A collection of cycling adventures and other thoughts

Fri 6th Mar 2020

City hopping and river views

With route changes and the Coronavirus I ended up visiting a different set of cities as I crossed Italy than I had originally planned, but they were all lovely and different. The planned stops went out of the window a bit, but I still made good time across Italy.

Monday 02/03/2020 — Day 47

Very slow start to the day! I finished the blog posts to be handed to the editor, and made pancakes with everyone. Checked over the bike changing the chain for the second time (making sure this time I got it right!) and checking the brake pad wear (still got a few more kilometres in them…) but didn’t get on the road till 1pm… (tsk!)

The day was wet and I had definitely missed any of the good weather. Bia and Emmanoel had offered to let me stay another night, but my general experience with the weather is unless it is going to kill me then it is better to move through it/in it as it helps it change faster. The next hop was to Modena and I planned to stay at a hostel because of the rain and being in a city.

The riding was dull and the route straight… like Roman Road very straight, with quite a bit of traffic. So it was one of the first days where I felt like I was actually just riding from A to B and not actually riding for the joy of riding, which was a little bit of a downer.

Made good time but was quite late getting there, so no exploring this evening. Managed to sort out shower noms, tea and had a really good phone call with Dad which perked me up from the dull day of riding. Then sleep, well I say sleep… I ended up reading waaaaay to late, whoops.

Adapt, improvise and overcome… no drying room? No problem! Made my own little rack on the funky radiator

Tuesday 03/03/2020 — Day 48

Got up and moving at a good time all things considered with the late night reading. Didn’t get straight on the road as I was planning on a little explore of Modena before heading off as a little bird (Malin) had told me they have their own leaning tower. I also went to the market (got to love a real market) and got some supplies including some dried strawberries which were different but really yummy!

I was on the road quite late again, but it wasn’t really a problem as I was staying with warmshower host and they were not available till 7pm. The riding was the opposite of yesterday — very little on road, and virtually all on canal paths or bike paths. Although the day was wet, it was a mizzle dampness rather than full rain most of the time. Really enjoyed the ride!

On the ride I saw a kingfisher (no matter how many I see I still can’t get over just how blue they really are), what at the time I thought was an otter but now think was probably a Coypu, and a peacock which was very unexpected. I also saw a fisherman with a flat net who was catching small fish. Love all the nature. I also saw so many good camping spots along the canal I kinda wished I was camping, but on wards to my hosts and Ferrara.

Carlo and his girlfriend were lovely hosts. Carlo was so interested in all my stuff and we had some fun nerdy conversations about it all. They made me carbonara the proper way which I love and really need to learn how to do (yes! yes!)… ended up with another quite late night, but loved it.

Ferrara castle at night cycling in

Wednesday 04/03/2020 — Day 49

Not a late start as Carlo had to head to work, shared a breakfast before I headed off to explore Ferrara. There was a lot to see including amazing old walls, a castle and cool buildings. I managed to also track down some batteries for my instax camera which was good as they can be difficult to find sometimes.

Sadly I had to skip some of the sights as I had set myself a large task to get to a wild camping spot I’d seen on an app called Park4night which looked awesome. Riding was into the wind for most of the day, but it was flat along the river Po. There were lots of small towns and bits of old industry and other sites to make it interesting.

The sun was starting to set and I hadn’t quite reached the camp spot. On the way I saw loads of critters that looked like beavers (which apparently are a actually a large rodent called Coypu, and this part of Italy has a bit of a problem with them — originally bred for fur but escaped and thrived, an invasive species).

I reached the spot around dusk and it was perfect. Got everything set up and cooked noms before settling into sleeping bag. Felt cold and the moon was lighting up the space.

Thursday 05/03/2020 — Day 50!

The morning was lovely, a little nippy, but I enjoyed the area and the delta. Really glad I went out of my way to make it there. Next stop was Lido di Venezia — the outlying barrier island protecting Venice.

No wind and some weak sunshine meant it was a nice ride through the delta. I did get a little chilly, but that kept me moving. Eventually got to Chioggia and my first views of the Venice Lagoon. Sorted out my tickets for travelling on the ferries (might not have got the cheapest combination for my stay but never mind). The ferries were zippy and fun. I like riding along the different islands as they all felt a little different. I also saw the Adriatic sea properly when I missed timed getting to a ferry.

Once I got to the Lido of course the campsite I planned to stay at was closed (despite website saying open all year). So I had to find somewhere else to stay. Luckily a cheap-ish hotel was available so headed there. I got chatting to someone while checking in who wanted to head for dinner, but I was really feeling anti-social and wanting some of my own space. I popped to the supermarket and got some food I could cook in the shower, as you do… 1 minute tortellini was yummy and I chilled for the night.

Cooking dinner in the shower?!

Friday 06/03/2020 — Day 51

A day off to see Venice 😀 very excited for this! I had a slow start to the morning, watching some shows in bed and general chill stuff. I had decided I was not going to fret about sorting admin/blog stuff and just enjoy the day.

Finally got moving and took the ferry to the main Venice Island. I got off at St Marks Square. Took my standard approach to exploring and just wandered around going where things looked interesting. Venice is such a good place to explore this way as there are no cars and it is all pedestrians and boats (no bikes allowed!) The cathedral had a queue so I didn’t stop there.

I eventually stumbled across the famous Rialto Bridge, which looked lovely. Also saw the hospital and their ambulance boats which was novel but so essential for the islands. I saw a gondola maker and had some ice cream after I had a glass of wine in a cafe and food.

I also did a quick visit to a second island, Murano, in the process I caught one of the ferries up the Grand Canal so I could see it from water and the Rialto Bridge. Murano is famous for its glass, but I got there really late so everything was shut. But saw some of the glass in the windows and was nice to see how different the place was from the main island.

Eventually I headed back to the Lido and saw the islands by night. Treated myself to pasta from a takeout place, a seafood mix as right on the sea. Delicious. Venice was really fun to explore, but very quiet compared to normal. Not empty by any means, but still… it’s usually one of the most touristy places going!

Next up, and last stop in Italy, Trieste…


Add Yours →

Your island hopping sounds really fun! Lovely photos. And you got to see Venice before it all locked down.

I saw photos on the internet of the cycle route from Italy to Slovenia which looked very interesting with the tunnels. I thought you’d made a run for the hills to escape Italy because I couldn’t see a route on the map to start with!

Hope the coronavirus doesn’t make for too many more changes of route/plans

Fantastic achievements, great photos and interesting text. Brilliant, Ruth! Banksy the cat and I are on a campsite next to the Pyrenees with a snow-topped Canigou for company. I did an 80km bike ride along the River Tech the other day, felt chuffed afterwards with my effort but then read your blog. Grrr…

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