Day 29 Tuesday 21st June 2016 101km (2671km in total)
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu
I love the Dutch, they all seem to speak great english! The couple next to me (who were dutch) were very interested in my tour of Europe and gave lots of “respect”! ….They had been traveling in their caravan for a few weeks in Italy, and it was good to hear it wasn’t just Germany and Austria that were having the bad weather and rain. Italy had been unusual wet the past week.
On the roads, there are plenty of Dutch cars and caravans to see. This is probably the reason why, when I ask people if they speak English, their first thought is “are you from the Netherlands?” I must admit I’ve met lots of Dutch people on my journey, but only a very small number of British travellers. I guess those ‘on the continent’ can travel a lot easier for short trips without having to catch a fight, ferry or train.
The sun now seems to be up well before my alarm goes off and already by 8pm, it is normally around 25°c. Water is the main issue, finding I need to drink lots more, but only having plastic bottles means it’s always a warm. Even my newly bought ‘arctic’ insulated bottle seems to have little effect. In most villages and towns here, they have drinking taps in the centre, which is good, meaning I can enjoy cool water. Most of the time cycling now I’m thinking of shade and cold water. After being on the road for nearly a month, you can tell I’m easily satisfied!
The only major climb today was well worth it. The views from the top were incredible. It’s hard to compare to the alps as it’s so different. Grape vines can be seen for miles, covering the majority of the landscape. Small houses and huts are tucked in, hiding behind the vines. Old tractors can be heard chugging up and down between the vines cutting the grass and workers are busy tieing the vines together. The grapes are still very small and green but they still need a lot of attention.
It was down one of these vineyards the garmin was trying to take me. It was only for 2km so I decided to try. After a starting and being chased be a angry alsation dog I found it was not a road like shown on the map, but a very steep grass track. It soon disappeared into the vines, too narrow for me to fit through and under. If I was wearing a heart rate monitor, you would be able to see a sharp rise to my max beats per minute when I had to pass the dog again! Luckily I realised it was on a chain, but it was quite long so could still give a good chase!
The area is quite busy with tourists and many signs are in multiple languages. Apparently, the region Europe’s city of wine for 2016, superior for prosecco! It must be good!
Since arriving in Italy, I haven’t seen any other cycle tourers, but there seems to be plenty of road cyclist, training up the hill sides and mountains. I don’t think I would want to train in this heat. I’ve been finding the weather quite challenging, craving for ice creams constantly! It gets a little difficult to breath and the produce lots of salt through sweating so much. My eyes sting when I wipe them shows how much salt I’m sweating!
It would be easy for the heat and rather dangerous driving to get me down, but the views and landscapes are just first class. They are absolutely stunning! There aren’t many hedges or large trees so you can normally see for miles.
The traffic lights confused me at first and I would often be hooted at for not going when it was green. The reason is that I would see a red light and stop and have a look around, getting ready for the amber light. However, they go straight from red to green, skipping out amber.
The driving is similar, they either drive as fast as possible or not at all! My theory for the reckless driving is that many have old Fiat Pandas or similar. Being made decades ago means they won’t have any air conditioning or methods to cool them down. My reason for why they drive so fast is that they can’t wait to get into their houses with shutters to cool them down. Though, somehow I doubt this theory is true…
The Italians seem to be great at somehow knowing I’m english straight away. When I arrived at the campsite, the lady instantly started having a conversation in english about how her day was so boring compared to cycling down Europe!
I had contacted two people from warm showers from this area but had no reply from either. I guess this is the problem with only planning the days as they come. I can’t give anyone any notice or say which way I’m going. I don’t even know!