MASSIMO BERLENGA, THE PRESIDENT OF VESPA CLUB PORDENONE, HAS SET OFF FOR NORTHERN EUROPE TO DELIVER THE CHRISTMAS LETTERS OF LOCAL CHILDREN. A SNOW-TYRED VESPA SCOOTER AND “ELECTRIC” COVERALLS TO DEAL WITH THE EXTREME TEMPERATURES.
Pordenone (Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy), 2 December 2017 – Massimo Berlenga has set off from Pordenone riding a Vespa scooter towards Northern Europe in a search for Father Xmas. He expects to meet up with him in Lapland (Finland) in mid-December, before riding on to the North Cape, the northernmost tip of Europe, and then returning home to his wife and two daughters and his friends at Vespa Club Pordenone, of which he is the intrepid president, before Christmas. After a round trip of more than 9,000 kilometres!
The ride is an extraordinary adventure, and in a very good cause: to deliver the Christmas letters of local children, including a number of sick children, to the legendary old man with the white beard who lives in a snowy land with his reindeer, and takes gifts to children all over the world, travelling on a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. Massimo is well-equipped too: with a modified Vespa scooter fitted with snow tyres and made-to-measure skis to be mounted as required; “electric” coveralls which heat up when plugged into a 12 volt socket; an extra radiator to slip beneath the coveralls when the temperature drops to minus 15-20 degrees; a helmet with an electrically heated visor like an automobile windscreen. He is accompanied by a support truck, with photographer Massimo Zanetti and a mechanic on board. And the adventure may turn into a book (the Divina Follia publishing house and Treviso-born writer Laura Chiarina are already on stand-by).
PHOTOS: FACEBOOK PAGE VESPA CLUB PORDENONE
BUT WHERE DOES FATHER XMAS LIVE? It’s a rhetorical question: the traditional home of Father Xmas, aka Santa Claus (an imaginary character associated with St Nicholas) changes according to local tradition. In the USA, people say he lives at the North Pole (in Alaska), whereas for Canadians his workshop is located in northern Canada. In Europe, many people believe Father Xmas’ home is in a village near the Finnish town of Rovaniemi, in Lapland, in the Arctic Circle. The Norwegians disagree: they say he lives in Drøbak, where Father Christmas’ post office is located. Other traditions refer to Dalecarlia, in Sweden, and to Greenland. In countries where the character is associated with St Basil, his home is in Cesarea, in the region of Cappadocia (Turkey).