# 5 - 14/03/04

Dear Travellers,
I was supposed to send you the third issue of Napoanet. travelling covering another topic but the recent events have prevented me from doing so, at least this weekend.

I have been living in Spain since last November, working at the Italian Istituto Comprensivo of Madrid, after travelling to Madrid many times in the last 10 years.

Every working day, but Thursdays, I catch a train from Alcalà de Henares to Madrid between 7.00 and 7.15. Last Thursday in all the three trains between 7.00 and 7.15 from Alcalà to Madrid there were bombs; fortunately on Thursdays I go to school later. But I am not going to talk about this.

Concerning the concept of traveller referred to myself, what I want to talk about is the change of the perception of my feelings and emotions that has taken place in these last days. I think that the idea of travelling and travellers has to do with the way you feel this experience when moving from one place to another, the openness of the mind towards other realities and the capabilities of feeling that you can “belong” to a place. Otherwise you are just a tourist. The real traveller is able to put him/herself in context and to appreciate, understand and feel the characteristics of a place in its complexity.

I thought all this didn’t happen to me when I moved to Madrid. It was an important decision, I strongly wanted it but it was painful, with the permanent feeling of not ‘belonging’ to this place. Until Thursday I had the feeling of being a “distant” traveller, better said a tourist, seeing things without observing, comparing things without trying to understand properly, looking for differences without seeing all the similarities, treating differences from an ethnocentric point of view that prevented me from “real” understanding. I was too concentrated on the perception of what I was missing to understand what I had found.

Suddenly last Thursday 11 March 2004 I discovered myself completely embedded in this country, feeling the same pain and anger as any Spaniard, as if the same events could have taken place in Bergamo, crying, worrying for other people that surely I had met on the trains and that from Monday on I will be not able to see again and also for all the people I never “saw”, even if they were there during the “distracted” everyday journey from Alcalà to Madrid. I feel I am part of this country now, better said I am a Madrilian, but not just for a day as I am sure most people in the world have felt after knowing about this tragedy.

I have learnt that my “distant” travelling got to an end and not just because of the terrible events. I felt for the first time that in the last months I have been seeing and observing, comparing and understanding, looking for differences but also for similarities, treating differences but not from my ethnocentric point of view. What prevented me from understanding all these feelings was the strong perception of missing my country which, in a way, was hiding other emotions. I was “blind”, I didn’t know I was a “real” traveller and much more. I didn’t know how much I love this country. I didn’t know that I belong also to this place and that Madrid is part of me.
I love you, Madrid (http://www.photomadrid.com).

Your moderator,
Rosangela Baggio

Hello Noemi,
I have read your newsletter and it seems very good to me. the subjects are topical and the english was faultless.

Ho trovato l'input su Bloomsday veramente stimolante. Dopo aver letto The Dubliners non puoi non amare Dublino e Joyce.
Ho ricevuto l'issue 3 di Rosangela che mi ha davvero coinvolto: brava Rosangela!
Ciao e a presto rivederci

Ciao, Rosangela
il tuo messaggio mi ha commosso. Hai saputo esprimere il tuo concetto di viaggio ed il tuo sincero amore per la Spagna in una maniera molto tenera e poetica. Io sto in provincia di Bergamo, ma il mio cuore vola spesso a Madrid da giovedì scorso.
(Ci siamo frequentate per un po' al Drils nei primi anni '90)