Memories of Monte Capanno 1970, Page Nine: Trips Taken around Italy and Europe

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Kris Kagan in Rome
Learning about Italy and Europe: Not at Monte Capanno only:
(ticket provided by Mark Fissel)
Everyone took trips off the farm; share with your memories about where you went, and what you did that was of interest, while you lived at Monte Capanno.

Assisi: "[Life at Monte Capanno] was the foundation for working out my "karmic" relationships on a spiritual level... I was unprepared and unconscious of how this is reflected in the physical body.  ...[T]he turning point was when I got tired of the pain in my knee and not being able to do anything, not getting better, and missing out.  So, when Christine Klyce and Krissie [Kagen] and someone else left for Assisi, I had wanted to go so bad that I made myself get on the bus (I had missed the one they took.) alone and go there myself and find them.  I assumed (youth!) that it was a very small town and I would naturally find them at the tomb of St. Francis.  Well, when I got there, it was much bigger than I thought and the tomb at Assisi is at the top of stairs.  To me, it seemd like a thousand steps to take to the top!  (It wasn't that many - maybe 20 to 30.) I got to the top, went inside and asked to see St. Francis' tomb.  I was told it was all the way at the bottom of the shrine in the catacombs.  I was devastated!  I was in so much pain from climbing the steps one struggle at a time that to imagine going down was impossible.  I "cowgirled-up" as we say here and went down a spiral staircase surrounded by cold stone walls.  It was just big enough for one person to go up or down... I got down at the bottom and just prayed for a healing because the pain was unbearable.  I was praying from the bottom of my heart and soul to St. Francis who I have honored for his love of animals since a child.  Next thing I knew I heard the laughter of Krissie Kagen and Christine Carpenter and started up the steps in shear joy that I ran into them.  I had thought that I would not find them after seeing that Assisi was not as small as I had imagined and that they were not at St. Francis' tomb when I arrived.  So, as I was slowly going up the steps and they were coming down the steps on this single spiral staircase, I discovered I was no longer in any pain!!!  Now explain that one!!!  So, the rest of my trip in Europe kept going like that." (by Sandee)


"It had started snowing Sunday, when we drove over the mountains to Gubbio with Gordon and Linda and Craig and Cathy.  Bit of snow on the way.  Bid of moedival (sic) city.  Craig and Linda and Gordon stole a candle apiece from the church there.  Just before the lady came and turned the lights on and told [us] of the restoration.  Then a prezzo fisso meal in a resturant (sic) down a cobbled alley, with photos on the wall of the men and ladies who came from Rome to make a movie in the medieval city of Gubbio, that nestles at the base of a hill that rises up and up like a California hill by the coast except itís terraced with vineyards and little orchards.  The hill was covered with snow, very postcard.  The meal was good with not much meat by very made.  And the e z wine was white not red.  Then we drove over the mountain back toward Perugia and Monte Capanno.  But it was really snowing.  These little Topolinos that most people use for cars in Italy were slithering all over the place, like trying to walk up a steep hill slantwise only it didnít work and alot of them got stuck.  Someone would get out of a Toppolino push a bit then jump on the bumper and hold on in his sports jacket as the snow came down in balls.  But the Low Flying Whale could pass left right and center, go straight through at about 40 kilometers and (sic) hour.  Very exciting.  Gordon and Linda and Craig and Cathy would get in the back of the van, sit on the spare tires over the wheels, to hold the car steady when the wheels started to spin.  And Maija kept wiping the window clear of snow and singing out when there was a Toppolino in the road.  After a half hour we reached the top.  The rest was easy.  Toppolinos were getting stuck in the opposite direction, coming up from Perugia.  Like wheeled hedgehogs, scuttling through snow." (from the Diary of David Zack, Feb. 17-18, 1970... go here to read more)

"Gordon, Craig, Kathy, Maija, David and I went to the small town of Gubbio.  While we were there, a beautiful blanket of snow fell on Monte Capanno. The ride home was an adventure, but it was the most beautiful sight." (from Linda's letters, Feb. 17, 1970... go here to read more)

Rainieri Castle: "Drove out with Count Andrea in our car, David Zack and others following in Dave's van, to the Rainieri castle, according to Andrea the most beautiful in Italy.  It really was beautiful, especially from inside, glorious trees, flowers, a sweeping view over Umbrian hills green through blue to violet in the distance.  Andrea had asked the owner of the castle, also a Count (or Prince, or Duke, I'm not sure), to give us a tour.  So there we were, the two Counts followed by a ragged train of sloppy classless American students.  Rainieri, a wide-hipped phlegmatic man, explaining the family tree to [deleted] 'Ms. Mangia,' who is not impressed.  Then rooms, stairways, a balustrade along the side of one wall overlooking various farmsteads. Pictured myself as a brightly clad prince or one of his guards surveying the doings of the laboring serfs, cold eyes and pride of power.  More rooms and stairs--some stairs have oval holes with iron gratings.  Count Rainieri explains this was for pouring boiling oil on people, and also to see who was following you up the stairs.  Dave says you could drop flowers through there, and Maija suggests butterflies.  More rooms, a huge library.  Paintings of precious objects and materials, brocade and silver, a rather gross concentration on sheer sumptuousness." (from the Diary of Joel Agee, May 21, 1970... go here to read more)

Ripa: "...This guy Mike went to Rome and some guy GAVE him a Lambretta, a small motor scooter.  Gordon and I went for a drive through the country side.  We passed oxen and donkeys and rode through little towns waving and saying Bon Giorno to everyone and they all smiled back and waved...  When we came back, Andrea told us about a Marquis on the next hill who had a big castle.  He invited us to come, so 5 of us piled into his car and 4 into Craig's and we zoomed over.  It was a crazy drive.  He's got a Fiat and pulled the top down and stood up as he was driving... we all stood too and it was quite a sight to see us careening around the roads.  It was an interesting visit.  Afterwards, we stopped in the town of Ripa and went to a bar where we got drunk, ate ice cream and played pinball.  I think everyone in the whole town came out and watched us in amazement." (from Linda's letters, April 1970... go here to read more)

Country roads: "The other day, a bunch of us decided to go to Gubbio, which is  only about a 30 minute drive, but we found a beautiful mountain road and got carried away and ended up in Ancona, on the Adriatic.  It was a crazy and fun day." (from Linda's letters, April 1970... go here to read more)

A trip through Firenze (Florence):  "About Kris Kagan... I traveled down to Italy with Kris Kagan, and I think, Sandy White, and Christine Klyce. We turned quite a few heads, as Kris with her wonderful curly hair and bra-less Batman T-shirt was a striking image. We checked most of our bags in the train station and found ourselves a pension in Florence as a rest stop before Columbella Bassa. The next day, Kris took to her bed. The rest of us went back to the station to pick up our stuff. One of the station workers approached us, and as near as I could tell, he said, 'Yesterday, there were three girls and one woman. Today, there are three girls, but where is the woman?' We figured out that Italians separated girls from women by hair style--the rest of us had long straight hair, but Kris' hair was cut & styled...  We raised quite a stir with the maids at the pension. When we got back, several were standing in our bathroom giggling and pointing to the bidet where some of us (not me, I didn't know what it was for) were soaking dirty socks...  (by Mary Zuccaro Charvat)

Another recollection of Firenze: "I was in the middle of such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience something different from what I knew -- and by that I mean Italy and Europe; I already knew how to be a hippie, maybe not a very good one, but one nonetheless.

"When I left and headed for Florence, it was incredible:  the Uffizi, Michelangelo's Pieta, Fiesole Heights and this wonderful woman Mamma Lola who sold the best food in the world at dirt-cheap prices to students (and unfortunatly went out of business because of it), learning Italian, then later watching a movie in Lisbon in Portuguese with French subtitles -- man, it would take weeks to write of all the wonderful and wonderous things" (by Darrell Jones, April 2002).

Strikes and demonstations were common. Who has recollections of scenes like this one during their trips off the farm?  "Thanks to Marti Kramer for submitting the superb shot of the political demonstration. It jogged a memory. I was staying with Luigi Cecchi, Fabio, Paolo and the gang in Florence and someone suggested we stroll over to a demonstration that was occuring (in the Piazza della Republica?). Apparently members of a fascist-leaning organization were haranguing the crowd, and the Partita Comunista Italiana (so Luigi said) decided to challenge them. I remember shouting, but above all recall how the crowd surged back and forth, which made one feel as if on a raft in a heaving sea. From what I recollect, the fascists counterattacked, and everyone scattered. I had no idea what was going on really, but Luigi grabbed me by the shoulders and thrust me under a parked Fiat (yeah, were were pretty lean back then). That incident, anomolous or not, has shaped my view of modern European politics. (by Mark Fissel, September 2001).

Another perspective on Street Politics: "I believe I saw the same Fascist/Communist confrontation in Florence that Mark describes, albeit from a possibly safer, more upright position. One of our Italian friends, a colorful young man named Fausto Gliozzi, considered himself a communist. It seemed to me that Italian kids had no 'green' leanings then whatsoever, and were primarily occupied with model or car or scooter, etc. That made me realize how insular my world view was until I went abroad.

"Anyway, somehow kids blended what seemed to me to be a materialistic, style-conscious view with communism. I thought it kind of contradictory or maybe shallow, but knew that was only from my perspective.

"I recall walking with Fausto and other friends and seeing fleeing individuals; I think we were intentionally going to this event, but memories are foggy. Things got more crowded and confused as we went forward. I remember finally seeing a little tank with a water cannon, a surreal sight to me. (Why after Berkeley that should be so I have no idea.) The left wing kids around me would run up, throw something to get the attention of the police or fascists, and then run away. It seemed like a game.

"The fascists, on the other hand, didn't seem to be kidding. They seemed a different sort -- quite serious and brutal. It was a side of Italian culture that I had not seen. I wonder whether the 'communist' phenomenon was mostly a reaction to these people.

"Anyway, like Mark, I used it as kind of a reference point for Italian politics -- just enough to know that it was something a bit different than what I was familiar with." (by Darrell Jones, April 2002)

Making Friends in Florence: "One of the fun things that happened while I lived in Florence was running into some of the soccer team Celtic, from Glasgow, Scotland. Celtic was I believe in town to play Fiorentina (I think the name makes more sense knowing that the Firenze's old name was Fiorenza).
"The guys were BIG solid guys -- defenders would be my bet, I didn't follow Celtic in those days -- and pretty beered up. (I was wondering if it was before the game or after.) They were delighted to run into somebody who spoke English (beer is great, isn't it?). I later kicked myself mentally for not saying "what the heck" and wrangling a ride to Glasgow in the team van.
"Now, there are more connections between Florence and Glasgow than one might think. Florence was the seat of the Renaisance, Glasgow was the seat of the Industrial Revolution. The incredible Glasgow artist Rennie Mackintosh was quite influenced by Italian art.
"Discovering connections was one of the things that made Tutorials truly a delight for me." (Darrell Jones, April 2002).

Positano:  "Like all of us, we travelled extensively around Italy: to Rome three times, five times to Firenze, to Pisa, Lucca, Siena, and many memorable other places around Umbria and Tuscany.  But two of our trips away from Monte Capanno made especially lasting impressions on me.  First, Linda and I went to Positano, south of Naples, a dazzlingly beautiful spot on the Amalfi Coast.  There we made friends with people on the periphery of the 'Living Theatre', with actors connected to the film director Antonioni, and with the American rock musician Shawn Phillips.  If you never have been to Positano, rent the Marisa Tomei film "Only You," which in part is set there.  I think we fell in love in Positano, and a Thomas McKnight print of the place still hangs in our dining room." (by Gordon)

Yugoslavia:Barb Hemsted with some new friends on her Yugoslavian trip

"A second important trip for Linda and me was a Spring Break journey to the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, to Mostar and Sarajevo in Bosnia, and across Bosnia to the capital of Serbia (Belgrade), though at the time all these places were called by the deceptively homogeneous term "Yugoslavia."  The experiences there with those nationalities and with their encounter with communism helped form an interest that colors my teaching to this day." (by Gordon)

"Had a fine time in Yugoslavia, but didn't make it to Romania.  The interior of Eastern Europe just turned us off: too poor, with a sort of quiet hostility toward 'outsiders'.  Made it to Beograd, the capital city, which was very modern in parts, and near-Neandrathal in others.  Lots of class contrasts in the 'Classless' Communist society.  The coast was hot, clear and beautiful and the bulk of our jaunt was spent hitch-hiking up and down it to different rocky beaches." (from Gordon's letters, May 23, 1970, to read more please go here)

"If my cards from Yugoslavia haven't gotten there yet, we gave up on Romania after a heavy time in the interior of Yugoslavia.  Lots of big black shiny new Mercedes get dusty carrying the Party men from metropolis to towns via those tasty dirt highways they like so well.  At least the country was Alp-like and the vast forest lands occupied my eyes so I didn't have to look much at the rag wearing peasants pulling their own plows!" (from Gordon's letters, May 27, 1970, to read more please go here)

"Gordon & Linda happily returned from Yugoslavia last night to a big hamburger dinner.  French fries and fruit salad.  We made ketchup to go with SALTED bread.  The day before yesterday Terre and I made crullers for Mike and Mary's trip to Paris and for the whole group.  That was the day Mark F. came back from Ibiza." (from Cathee's diary, May 19, 1970, to read more please go here)

"I traveled alone by thumb through Yugoslavia before it was closed off and the wars broke out and was not afraid that I would get hurt.  I was taken in there by a large elder man who reminded me of the "grandfather" in the movie "Heidi" with Shirley Temple.  I never communicated a word to him nor he to me, but he put me up for the night and must have helped to the boat to Italy.  I never went to the normal tourist places other than Paris.  I seemed to be more comfortable just living and being with the common folk of the places I went.  The memories are more of the kind of 'feelings' and events that led one to another." (by Sandee, November 2000)

"[Returning from Greece] I got off in Yugoslavia and hitched by myself (no fear) up through the mountains to the next city to take the boat to Italy nearest Florence and then onto Perugia.   While in Yugoslavia, I was picked up by an older man in full white beard with long hair.  He was the lumberjack type and reminded me of the grandfather in 'Heidi'.  Not a word was spoken, but somehow he took me to where I needed to go.  I did not socialize in Yugoslavia much.  Traveling alone as an American female was risky at best.  I just put my blinders up and kept on trekking toward the goal.  I was shocked when the Yugoslavia that I had traveled in was the subject of such controversy and wars.  I remembered it like the movie 'Heidi' because of the old man who took me to my next stop.  I'm not sure how I made it through there by myself! (by Sandee, December 2000)

Greece: "When Wes & I were on a ferry to Crete, a man who had gone to the Krishnamurti dialogues in Saanen came out of nowhere to hand me a copy of "Freedom from the Known," a book he bought at the talks.  It was printed in English, but was pencil-translated in Greek along the margins.  I kept it to read throughout our stay in Matala (while Wes read "Dune" and Jung).  It changed my perspective on everything. Then that mysterious Greek came (out of nowhere again) to retrieve his book.  Memory is a strange thing.  It keeps things just out of reach at times." (by Cathee)
Jan and Kris in Greece
The Island Without Men"Krissie Kagan went to Greece before I did with another group of MC70 members.  Deirdre Rainer and I decided it sounded so good, that we finally left later and buddied up with two other fellas on the boat going over there and were convinced to get off at the first stop on the island of Ithaca or "Ithaci" - the Greek island known in the myths as the island without men.  The gentleman who invited us to stay there was returning to visit his mother, aunts, sisters and grandparents.  He gave us the brief history about the Greeks fighting the wars in ancient days and the men had to leave the island to protect their families.  So, the women stayed behind with the children and the older men.  From what he told us, this had not changed.  We were fascinated and took him up on getting off the boat there and stay for the week until the boat came again.  The whole town greeted us at the pier with baskets of food and high pitched sounds of greetings and hugs galour.   Two fellas from America latched onto the idea of coming with Deirdre and me.  We were glad because we didn't quite know what we were getting into.  A procession of the whole town led us down the road into the town on foot.  The women would smile at us and shake their heads back and forth wiggling the cherries that hung over their ears like earrings.  I couldn't believe I was there - it was like I was in a movie - was this real? The four of us Americans were given a house to live in for the time we were there.  It was painted white inside and out - all plaster (at least that is what it looked like).  No electricity, no running water, no commode, no heat.  I don't even remember if there were beds.  The seats were molded out of the walls and I think so were the sleeping areas.  With backpacks in hand, we had everything that we needed.  After a week, I had this strong urge to leave with the next boat and get back to Perugia to meet up with Cathee.  I wasn't too good at  speaking the languages and got on the boat that went to Italy.  (by Sandee, December 2000)
Spain and Morocco: Many of the Monte Capanno residents and guests enjoyed trips to Spain  and the islands of Ibiza and Mallorca nearby.  This photo commemorates a stop in Cadaques, Spain by Mark Fissel and Chris Klyce. What memories do Monte Capanno residents and guests have of their time in Spain?
"Big Larry" Stanley and Kris Kagan sunned in Spain

"When we left Monte Capanno in June 1970, Linda and I were headed for Spain.  Linda had spent time on Ibiza in 1968, and we craved the warm sun and cheap living that Franco-era Spain offered.  But on our way across France, we got picked up by a wonderful French woman who drove us not west but north to Lyon, then returned to pick us up the next morning and drove us the rest of the way to Paris.  Such a great, long ride could not be passed up, so our trip to Spain was deferred until after we toured Paris, visited Linda's great uncle and family in London, and spent some fun times in Amsterdam, Denmark, and Norway.  When we eventually reached Barcelona in July, we were ready to do the beach big time, and found a lovely coastal village north of there, San Pol del Mar, where we absorbed summer.  Eventually, we pulled ourselves away from the charms of Barcelona and the Costa Brava, and ventured south to Malaga, hoping to go on to Morocco.  But that junket proved impossible: the ticket sellers would not let a 'hippie' with such long hair as mine set off for Morocco.  Thus, we stayed in Europe, and missed a step onto the African continent where another of our Monte Capanno group (Cathee) has reported that she 'nearly was sold into white slavery'.  Ironically, on a Friday early in the semester when our daughter Lisa was attending the University of Valencia (Spain) in Spring 2000, we returned home to find a phone message reporting 'Hi Mom.  I'm leaving in ten minutes for Morocco.  I'll call you when I get back on Monday'.   Needless to say, we were a bit uneasy until that latter call came: we only then learned that she had not set off alone, but with a group of American students had visited Tangiers, and had returned safely from the exotic and dangerous place her parents had sought to go, but were denied."  (by Gordon Bowen, January 2001).

Morocco: (photo is of Sandee White in Morocco) "I actually remember the trip quite fondly.   There by the grace of God we went. How else can you explain me (and unnamed innocents) running around the medina in Marrakech braless and in cutoffs-up-to-here and coming back to the western world unscathed? Others would have countless other (and better) tales to tell. Actually, I see Hollywood being interested in our story. Probably wouldn't need much embellishing, eh? Do we have a screenwriter in the group? (Look at the 'HAIR' revival).  And we DID have GREAT hair!" (by Jan Hammond Gentes, September 2001).

The Fate of a certain Norton Motorcycle and the fate of the Topolino (a Fiat 500 owned originally by Craig Morem, loaned generously to others and given away on his departure):  "The Topolino ended out junked in England I think and the Norton was left in Copenhagen (taxes on vehicles is 100% then, so they really appreciated not having to pay taxes on it).  A friend of ours dumped it (i.e.: the side of the road at high speed) there.  Thank God he was wearing leather and was a big guy. (by Cindy Rippey, May 2002)

John Dean responds: "Topolino did not die in an English junkyard. Topo was never in England in her life. I am suprised that Cindy did not remember the cars actual fate.  Cin had gone to Hawaii for a few months and when she returned, we hooked up in London where I had a new oldcar, (a Morris woody which we drove back to Copenhagn and later to Spain)  and I'd guess she thought Topo had brought me and was dumped there.  Not the case.  Good ol Topo! When Cindy and I were driving her from Italy to Denmark we were almost ´busted´ in Austria for having totally bald tires. Told the fuzz we didnít have enough $ to buy new ones.  The cops (peaked caps, high boots, jodhpurs w/  leather accessories, looked like Nazis from central casting) sat down with us and mulled the problem over steins of pilsner at an outdoor beer garden.   Because they were taken by Topos (Cindy's?) cuteness escorted us to a garage owned by one of their relatives where Topo was put on the rack.  One of the cops behind the wheel turning the tires in first gear while his cousin the 'mechanic' used a V shaped chisel to carve two tredlike grooves into each rear tire and this made them technically roadworthy. We were on the road again for about $4.00.  Those tires lasted until that kindly Fiat 500 was backed @ speed into the canal at the end of Saintannesgaad  in Christenhavn, Copenhagen by a 15 year-old photography student.   A good kid , who one day asked to borrow the car to impress a girl (to which I replied) 'uh... OK...'   A little later he showed back at the studio soaking wet and worrying that the cops wuz after him! Told me he had accidentally hit the wrong gear or some such.  Topo´s rear bumper remained above the canal water for a few days until she was slowly winched out and placed on a lory hauled off to god knows where.  I made no inquiries .......... flew to London.

"Lucindas memory of the Norton Commando is better.      More about Snortin Norton: Big Larry (Stanley) and Kris drove her up to Copenhagn.  When they split (they) left byke w/ Danish friends asked them to pass her on to me, if I showed up.  I showed up.  We shared.  The bike was great fun.  Our housemate Jon was 'racing' up the islands' only freeway headed north for Elsinore ¨-Where is Hamletz kastle.¨   About 1/2 way there he lost control @ speed.  The crash pretzeled front wheel, twisted forks, bent frame, etc., massive damage to the byke but Jon (a sturdy Viking) lumbered away unhurt.  In keeping with the times we left the Snorton with Jon when we split for Spain..."  (John Dean, June 2002)

Monaco: "Mark, for not-too-obtuse reasons your question triggered a memory of my brief experience with the principality -- and police -- of Monaco.
"After a brief walking tour of Monaco, I was waiting for a train when a couple of efficient looking fellows came up to me and pointed an automatic weapon, I guess an Uzzi, at me, and herded me into a car. I was not told anything while summarily driven to a location where a nearly blind Italian-Monacan woman squinted at me and said, 'No, non e questo qui' which is slang 'not this one.' An American in blue jeans had robbed money and a train ticket from this old woman, and I fit the rather broad description." (Darrell Jones, May 2002)
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