Until I arrived in Pompeii I was convinced Italian people like to sleep in, here I was starting my days at 730 and not a person around for at least an hour. Getting to the admission booth at the ruins and realizing it doesn't open for two hours tells me Ive pretty much lost all concept of time. I cant even think how long Ive been running on the wrong time. Least Ive gotten used to getting up at dawn.
Numb fingers and a sore bum, my only complaints so far about touring. The best part is eating your way through a country like Italy. I discovered Nutella and promptly ate two jars in a week before deciding that its just cake frosting and millions of European kids are running around with molten cocco lava in their belly's. But the pizza, the paninis and the set menus, heaven. I have zero water phobias, nearly all my drinking water have come from public spigots, I figure this water is still better than the bottled water I drank in Asia.
My appetite is triple what it was, its nice that even camp cooking is better here as well. Last night I dined
Capel over the sea
I stumbled across an old man peeing behind the church.
on pasta with Romano cheese, prosciutto, pesto, sun dried tomatoes and yellow peppers and 3 euro wine fit for any list in the states. A minor step up from the feasts Jon and I were whipping up in New Zealand.
Riding out of Athens I was keen to take it easy and stroll just a bit, get used to all that weight and balance. What I ended up doing was camping in a field in the rain next to a power plant and being a little too excited about my first day of the tour. I followed the coast towards Patras at the advice of Rick who warned me of hitting mountains too early. Two nights later I was in a ferry towards Italy. Too easy.
Getting out of the port town of Brinsindi proved my patience. Fourteen wrong turns and I'm set, by the end I hope to get it under ten. Once out, I hit a series of villages on my way to the Amalfi coast that gave me such joy to be on a bicycle. Local people are interested, they want to know where you've been, going and why you ended up in their little
town. Ive had Italian men follow me out of town on Scooters to make sure I took the right turn, been given the bubbly and vino and did my wash in Albano di Luci's fountain square with a couple of long looking women.
Halfway across the country I discovered what Michellen maps meant by steep grades listed in their atlas. Getting out of the saddle to peddle with rear packs takes a bit of getting used to. I spent the first few minutes getting honked at for swerving all over the road. For my first five nights in Italy I slept in fields (no campgrounds or hotels,) to my horror I stumbled over a dead sheep one morning getting to the road. I wont move without the morning coffee now. Coming off a couple of 1000 meter passes put me into the valley before Salerno and then into the Amalfi coast where I took my first break since starting. Five hundred meters down a winding cliff put me a camp site with a view of the coast, three islands and zero motivation to move on because of the climb out. There I drank coffee with Romanian workers, chatted with
Ah, the Greek coast
Cleared up after getting rain on hard my first day out.
Dutch doctors in a four wheel drive on their way to Africa and listened to an unidentifiable sound echoing off the cliff all night long.
To my luck I hit Pompeii on a free day and was more amused with the modern Italians than the ancient ruins. I know Italians got style...
Pompeii is stunning, great condition, lots of green blanketing the blocks and fresco paintings and mosaic floors so vivid and fresh. Evidence of daily life is everywhere as well as a few hauting reminders of the quick fate the city met. Plaster casts of the space left from the decayed bodies surrounded by compacted ash are haunting, you can see the contortion, the fear in the poses.
Riding into and out of Naples was both fascinating and super frustrating. Cobblestones, curses! I spent four hours eating pizza (the birthplace) and hanging out at the dock before moving on. All the signs point to the Autostrada which I cant go on so I ended up using the compass to make sure I was heading northwest. Another four hours later, a town on my map, not the right town but at least I knew where I was.
Arriving into Rome and dropping the bags I spent the first two days riding around most of the city. So much fun cutting in and out of traffic with the mopeds, till I get a car door opened in front of me. The sites were amazing, the lines stupendous, 1k for the Vatican museum is my guess. After pulling my quad going down stairs Ive hung up the tourist bag after 5 days in this city for some Morretti, net time and a session plan getting out into Tuscany. Rome to Venius is the next leg...
Tot: 3.109s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 19; qc: 108; dbt: 0.0638s; 3; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb