Why join Discovermore?
How can you tell to be the right one for such a
and explain a passion, which is more, much more,
is it your life?
What could be the skills with make you the right one?
Questions, many, too many, perhaps hard to answer,
A Riderwanted can't do anything else than leave the words to the contents, keeping on the road, hunting the skyline, where the view stretches to infinity, illumining that only the end of the world will be over.
Who is Giovanni?
Giovanni Lamonica was born in Pescara, Italy, on May 13th, 1962. Since when he was a young kid, he has always been interested in motorbikes' trip, but soon, his passion for basketball makes him a semi-pro players the Italian "B" league. This situation diverts him from motorbike's world keeping it only as a secondary hobby, but after a couple of decades and a lot of sport injuries, on 1994, he decided to quit with basketball.
That was the best moment to come back to his childhwood passion with no regrets to the sport's world.he started to work day by day on his potential globetrotter skills keeping his goal higher and higher to take him to the next level. The turning point came in 1977 when he become owner of a beautiful reflex camera: the legendary and timeless Nikon FM2. Just in time for a backpacking trip in Chile. That was the end, or may be the beginning......
After few months he was already preparing his journey to Iceland, the first of a long series, and the purchasing of a brand-new Nikon F90 gave him the last diagnosis: "confirmed photography illness". Years pass and new projects comes and once again in 2000, something extraordinary happens. After his long way trip in South America, where he rides for two months and a half trough argentina and Chile reaching "Tierra del Fuego", riding 19000km, he had the opportunity to introduce his first picture booklet to a magazine. Soon new contracts with several specialized magazines arrived and keep him busy for 10 fantastic years with an average production of 250 pages per year, all regarding motorbike' tourism.
In his CV we can find also four "Motociclismo" special edition cover:
In 2002 his pictures are requested by Aprilia for the Aprilia Caponord brochure.
From 2003 to 2011, BMW Motorrad provides him means and resources for many European and transcontinental journeys.
From 2001 to 2009, Honda Italia lends him two motorbikes to produce photo reports in Italy, Europe and Asia.
In 2006 and for the following four years he keeps on coworking with tour agencies specialized in motorbikes tourism, preparing and supporting new itineraries with good success. He also keeps developing such activity by his own for small groups.
In 2008 he starts a partnership with the Mexican magazine Motociclismo Panamericano, which lasts for about two years.
From 2006 to 2013 he sells some of his pictures to touring field, TCX Boots and Diadora companies. One of his pictures has been selected for BMW Motorrad Calendar 2008 (April).
Since 2009 he has been working with SL&A travels, an italian tour agency specialized in micro vacations, with which he organizes mini tours through Italy, also of a medium duration, to discover the most hidden and enchanting spots of italian peninsula with a rate of two or three itineraries a year. http://www.talentiitaliani.it/profilo/landsails
The most important raids up to now:
2000- South America, Argentina e Chile, 2 months and half, 17.000km, the first long transcontinental tour with his good friend Carlo.
2000- Baltic Republics, Russia, Scandinavia, 5 weeks, 11.500 km, 2 motorbikes sponsored by Aprilia
2001- USA, New York-Los Angeles, riding up to Alaska, 3 months, 30.000 km, alone
2001- USA, the natural parks of South West, 6 weeks, 14.000 km, alone
2002-2003- South America, 4 months, 31.000 km, alone
2003-2004- Central America, from Mexico City to Panama and back, 3 months, 21.000 km, alone
2004- Iceland, 4 weeks, 9.000 km, alone
2005- Scandinavia, 4 weeks, 12.000 km alone
2006- Tunisia - Libia, 4 weeks, 7.000 km, alone
2006- Italy - Samarcanda and back, 6 weeks, 17.000 km, following a group as a photographer, back home trip alone
2006- Patagonia, 4 weeks, 9.000 km, tour leader.
2007-2008- Central America and Mexico, 3 months, 22.000 km, alone
2008- Iceland, 4 weeks, 10.000 km, tour leader
2008-2009- Perù, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, 5 weeks, 8.300 km, tour leader
2009- Alaska, 4 weeks, 9.300 km, tour leader, tour leader
2009-2010- New Zealand, 5 weeks, 8.800 km, tour leader
2010- Italy – Iran - Samarcanda, tour leader, back home trip alone, 17.900 km
2010- Patagonia, Santiago - Ushuaia- Santiago, 2 months, 10.000 km
2011- Asia, Tashkent - Italy, 5 weeks, 11.000 km, with just another person, tour leader
2011- Iceland, 4 weeks, 10.500 km, alone
2012- Turkey, 3 weeks, 3.800 km, alone
2012- Pamir - Italia, 5 weeks, 12.500 km, with 2 customers
2013- Ireland, 3 weeks, 8.400 km, alone
2014- Pamir to Mongolia, 5 weeks, 7600km, with 2 customers
The road in the desert
Text and photos of Giovanni Lamonica
As soon as I leave Nalut I can see that I am heading towards the unknown. The road is starting squeezing as it is afraid to invade spaces not allowed. The view is fascinating. Darwin, talking about the desert, used to describe it with its “negative qualities”, irresistible. Why? His answer was that these kind of lands leave space to imagination. How could you say differently?
The most important things are feelings: to slow down quite frequently, to look around, to fully dive yourself in this complete unknown. How to change something so flat in something so suggestive, almost hypnotic. As I am moving the landscape is changing, the arid hills are offering space to an endless desert: The Sahara! After Derj I drive to the west direction and after a hundred km, the Gadhames’ oasis, the ‘pearl’ as it is often called, appears to my eyes. Arriving there at sunset, with the lights stretching towards the desert, it’s already worth the journey, which hasn’t begun yet. It’s a city thousands of years old, crossing point of caravans coming from every corner of Africa. Fairly declared as part of the UNESCO, it’s for sure the oldest, biggest and best preserved city of the country. A compulsory milestone that nobody can skip. The oldest part it’s almost uninhabited, even if in 1984, 7000 people used to live there but moved to more modern houses in the time lap of four years. Walking through the labyrinth of covered streets that use natural light from skylights, suggestive, usually equidistant between one another and high 10 meters, leaves you just speechless. Usually the “touristic packet” includes the visit to a salt lake, a castle and at the end of the day, the sunset from one of the dunes that look over the near border with Algeria, but don’t get too excited, since there is something else waiting for you in the south. The next day there will be a lot of road to ride, tons of road, the goal is Hun, about 800 km far, in the middle of nowhere as usual, some gas stations, just a few actually. In the most deserted part, the one between Darj and Ghariat, about 300 km, I will meet a convoy of 4 trucks (you never travel alone in these lands), a motionless tourist coach due to mechanical problems and a bunch of cars. On the other hand I will get away with just 7 dinars for the gas (4 euros). As soon as I arrive to the customers, some militars with their uniforms on ask me to come closer by signs. I go in and they offer me water. I take my bottle and I fill it. One of the guys appears with a pack full of dates, it may be about 3 kilos, he offers them to me. Then another one comes in with soda cans, he offers them to me as well. They ask me if I need gas but I answer them that with this motorbike I don’t have autonomy problems. They ask me how many liters the tank can hold: “24” I answer using of course just my hands.
They are astonished, they cannot believe I can ride for 400 km and over without filling up the tank.
I add to the itinerary by purpose the city of Hun, that deserves a special description. Six years ago I went there looking for someone and I found two friends. Abubaker and Abdul Fatah, known only a few hours before, host me in Abubaker’s home since I have my pockets empty as usual and I can not change money at the black market. I still remember when the two, after confabulating in arab, tell me, “Ok, we think you have only one chance: stay overnight at Abubaker’s home, as a guest for dinner, and tomorrow ride to Misurata and change your money”. I have saved the pictures of their two daughters, I took them in 1999, I have also tried to send them by mail, but unsuccessfully.
I find out Abubaker in his shop and we drive together to Abdul Fatah. We spend the whole afternoon together, walking and sight seeing that sleepy town in the libic desert.
“Now I have more money” but there is nothing to do, I will sleep in the same room, in the same corner and will eat arab food with my two friends.
The next day, the way to reach Sabha, following the southest road is also the worst one speaking of the asphalt quality, a kind of crust full of cracks that don’t leave a chance to absorbers and backs. Traffic? Pretty inexistent. I will arrive in the late afternoon and in the evening I will meet Ali, in a cafe’. He speaks English and during our conversation I will ask some questions about Cyrenaic and issues with Bengasi. He confirms me, as I knew, that that’s the part of the country where Gheddafi has less people’s approvals and he thinks that the fights ended to be a carnage with 15 deads and tens of wounded, have been generated from a rooted and widely spread discontent towards the government establishment more than towards the consulates and foreign representations, in this case ours, moreover the only one in that town.
We speak also about ”the idiot with the t-shirt”, now ex minister, but probably I’m more resentful towards him than my interlocutor. By Ali’s opinion another big problem of his country is the widespread poverty of some areas, especially in the south, even if he thinks that the government is changing its strategy, paying more attention to these “depressed’ areas. Sabha is anyway an important tourists center, that has no peculiar attractions but a good liveliness. From here it starts every hike to the most famous attractions in the zone: the dunes of Ubari, the desert of Akakus and the desert of Murzuq. But you can do it differently and take your own way, leaving from Ghat or Al Awynat to Akakus and from the Ubari area to its lakes. In just one word? They’re fantastic. The first one is an escursion that lasts between 2 and 4 days, the second one can be faced in a day.
But what are we exactly talking about?
Why so much effort, so much heat and consequent sweat to reach a place where also in the winter the temperatures touch 30 degrees Celsius? These are probably the biggest attractions of the libyan Sahara and it presents some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world: the sea sand of Ubari stretches for thousands of square kilometres and it hides between his huge red sand dunes a path of little lakes that look a little bit fairy and fantastic, decorated by tens of palms.
The Jebel Akakus it’s even more fascinating and disturbing. Imagine a bunch of mountains of volcanic rocks, black and under a sea of orange sand, sometimes red, depending on the light conditions and on the year period. A colour contrast that leaves everyone speechless!
About these mountains we have also to add that some of the rock formations are decorated by etchings and primitive paintings, some beautifully conserved from 12.000 years ago.
There is not much else you can do, you have to go there at least once in your life. And so other road to ride. The temperature and colours warn that I’m entering a different climate zone.
Also the temperature, that until now was pretty pleasant, has a sudden rise, overcoming 30 degrees Celsius. Seven years before, on April, I found 55 degrees in the shadow in the Akasus. Luckily I’m a month earlier.
In Ubari the last houses, a gas station and some grocery stores before further 280 km of complete peace: no traffic, wind and sand. I arrive at Al Awaynat and I’m at the world’s end, also the tired inhabitants hiding from the sun and wind in the shadow places of their homes look at this black man wondering where he is going. "Ghat, I’m going to Ghat, the main entrance of the Akakus!".
And the black mountains start to appear after 60 km, at my left, high, imposing, they come with me during my last tens of km until the entrance of this little, liveliness town of about 16.000 people. This is basically one of the few still standing tuareg settlements in the Sahara with a well conserved Medina that is dominated by a castle started to be build by the turks but finished thanks to the Italians’ arrival, who changed it into a police station. I settle myself in a hostel without name where I am the only tourist between workers from the neighbouring countries, looking for better conditions or just resting, waiting to reach the north. Everyone speaks French besides me, but the smiles and cordiality overcome the linguistic misunderstandings. In the evening I’m sitting in one of these little restaurants on the main street where a big cook is taking away the bones from the chickens and cooking kebab with an expert hand right in the middle of the street. Mutton, salad and a little bit of rice other than the never missing water.
I listen to sounds, noises, laughs, conversations that I can’t understand.
I’m at the end of my journey. No, from here you can’t do anything else than begin!