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Hemingway Adventure


Piave valley, Italy 
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Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureThere below me is the Piave River, about 200 feet wide and the water not blue, as Hemingway remembers it, but a milky green, only a shade darker than turquoise.

I can see the bend in the river that Hemingway talks about, but there is a new bridge being built and much of the far bank has been stripped away. The trees that remain are festooned with plastic bags caught on the branches after the last flood. Today the river flows by without much effort, drifting beneath the rickety old pontoon toll-bridge whose days are numbered.

I park my bicycle against a tall black steel slab with an inscription that marks this as the place where Hemingway was wounded. It displays a much more reverential approach to the past than that adopted by Colonel Cantwell, Hemingway’s hero in Across the River and into the Trees.

The Colonel, no one being in sight, squatted low, and looking across the river from the bank where you could never show your head in daylight, relieved himself in the exact place where he had determined, by triangulation, that he had been badly wounded thirty years before.>

‘A poor effort,’ he said aloud to the river and the river bank that were heavy with autumn quiet and wet from the fall rains. ‘But my own.’
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Fossalta
  • Country/sea: Italy
  • Place: Fossalta di Piave
  • Book page no: 52

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