After being deported from Indonesia and spending christmas with family it was time to continue the journey. While being interviewed by the Swedish television we packed our bicycles for the final flight of the trip and prepared ourselves for Italy.

We arrived in Napoli after changing flights in Frankfurt and Milano. Looking out of the flight window we saw the Alps and were joking about how impossible it looked to bike over those snow-covered mountains. We called a taxi and stuffed our two huge bike-boxes and two duffle-bags inside and went to our first host in Italy, Francesca Doria. She was a wonderful lady who had been active for the Saharawi cause for decades and we soon learned that the solidarity movement in Italy was much bigger than we thought. The Polisario representative of Italy, Fatima Mahfud,  came to visit us in Napoli and we learned that Italy has around 70 local associations working for Western Sahara as well as around 300 municipalities and cities with friendship agreements with the camps and liberated territories.

Sanna was working hard doing outreach and we found ourselves meeting the local Diem25 group in Napoli. Diem25 stands for “democracy in europe movement 2025” and was co-founded by the former greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. They helped us organize a press conference in Napoli which was good as we then had many Italian articles to show to people on the road when they curiously asked us which flag we were carrying and where we were going.

After doing a university lecture at Federico Segundo and an event at the social centre, zero81, it was time to start biking. But we couldn’t leave southern Italy without a quick visit to Pompeii to see the ancient city buried by the fury of Mt. Vesuvius and some good Pizza Napolitana. Our first stop was Mondragone which many Italians we met had two things to say about. First was that it was a dangerous place and that we shouldn’t go and the second was that if we went we had to try the famous Mondragone-Mozarella.

After passing Sperlonga on our second biking day we reached Latina which is a city we learned was modeled and built by the Italian fascists. We spent the night there at a local Amnesty activist before continuing to the capital, Rome. We spent little over a week in the capital keeping very busy with the campaign doing everything from events with Amnesty, events with the young green party, events with the workers movement Arci, meeting the former vice mayor, journalists and more events still. We visited the Italian parliament to meet with the spokesperson of the Green party, Mr. Angelo Bonelli, who later joined the parliamentary group for Western Sahara. We felt like we were having an impact.

When it was time to leave Rome after all the meetings, as well as a visit to the Vatican museum, we got on our bikes again and headed to Ladispoli by the Tyrhennian sea. Continuing to Tarquinia we were hosted by Semi di Pace, a peace organization, which invited their local community in the evening so we could sensitize them to Western Sahara. The next morning they brought us to a local high school where we spent the morning giving a talk to around one hundred students before we got on our bikes and headed to Ansedonia.

Sometimes Google maps and Komoot, which are our two primary GPS applications, lead us astray and on our way to Ansedonia, whilst biking on small roads in the rolling Italian fields, we heard some Italians saying that we should turn for reasons we couldn’t understand since they only spoke Italian. We looked at the map and saw that if we turned around and took another road it would add more than 30km and we were in no mood to bike longer than we had to so we ignored them. 

Some time later we find our way blocked off by big erected fences and we see construction workers in the middle of the field.They were busy building new solar panel installations and had fenced off a huge area including our road. By this point we decided to try and go around the fences which meant leaving the road and biking through the fields until we had gotten around the whole solar plant and could rejoin the road (hopefully) on the other side. Whilst pedaling through the high grass next to the big fence came our next challenge. We were caught behind a huge ditch, with steep slopes on either side. At this point there was no turning back. We took off all our luggage from the bikes, Sanna jumped to the other side of the ditch and Benjamin was throwing the bags over a stream to Sanna in order to get everything across. After getting over 60 kilos of baggage across the ditch Benjamin somehow managed to climb the slope whilst holding the bicycles. Sometimes the adrenaline kicks in and afterwards you can’t believe that you pulled it off. 

Next stop Grosseto, Italy where the campaign continued.