Bend Belluno Sister Cities Cultural Exchange

Bend has been like a dream, at the very least. My three-week stay in that distant town in Oregon passed so quickly that I scarcely realized time was going by. The reason why this fruitful cultural exchange was so successful was due to the Bendites’ friendliness and kindness; Jodi Johnson is the first person I’d really like to thank, the woman who didn’t just host me but the one who acted as a real friend, a sort of American mum, as I usually called her.



Oregon is a country with a multiple geological configuration and Bend, a 81.000- resident town, has a tumultuous volcanic history behind; you can raise your eyes and admire beautiful landscapes of snowcapped volcanoes, lumpy lava flows and crystalline lakes, all surrounded by a luxuriant vegetation environment. In Bend, the greenness of woods and lawns peacefully lives together with sand and hard stones you can usually find on deserted areas. Tumalo Falls, Shevlin Park, Smith Rocks, Green Lakes, Paulina Lake are just some of the places I’ve visited, always with extraordinary people who were able to make me feel at home. The town of Bend has lots in common with Belluno, its sister city; I’m not referring to the naturalistic aspect only, but to the human element as well. I’ve met so many people of deeply humane and always ready to new experiences and cultures and, of course, to a foreign language. I spoke English, my everyday language in the USA, but Italian was and is highly regarded in Bend. Every week, a group of about ten people, meets and reads, speaks and translates books from English to the Dante language. I went to these meetings too as a representative of Italian culture and language abroad; one evening, at a local shop, I spoke about the Vajont disaster, a calamity occurred in Longarone (Italy) 50 years ago. All the people there were very interested and struck by what I was telling them. It has been a way for American and Italian culture to meet, an useful occasion to learn by our different experiences and ways of life.


Bend is not only a town surrounded by priceless naturalistic sceneries, where you can hear the sound of silence and serenity, but also a place with lots of outdoors activities to offer, the right place where ‘school’ activities and play games went hand in hand. Trips on rowing boats, hikes in the mountains or cycles rides on the several trails the town offers and, dulcis in fundo, the SUP marked my stay in Bend. 

Notes from Zara



In Belluno For Giro d'Italia

Notes from Zara


“The hardest part of visiting Bend is leaving Bend.” These few words could perfectly give the idea of what I really want to say. I don’t mean to use stock phrases or be bombastic while saying my stay in Bend has been like a dream, at the very least. My three-week stay in


Bend has been like a dream, at the very least. My three-week stay in that distant town in Oregon passed so quickly that I scarcely realized time was going by. The reason why this fruitful cultural exchange was so successful was due to the Bendites’ friendliness and kindness; Jodi Johnson is the first person I’d really like to thank, the woman who didn’t just host me but the one who acted as a real friend, a sort of American mum, as I usually called her.


Zara's Summer Exchange in Bend

BEN ARRIVATA                   DI                       EVENTI                       SCAMBI                   METTE IN EVIDENZA              CONTATTO

Zara and Jodi

This cultural exchange gave me the possibility of living in a different and varied reality as well as allowing me to know more about myself, my skills and limitations (of course, I’m referring to the troubles I had while trying to balance on the paddleboarding). Being in a different reality makes you better appreciate what you see and live, engraved on my memory as unforgettable recollection. Everything attracted my attention and I remember everything. All the different sceneries I saw from Portland, where my flight landed, to Pacific City, a little town on the ocean where I spent my first three days in the USA, to central Oregon, my final destination, made me understand what I have just said before; I appreciated and realized all the differences, both from a naturalistic and from a human point of view, the USA are based on. That’s what I mean when I’m talking about Bend; from snowcapped volcanoes to sunbaked trails, where the only sound you hear is of your beatheart and your bike tires. “This is Bend, where there’s so much to do yet so little time to get it all in.”