Day 31 Thursday 23rd June 2016 147km (2930km in total)
Andrea had to go out to work during the night so I was left alone in his house. The Warmshowers hosts are always so generous and trusting. It does sometimes feel a little unreal when someone you’ve only just met let’s you sleep in their house alone! This is Warmshowers for you! Most hosts have been travelling as well and been hosted by others so know what it’s like.
Warmshowers allows you to get to know locals and the culture slightly more than camping does. At campsites it’s generally other travelers so you don’t meet the locals. One story that Andrea had was of family that had stayed with him only a few weeks ago. A family of four, with two young children had been cycling around the world for the last two years. The parents were both ex-teachers so they didn’t miss out on their education. It’s hard to imagine what they have experienced but I’m sure it’s good!
Over a quick Italian expresso for breakfast, I was given some helpful advice from Andrea. Instead of heading for Milan, I should go south untill Mantua where I could get onto the Euro Velo route which goes along a river in the direction of France.
On the walls was a big picture of him on a bike doing the Camino Santiago. I’ve always wanted to do this pilgrimage but have never actually seen where it goes, apart from ending in Spain! On the map I saw it is sought off on route, albeit and extra 500-700 extra kilometres. He inspired me and am now lightly considering the option, but its not set in stone yet!
I’m now in the part of Italy which is between the mountainous region and is quite flat. The route to Mantua was around 40km and followed a river. It was a popular route and there were many passing cyclists. I latched onto two club riders out for a spin a, in my TT position managed to tuck in behind them. They didn’t seem to mind and soon another two cyclists got behind me. Well, one was on a electric bike! Riding at 35km/h was a plesent change from my usual 20km/h!
Mantua was a nice but very busy and touristy town. Market stalls covered the streets, making it harder for me to find the tourist infomation! I needed to find some maps on the cycle routes. I had seen where it should be, but I looked around for about 10 minutes trying to find it! In the end it was tucked behind one of the market stalls. Inside it was dead quiet but they had plenty of local maps and the cycle routes on.
Today was one of the days when I wasn’t really sure where I was heading to stay the night. The nearest campsite was Cremona which looked too are on the map and there were no Warmshowers anywhere closer. Still I headed out onto the Euro Velo cycle route.
The cycle path was on a bank beside the river, with no shade and a dusty gravel path. It was 1pm and with the sun high in the sky, I really started to struggle. Whenever I’m in the sun, I’m sweating now, from when I wake up until I go to sleep. There are bearly any clouds in the sky and the water bottles need filing up constantly. For some reason, instead of stopping and resting, I decieded to keep pushing and try to reach the campsite at Cremona.
Instead of following the wiggly riverside path, I cut across on the bigger roads. Although this was faster, I still sought of did two sides of a square. Towards the end, I bearly stopped apart to refill up my bottles.
150 km is a long way for me on a touring bike, but with the heat as well it felt more like 200km!
The campsite finally came into view, after passing a outdoor cycle velodrome with evening chaingangs going around. The receptionist had great english but I felt sorry for her to have to deal with a very hot and sweaty cyclist!
Today had been so hot that lots of my food had either exploded or gone off. My butter had leaked out, looking like oil, my 100% Italian almond milk had exploded and the apricot jam looked like it was about to burst, with fizzing noises evey so often. I’ll have to start buying more suitable food that either aren’t liquid or don’t go off!