Nomades Tour 2011 in Milan & Venice – Photos by Jean Christophe Baller

Article by Jean Christophe Baller

After a quick tour over the property, everyone agrees with the idea that we will be really comfortable here. The place is spacious, with many more beds than we need, fully equipped and perfectly adequate for a party. It is now time to rest as we were all tired by the road. 

Mid-afternoon, the eyes open slowly. To our great misfortune, it’s raining. We chill, we do some shopping for dinner. Not much to do at that time in this small village more than 40 minutes from the city. 

At the time of filling our stomachs, we realize that we have many ingredients to make food, but no pots to prepare them which was rather annoying. Warren and Aktarus decided to take matters into their hands and hunt for the essential utensils. It is already 10 pm, it may not facilitate the mission but our two guys are guided by their appetites and are still up to the challenge. Finally about 30 minutes later, they returned with what it takes, lend form a local restaurant and coined up to $ 50 deposit.

The evening is relaxing, it’s kidding, it sings, it plays the ukulele and it remakes the world. We fell asleep late in the night with the hope that the sun will appear at our wake.

Late in the morning, we open the shutters. The sky is blue, the day will be productive. A shower, a glass of fruit juice and meet up with Jason Adriani, our guide for this stop. The local riders are also present. The appointment is fixed in the parking lot of a popular Swedish furniture store which provides curbs that seem really nice to skate. Sadly we are asked politely to leave immediately. 

We then eat at Burger King, the one and only Aktarus being excited by the idea of swallowing their over-sized burgers. Once satisfied, we move to another inclined edge provided with more or less grindable surface than the previous ones. 

When we move on, Akta leaves a part of his hand behind as we head towards the hospital. With his skates still on, Akta enters the hospital room where an Italian butcher, probably with a grudge against the French, sews his hand raw and ruthlessly. It appears with two stitches and a big frustration of being injured so early on the tour. 

The day goes on and we hit the road to another spot. A sort of wave which seems pretty consistent and really nice to skate. David Sizemore goes large 360° stale fish, Chaz Sands 540° and Nicolas Auroux fakie 720° with class. Everything has been done, it’s time to pack in the direction of a rails turn that seems more appetizing. 

Once there, we can only verify these claims. This rail is pretty low, and with a few steep turns perfectly negotiable. People warm up, I set up my camera at the bottom to shoot some pictures. Unfortunately, 5 minutes will be enough to make be literally eaten by mosquitoes that bring mild discomfort and disguise. True top soul by Chaz Sands, True Zoo by Nicolas Auroux, True Top Acid by Jason Adriani, AO Soul by Rob G and a Neg Acid by David. Night falls and we decided to finish it at a small bowl, the only lit park in the city. 

We then paid a small pizzeria in central Milan a visit. We discover a charming place where many people sit, drink, sing, play music in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Some try their luck at drag, others are walking around and the rest are content with a few drinks on the terrace, intoxicated by the atmosphere available to them.

Next day was no different with a session with Jason and his compatriots. We met them at their house and headed to a series of three curbs which were linked together. Robert clearly stands out with its agility and fluidity in his movements. Everyone skates for hours and enjoys the sun without actually seeing the time passing. 

Already late afternoon, we decid to end on a handicap David will break without touching it. A disaster Soul on the ledge underneath, passing over the rail… The video will tell you more than a long explanation. Once the pictures are taken, Adrien motivates the group to go to a bar with a happy hour offer that basically goes like this: a cocktail purchases a buffet. The idea is pretty cool, we follow. We arrive in the street, lively, full of pretty women, which tends to distract some. Once in the restaurant, each side benefits “at will” of the buffet where Rob G, when he does not stand out by his tricks, is distinguished by an impressive amount of food ingested. We killed the dishes. It’s time to take the path of Venice, next stop on our tour.

Late at night, we arrive at the destination which is our host for two days to come: camping Jolly on the outskirts of the famous city de gondolas (canoes for Warren). After a stunt at the reception, trying to confuse us with shabby tents instead of our bungalows originally planned. We explained tents were not what we ordered, so he redirects us to what we had actually booked. 3 sheds more compact where one better not be claustrophobic, but still with a minimum of comfort. 

The night passes and we wake up under a blazing sun, the late morning takes place around the pool to cool off. Middle of the afternoon, towards the heart of Venice after a search for Mr. David Sizemore who had vanished an hour in the aisles writing a post card. On site, we take a “taxi boat”. 

Warren is trying to catch pigeons in the main square while others contemplate or take pictures. Venice is still a city visited by many, attracting people with it’s rich and amazing architecture. We have dinner in a typical Italian restaurant before moving to a session on small curbs a bit out of the local folklore. It’s now time to skate and we are entitled to nice lines from everyone, then start back to our campsite. 

After a good night well deserved we take a swim in the pool before hitting the road to the Italian border to try to make some images still in Italy. David offers us a top soul on a big kink when night fell. We have already spent too much time here, people await us in Slovenia, so we press to take the road to avoid them waiting even longer. Samo Bajec, here we come!

-Jean Christophe Baller