Thomas Kunstler | Rome to Athens Walk
Thomas Kunstler Official Site. Filmmaker artist and stop motion animator.
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Rome to Athens Walk

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THE VIEW FROM MY BALCONY, ROME

 

On the 25th of May 2015, Richard, Ricardo, Tamalog and I left my home in Rome with the purpose to reach Athens, walking, crossing the South of Italy. Each one had his reason. I did it because of Love.

ROMA, EUR

 

We started crossing the Eternal City reaching its borders, passing through areas that I barely knew.

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CRISTOFORO COLOMBO ROAD

 

We were heavy carrying a big bag and we could walk no faster than 5 Km. per hour. At some point we saw a never-ending road. After more then 35Km finally, after 35 Km. we saw the sea.

Pain

 

The days after we could barely walk due to the blisters and muscles pain. However I knew the area, I used to go to our beach house on the coast.

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Abandoned Casino, Anzio

 

When you walk you have all the time of the world to stop, to think, to observe. In this way I had the possibility to find the beauty in unexpected places: in the squalor of the Roman coast, in the empty night bars of Torvaianica or in a run-down structure such as Anzio’s Casino.

Setting Up Summer, Nettuno

 

Spending so many days away from home, walking everyday, time gets a funny shape. In fact, as we were walking, summer was coming, days were getting hotter and the beaches from empty were getting crowded.

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Circeo From Faraway

 

One of the most rewarding things is watching a goal getting closer and closer. At first is a barely distinguishable dot in the remote distance. After it is a mount in front of you. Now you are the dot.

Circe The SORCERESS

 

We spent one night on the tower built on the Circeo Mountain. According to the legend this is the place where Ulysses arrived with his fellows and met Circe, the sorceress that turned his mates in pigs.

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Night in Circeo

 

When I was a kid I was always coming to this beach. If someone would have told me that one day I would have illegally slept in the tower with three Portuguese people whilst going from Rome to Athens on foot for Love, probably I wouldn’t have believed him.

People Are Good

 

Slowly, slowly we reached Gaeta, we had no place where to sleep and no chance to put our tent anywhere. As we were meeting people, we were telling them of our story. They were offering free stuff, meals and free drinks. In here a very kind man basically offered us a dinner and a night in his hotel. Having a real shower after weeks it has been amazing.

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Bagnoli Disaster

 

One Night we walked from Pozzuoli to Napoli. Probably we could not choose a worst area to walk at night.

Buongiorno Napoli

 

Anyway we survived. Eventually being there turned out to be one of our best decisions, as getting in Naples at dawn offered a breathtaking sight. We deserved it.

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Conca dei Marini From the Mountains

 

We rested in Naples a few days. Ricardo left and Tamalong stayed in Naples a bit longer. I kept on going with Richard. We climbed the Costiera Amalfitana.

Circus in Capaccio Scalo

 

One day as we were walking on a country road, we saw a circus. We counted our coins and we decided to get in. I never saw a Circus show before. When we got out it was nearly dark and we had no place where to sleep, but we had a piece of bread, a tuna can and a tent.

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Terra dei Briganti (Outlaws Land)

 

Tamalog joined us back. After that point I did not know anything. I’d never been so south. Everything was new. Everything was unbelievably beautiful.

Templars Church, Caggiano

 

I can update my CV and say that I slept in a Templar abandoned church in the south of Italy.

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Holy Camping

 

Here’s the evidence.

Lost Basilicata

  

We arrived in the deep south, passing through dozens of villages. Everything seems to be frozen in time. I remember asking a kid: “why is the town center abandoned?”. “it’s because of an earthquake”. “I see. And when did this happen?” I asked. The kid replied to me: “Oh, it’s a recent thing, this happened in the 80’s”.

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Tricarico

 

However, I never managed to meet anyone of my age. In these villages my generation is erased. They all migrated either to work or to study.

Al baretto

 

Nevertheless, pictures and words cannot describe the authentic beauty of these places, reminding me of an era that I’ve never known.

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Cards

 

Cards are good to make the time pass.

Where’s Grottole?

 

In Grottole there is an amazing Cathedral falling apart. If this was in England you’d even pay to look at it. We slept inside, made a fire, and cooked a bird we caught.

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Siesta Time

 

Summer was kicking, days were hotter and hotter  and we did understand the meaning of the siesta.

Sunset

 

Sunset was the hardest part of the day: around that time we were arriving to a new town after having walked all day, having to find a safe and discreet place where to prepare our cheap and cold meal.

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Funny Games

 

Having to spend hours and hours on the road we were entertaining ourselves as we could, doing silly games, asking truck drivers to honk at us, and killing lizards. At some point the only game was inventing creative ways to kill lizards. It might sound cruel but I don’t regret it.

Basilicata Coast to Coast

 

On the road, I guess.

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Il Brigante

 

The guy in Black is Maurilio. Contrarily to what I said before, Maurilio is one of the few youngsters that decided to stay because he loved his land, his language, his town. He even tried to go to Barcellona and work as a sous-chef. He came back a few days after he got there.

Coffee?

 

The hospitality of southern people goes beyond stereotypes.

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Beefsteak, Pizza and Wine?

 

Seriously, these guys offered us everything they could, even their daughters.

Miglionico

 

We stopped more than five days in Miglionico. And we left a little bit of ourselves there as well.

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Santo Patrono

 

We partied the old way.

Ave Maria

 

I followed the band all over the city.

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La Banda

 

I loved it.

The New World

 

At night whilst the band played The New World by Dvořák and the local police stopped us because we bought a 5 litres wine jar. They didn’t actually stopped us as we were just sitting enjoying the music. Fuck Da Police.

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Fun

 

Despite all the beauty, the music, the colours and the wine people seem to be bored. For me it was new and exotic, for them it was just the same thing happening every year.

Nap

 

Many times we were falling asleep on benches or even on the ground leaning on our bags, with our sunglasses on, pretending not to sleep.

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Matera

 

Matera is actually beautiful.

University of Bari

 

After more than one month on the road we reached Bari, from where we would have taken the ferry for Patra.

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Ciao, Italia!

 

We spent one night on the ferry. Good at least we did not have to worry about setting up the tent. Still we prepared our tuna sandwiches

Truck Drivers Crossing the Ionian Sea

 

I love ferries, trains and busses. You see the most amazing faces.

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Calimera, Ellada!

 

We woke up in Greece. And here I split from my friends. I wanted to walk the Greece part by myself. I think it made some kind of sense, considering the reason why I did all this.

Hard Days

 

And it was actually terrible. I no longer was with my friends. Everything was harder. No-one cared about me as that part of Greece is pretty touristic and they thought I was just another tourist. I was walking a lot in order to reach Athens as soon as possible. This picture was taken whilst feeling miserable around Aigio. I was watching a family having a good dinner and laughing. Mitropanos was playing and I was leaning with my back on my backpack, trying to fall asleep under the blue sky.

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KALAMAKI KOTOPOULO, CHORIS KREMIDI PARAKALO

 

Since I was walking very fast I decided to spend some extra money on food. Also it was actually impossible to walk from 1pm  to 4 pm, because of the burning sun.

No Name

 

And to be honest I was a bit spoiled from Italy: the north coast of Peloponnese cannot even be compared with the Italian landscape. It was just boring and trivial.

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KKE

 

When I arrived to Greece it was actually their referendum day to accept or refuse Germany’s imposition. Greece said: No. But apparently it didn’t matter.

Corinth

 

Wal, walk, walk, walk, walk…

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July, 14th

 

On the 14th of July, I arrived in Athens after more than 50 days walking. It was finished. I felt horrible. The same night my body stopped giving a fuck and abandoned me for a few seconds. I fainted from tiredness. I guess it was normal. Nevertheless I never told her what I did, I couldn’t find a way.

Today I have some serious problems passing through the places that I crossed walking. Too many memories, too romantic even for myself. I cannot look outside of the car/bus window thinking that one day I walked that road with a heavy bag on my shoulders, a lizard in my hands and hope in my heart. It is too much to handle.

About This Project

This is the photo story of the journey I made on foot, on summer 2015, going from Rome to Athens passing through the South of Italy.

 

Related Video: RomeAthens

Date

May 26, 2015

 

Category

Photo