You can’t see the hills and valleys
The snow on mountain peaks in the distance
The vegetation on the slopes nearby.
You don’t see how steep it is
Or how bad the road
Or how good
How busy it is
Or how quiet
You don’t see the little monuments at the side of the road
Or the dead animals
The stray dogs barking and running with us
The dogs behind the fence
The colours of the flowers on the verge
And in the fields
The bare stakes of pruned trees and bushes
Or just still in winter dress
Green in a thousand shades
The smoke from the fires of prunings
Or of old factories still operational
The skeletons of abandoned houses and industrial plants
The inhabited houses; some palaces in variegated colours, others unfinished only part inhabited on the ground floor.
You don’t see the shepherds with their flocks
And don’t hear the bells that many of the animals have around their necks.
The crooked old people plodding with hand tools on their plots
The farmers on their old tractors
Or riding a fully loaded donkey.
The Yugos and Zavastavas smoking quietly overtaking you
Or the modern German cars that accelerate when they are next to you and barely leave room
You don’t see the greeting when cycling past
Or when being driven past (often hooting with enthusiasm)
The friendliness we always meet
And the surprised looks at the realisation that we are on a tandem
We see more than we can capture in words and images.
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