Chapter 4 - Mountain madness

Mountain Madness

Language level: lower-intermediate


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I always asked myself why the people of Milan go to the mountains.
 For me, mountains are just big boring rocks, but many Italians love going up them, so there must be a reason. 
So when my friend Marco invited me to a weekend in the mountains, I went.
 The day went like this: 
Marco woke me up very early. I looked at my watch and saw that it was FIVE o’clock in the morning!

“It’s five o’clock!” I shouted, “I have never woken up at five o’clock in the morning in my life!”
“Come on!” he said, “we have to go.”

That hat!

I looked at Marco and saw, with total horror, that he was wearing a green “Alpino” hat with a feather in it. 
I put my big bag on my back and when we opened the door I could immediately feel a terrible, cold wind on my face.
It was also raining heavily. 
“Aren’t you happy?” Marco smiled, “it’s raining, just like in England!”
 Now I knew that I was with a complete psychopath.

“OK,” I said, “I need my umbrella, just wait a moment. ”
Marco was shocked: “Umbrella? You can’t take an umbrella up in the mountain! Listen, put this on. ”
Now this is very difficult to believe, but Marco was offering me another green “Alpino” hat, with a feather in it!
“You don’t seriously think I’m going to put that on my head, do you?” I said. “Somebody might see me!” 
“There’s nobody outside at five in the morning,” he said.
“Of course, there isn’t!” I said, “nobody else is so stupid!”

Torture

When we were outside we started walking. It was horrible. My shoes were useless and my feet were cold and wet after five minutes.

“Can we stop and rest?” I asked. 
Marco started shouting: “We’ve only been walking for 10 minutes! We have another five hours to walk!
”
Five hours? This was very bad news, of course, but I really wanted to see why people endured this nightmare, so I was patient and I walked.
 Up and up we went and all I could see was rock. I continued to ask myself why, oh why people did this!... I was wet, cold and tired.

After two hours I said: “Please, Marco, can we go back?”
 “We’re almost there,” he said, “I want to show you something. Do you want to know why we’re here? Well, soon you will see.”

After another three hours of incredible fatigue, we stopped. 
We were there, we had arrived at the place where I could finally see the reason for being there. 
Marco was looking down with a big smile on his face. Slowly I looked down too and I saw the magical reason for this torture.
 “Mushrooms!” I shouted. There were three mushrooms on the ground, that’s all there was: 
“We risked our lives in the rain, the cold and the wind for five hours, for mushrooms!”

Emergency

Marco took one of the three mushrooms and ate it. I ate one, too.
“NO!” Marco shouted, “that one was poisonous!”
And he immediately started calling someone on his mobile phone.
 Oh, my God, was I going to die? I looked down the mountain and thought: “Well, at least I won’t have to walk another five hours down the mountain in the rain!” The helicopter arrived about 30 minutes later and took me to hospital. 
They pumped my stomach and I was fine, but guess what time the nurse woke me for my injections? That’s right: five o’clock in the morning!


Glossary

big boring rocks - grosse pietre noiose
feather - piuma
useless - inutili
wet - bagnati
why people endured this nightmare - perchè la gente sopporta questo incubo
mushrooms - funghi
poisonous - velenoso
they pumped my stomach - mi fecero una lavanda gastrica


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