Sunday, 27 March 2011

17th 80km

My first morning in Italy from James Rathbone on Vimeo.

I manage a disciplined start for a change – new beginnings and all that rot. Even with gear drying session I'm on the road by nine. Sunny morning, few showers in the afternoon. Not such pretty riding today - more industrious feel. I waste money on a Mcdonalds – the empty promise of free wifi. Not so.

I squeeze eighty kilometers out of the day - my biggest daily distance in a long time. Stop early before Verona. Wait for dark before pitching up. My campsite of choice tonight is a particularly uninspiring waste-ground next to a factory.

18th 60k's

The morning pases with little drama. By lunchtime I'm in Verona and make my way towards the centre for a quite poke around. It feels strange to park up in the centre and not immediately gather a crowd - faux celebrity status removed from here on in! I treat myself to an espresso and then continue on out of town.
I actually manage to catch a milestone! 8000km

Verona - no crowd!?
By late afternoon I make it to Lake Garda – a place I've been meaning to visit for a few years. I spend a few hours chilling out and enjoying the view. I ride around for a while and consider parting with my precious Euros for a campsite. After some debate I give up on the campsite and opt for a night without the tent on the beach. I wait until dark and then roll out my sleeping bag behind some seemingly empty holiday homes. I heard a few chuckles from passing walkers at various stage in the night – however I was much more concerned with the dew. Once the temperature dropped dew covered everything killing the insulation in my sleeping bag – I'll be more careful next time...

Lake Garda

19th 94k's

 I arrange all my belongings out on the pavement in the hope that the weak morning sun with rid them of the moisture. After an hour I'm bored and so get on with riding – making a plan for an extended “gear drying” lunch break.

The flat roads are a treat in my “out of shape” state and I'm able to set a good pace once again. I spend the afternoon scanning for potential camping spots but not much turns up – all the derelict buildings in Italy are disappointingly fenced off.

Lunch!...or was that breakfast?....or dinner?

I'm eager to break the one hundred kilometer mark to prove to myself that I still can. Just before I do I cross a river (which tends to throw up camping opportunities on the banks) – this time is no exception. I sit and read in the last of the days light before pitching up and sleeping well. The "ton" will have to wait.

20th 86k's

I lie in a little to let the nights rain dry off the tent - and because it's Sunday. Flat roads all day again – this is not what I expected form Italy.

I stop for water at a roadside cafe. No sooner have I parked up my bike than Vince strolls over to say “hello”. He's from Sicily (where he has an orange farm) and sells his oranges all over Italy. Having spent twenty years in Canada he speaks English as well as I. We talk for some time – I'm gutted to decline his offer of accommodation at his farm in Sicily. He treats me to a coffee, loads me up with oranges, and sends me on my way. Thanks Vince!

In the evening I find some form of reserve to camp in. I use the evening light to explore before settling on an orchard of young horse chestnut trees.

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