever you are!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Trip down Memory Lane - trekking from Germany to Luxemburg


Recently, thinking about the good old times, when I was still a student at the University of Tübingen, it came back to my mind an old journey. The only regret I have is not having my own pictures. Back in the days when digital cameras were still a novelty, also their prices were not affordable, and students life is notoriously cheap.
So, here it was the plan that took us, two friends of mine and I, on the road for one week walking from Tübingen (Germany) to Luxembourg. The route was covered both by walking (which was the most interesting and also demanding part of the journey) and by train/bus.
It would have been nice to walk the whole distance, but I have to admit that to walk 300 km would have taken more than just 7 days, so we needed a compromise. The journey was planned meticulously on schedule, routes, and hostels where to sleep.
For people who are in good physical shape, this is a highly recommended trip, as you get to travel through the beauties of the sweet landscapes of Southern Germany, especially the Rhine Valley, which is one of the most enchanting places.
I also suggest having a small group, avoid being alone, as it might get really stressing, and if something happens in the middle of the forest, you might be on your own. I considered that a group of three people was the ideal, at least for us, and since incidents have happened all along the way, I was glad not to be alone.
The episode I will remember for the rest of my life was when in the middle last leg of our journey, close to Luxembourg border, and in the middle of the forest, too far to come back from the town we left and from any other inhabited places was when the soles of my trekking shoe detached from the rest of the shoe. It was only on one side, but I can assure you, in that moist environment, I had my feet soaked in seconds.
It felt like walking on mud barefoot.
We tried to fix it the best we could and decided to continue our journey to the next leg we scheduled. NOTE TO SELF, dont plan any journey with a strict schedule, keep it as flexible as possible. The problem was that I could not find a shoe shop for a big part of our journey. This brought me to the decision to continue my journey to Luxembourg by train/bus, waiting for my mates to reach the destination after three days. Luckily, we all had mobile phones so we could keep in touch.
It was sad that I could not walk with them, and that I could share only half of the trip in their company, but my feet could not really stand that condition.
Therefore, I reached Luxembourg city comfortably, got my new shoes, which felt like a blessing, and could explore the city, something that couldnt be done if I was to stick to the schedule.
So, a couple of words about Luxembourg city. Architecturally speaking, it is a nice blend of Southern Germany and Eastern France. The language spoken is Luxembourgish, French and German which are the three official languages. Lets say that you can survive with English, but youd better have at least a small knowledge of one of those three. It seems like when you say that you have been on holiday in Luxembourg, many people might look at you like to say why in the world would you go there? What is there so interesting to be seen?
Well, besides being a very enchanting city, it is everything, but a boring destination and you might find out that perhaps it is worth to plan a longer holiday to discover all the beauties it holds, mostly from the historical places. The history, if you are going to research it a bit, is quite complex for such a small country, and being underestimated is something to be expected.
Moreover, I would have also liked to take a tour outside the city, as Luxembourg is a very diverse country accommodating different cultures, and heritage.
At that time, I was lucky because I had a good knowledge of German, (which Ive lost to learn Finnish). Another good point was that I could stay in the city and visit it for a longer time than my other two travel mates, which arrived as scheduled within three days, and after a small tour, we took a train/bus combination to reach Tübingen in a short time.
I am really sorry for not having any picture to show you, I had only paper photos, and I tried to scan them, but the result was quite unsatisfactory. I promise to go back and update this blog post with new pictures that can give you a better idea of the place.

Are we really happy?

This is a post about the myth behind the happiest country in the world: Finland. Once again, Finland has been declared the happiest country ...