What a frenetic, exhausting and ultimately satisfying few days!! With our 1:1,000,000 scale map, we were always going to have a few Italian challenges! In total, we probably clocked up an extra 80kms of cycling through various ‘detours’ (translation: we got lost at least once every day, invariably finding ourselves magnetically drawn towards the Autostrada motorways!!).
Our daily average was around 150km’s. It needn’t have been so high – but then again, escaping the crammed Italian roads wasn’t such a bad thing…and it does mean that we now have 5 days to cover 120km’s as we make our way to the Soundwave music festival near Zadar. Sun, sea and music…a fair trade off – particularly given the difficult riding that undoubtedly lays ahead.
So having raced across Italy in a fraction of the time I took to cross France, I guess I shouldn’t expect to take too much away from the experience. Despite this – and tiring though the riding may have been – the Italian people were interested in our ride, welcoming, and not at all concerned about our less than stellar command of the Italian language!
The only time we thought we were in trouble was when an old lady shrieked at us from her apartment window. As we were helping ourselves to an ill gotten gain from her outside tap, we weren’t too surprised…so scuttled off to a safe distance. Within moments, she was back at her window with a bottle of fresh water. A very surprising and welcome turn of events (and a fortunate save from a bad stomach!).
My ride through Italy also gave me those magic moments with the Leone family. As with the people that came to my aid in France, it’s unexpected moments of generosity and warmth such as this which really do make the ride worth while.
Riding with Kez has also been great fun…very much making up for the large amount of time I’ve spent hauling a tandem on my own! In our quest for games to play whilst on the road, we’ve flogged the ‘name game’ to death – somehow making it last a good 3 days! (It’s amazing how many obscure ‘celebrities’ can be conjured up in the course of such a game!). If you can think of a good game to play on a tandem, please do leave a comment (i-spy doesn’t count!!)
Alongside many close shaves with dangerous drivers, we’ve also had no end of courteous ones — flashing lights, waving and honking. A nice change from the reserve of France.
& of course, being the home of Catholicism, we’ve been treated to some truly exceptional cemetery accommodation! Flushing toilets, loo roll and running water…stealth camping just doesn’t get better than that.
I certainly won’t miss the road network…but I shall look forward to visiting Italy in the future! (& I’m quite sure my mum and grandma will have a lovely time in Italy later this month).
For those among you with a keen sense of hearing; yes, my video does start with ‘it’s Monday the 11th of JUNE…I’m sure it isn’t the first mistake I’ve made, and it certainly won’t be the last
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