Urban Hiking Summer University 2023

Leonardo Marmiroli

Urban Hiking

Thanks to AEGEE, a European association of university students, I had the opportunity to organize an urban hike in the city of Bergamo.
The hike is part of the Summer University, a vacation organized by AEGEE Bergamo for young people from all over Europe.
I got to know this reality, thanks to Matteo, a fraternal friend for years.

When I organize walks for myself and my friends, I often have the fear that they may not be liked or that they are too hard.
I wanted to try to overcome this limitation and organize a trek for other guys.
One of the first realities that came to mind when I thought of this tour was AEGEE itself; therefore, I contacted Marianna and Luciano, who were immediately very helpful.

I talked to them about their my idea, and after consulting they gave me the specifics of the path they wanted to take.
It was about a two-hour, mostly nature trail starting in Upper Town.
I presented them with the route, which included starting from Colle Aperto in Upper Town, passing through San Vigilio, Case Moroni, S. Sebastiano and finally the Via dei Vasi with a return from Castagneta to Colle Aperto.
The walk as planned was liked and went well, however, I still asked them to try it first in the field with me.

The date set for the Urban Hiking was set for Sunday, July 23.
On the afternoon of the 23rd we all met at the Open Hill, where after a head count of all participants, Cub Scout style, and a brief introduction we set off towards the St. Vigil Hill.
During the briefing I was referred to as the organizer and guide, I was asked to be at the front of the group, which at least initially put me a little in awe because I felt in the middle and loaded with responsibility then I calmed down.

Once we set off and made the first climb to St. Viglio, we stopped at a water fountain to regroup the whole group that had stretched out.
Here, I asked Marianna and Luciano if the first piece had gone well.
Feedback with the organizers was a constant on the first part of the route, which involved a bit of up – down.
During the wait while waiting for everyone to drink I found myself talking to Lorenzo and Roberto, two of the organizers, whom I had already met at other events and walked with for a while.
One of my recurring questions was whether the organizers and helpers were sleeping with the participants at the gymnasium on Carpinoni Street, provided by the municipality.
It is always very pleasant to talk to all the guys from AEGEE, they make me feel involved.

Shortly after San Vigilio, we were also joined by Simone, Matteo’s brother, who along with Benni were my guests on this outing.
I really appreciated that my guests laced up immediately despite the fact that they had not seen each other for many years.
Unlike the organizers who had already done a test run with me, Simone and Benni trusted me and came blindly.
Before we reached Case Moroni we took a fairly narrow trail looking toward the Valle d’Astino; I worried that someone might slip.
Before embarking on the Vasi trail we stopped to rest, while waiting for the go-ahead to start again I got acquainted with a Finnish guy who studied tourism in both high school and college.
It was nice to discover other people who went through the same high school studies as me.
During the same break I struck up a conversation with a Spanish girl from Palma de Mallorca, who I really appreciated her enthusiasm and drive during the trek.
It made me think that, with those who felt up to it, it would be nice to organize another, more challenging trek.

As we set off again on the Via dei Vasi, which is the highlight of the hike, I sensed the true spirit of the group and the real reason for the urban trek, the sharing of the ultimate goal of spending an afternoon outdoors having fun together.

During this part of the hike I walked together with Roberto, it was very pleasant to converse with him, I hope it was the same. Although doing different jobs I empathized with his situation.
In front of us walked Simone and Benni, it was nice to see them conversing. As it was equally nice to see the whole group united behind.
In these moments I appreciated being a guide, that is, not necessarily being in the front row but being able to possibly direct those in front and consequently the whole group.

The last stretch before returning to Colle Aperto was on Castagneta Street, a quiet flat road despite having no sidewalk.
Although I had gotten into the “Cub Scout” mood of checking for injuries and not getting run over I enjoyed this part of the walk as well.

I was curious about how to participate in a Summer University, although not being a member of AEGEE I cannot participate. So I ended up talking to Daniela, another organizer, who explained to me in full how to do it.

We returned to Open Hill perfectly meeting the timetable; we had planned to complete the tour in two hours.
Luciano before saying goodbye and thanking us all, showed the participants the timeline for the evening.

After the ride with Benni and Simo we decided to have an aperitif at Circolino, a very nice place located in the upper city.
It was a really nice conclusion to the tour. The evening was pleasant and the weather helped.
With Simone and Benni I really always get along very well, it is really a pleasure to see them.
Also, for those who know me know that I love to make cold ones, I appreciate Simone because she plays along.
Benni as well as my sister, she is my wingman who supports me but most of all puts up with me.

I really thank all the participants, from the first to the last, because I really enjoyed the trek and I am satisfied to have walked it.

Leonardo Marmiroli