From the mountains to the sea

The first few days in Italy have been quite an experience to say the least. I’ve felt very blessed to be back walking the ancient streets and travelling the highways like Pete and I did so many times. And reconnecting with friends after 10 years away is an amazing thing. You never really know how things will be after so much time apart but we’ve been able to pick up exactly where we left off. Our Italian brothers Luca and Enrico have taken time out to share the journey and it has been a special time for all of us.

The path Pete and I took through the music industry seemed a bit strange to some people and at times a bit ‘unambitious’ but for us it was always about the music and the personal connections we made along the way. And I’m glad we did things our way. The older I get the more I appreciate these special bonds that cut across borders, languages and now decades.

We played at Locomotiv in Bologna last night and were happy to follow in the footsteps of so many great bands. Micah P Hinson and Jens Lekman are both stopping by in the next couple of weeks – both people we have crossed paths with on our travels. Wherever you are in the world it seems the indie world is a small and close-knit community.

There was no support band last night so we had plenty of time to just catch up with old friends from Bologna and Finale Emilia. Steven from The Chemistry Experiment popped in. He has lived in Bologna for five years now and after hanging out with him at the Fortuna Pop gathering in London it was nice to see him on his own turf. Unfortunately he went to leave only to discover his bike had been stolen. Needless to say he was none too pleased as it was 3am and he was ready for home. Turns out there’s a place in town where you can go and buy stolen bikes for 20 euro so hopefully he has some luck finding his bike down there today.

I tried working on my Italian language skills before I left but there’s never enough time to do it properly. I can usually make myself understood by fumbling through a selection of awkward phrases but it’s been fun being immersed in it this week. And people do seem to appreciate the effort even if you don’t get more than one or two words right. I’m in the front of the van with Leonardo – our tour manager for the rest of the tour – and he’s been helping with my Italian while I help him with his English.

The weather here in Italy has been incredible. It’s perfect spring weather with days in the mid 20s and nothing but clear blue skies. It's been great but it’s not something I was expecting at all. I thought I planned well by packing a bunch of warm clothes but instead I’ve had just a few cotton shirts I brought with me on high rotation. I’ve been carting around my heavy jumpers and jackets while my shirts hang out to dry in the back of the van.

Right now we’re travelling down the coast to Pescara where we are playing a show tonight. Paolo the promoter is an old friend and has organised some amazing shows for us in the past. And it was on our first visit to Pescara that Pete enjoyed his greatest ever meal. I can’t remember much about it at all but Pete, who remembers gig by their associated meals, can recall all the details. Anyway, I'm sure another great

The highway to Pescara passes right down near the water here. The blue water of the Adriatic Sea stretches out for miles on one side and white-capped mountains rise up on the other. So I’ll sign off and just soak up the amazing scenery for a while before we arrive.

karl smith

Castlemaine, VIC, 3450